roger stone trial
June 23, 2020

In prepared congressional testimony to be delivered Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky said he "repeatedly heard" President Trump's longtime adviser Roger Stone received "unprecedentedly favorable treatment" while he was prosecuted for lying to Congress.

Zelinsky, one of four federal prosecutors who withdrew from the case, will also testify that then-acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy Shea complied with pressure from the "highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break," adding that he was "explicitly told" Shea was "afraid of the president," which eventually resulted in reducing Stone's sentencing recommendation.

Zelinsky will appear Wednesday alongside antitrust prosecutor John Elias, who reportedly plans to testify that Attorney General William Barr ordered the Justice Department's Antitrust Division to launch politically motivated reviews of 10 cannabis mergers. Read Zelinsky's full prepared testimony here. Tim O'Donnell

February 25, 2020

A juror in the Roger Stone trial is setting the record straight.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post published Tuesday night, Seth Cousins wrote about the allegations being leveled against the jury. Last year, they found Stone, a longtime friend and adviser to President Trump, guilty of obstruction, witness tampering, and lying to Congress. Since then, Trump has accused the foreperson, who ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012, of being "totally biased," and Stone's lawyers have claimed he did not have a fair trial.

There is a "striking irony" to this, Cousins wrote, because the foreperson "was actually one of the strongest advocates for the rights of the defendant and for a rigorous process. She expressed skepticism at some of the government's claims and was one of the last people to vote to convict on the charge that took most of our deliberation time." The jury followed all instructions, examined evidence, and made sure each voice was heard. "Roger Stone received a fair trial," Cousins said. "He was found guilty based on the evidence by a jury that respected his rights and viewed the government's claims skeptically. Our jury valued truth, plain and simple."

An estimated 1.5 million Americans serve on juries every year, and "elected officials have no business attacking citizens for performing their civic duty," Cousins said. "When the president attacks our jury's foreperson, he is effectively attacking every American who takes time off work, arranges child care, and otherwise disrupts their life temporarily to participate in this civic duty. His attacks denigrate both our service and the concept of equal justice under U.S. law." Read the entire op-ed at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

November 9, 2019

Well, that probably didn't help.

President Trump's former adviser Stephen Bannon testified Friday that Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, was the "access point" between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and WikiLeaks, which unveiled a slew of stolen emails damaging to Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton in the lead up to the election. Stone is facing charges of lying to the House Intelligence Committee, obstruction, and witness tampering over his connections to WikiLeaks.

Bannon also said he believed Stone "had a relationship" with the website's founder, Julian Assange, and that he and Stone discussed WikiLeaks on several occasions even though Stone told the Intelligence Committee under a sworn statement that he never discussed Assange or WikiLeaks with any members of Trump's campaign. In cross-examination from Stone's lawyer, however, Bannon did testify that he was not aware of Trump's campaign formally asking Stone to communicate with Assange about the emails.

Bannon, who said he valued Stone for his propensity for opposition research and "dirty tricks," made it clear that he was only testifying because he was compelled by a subpoena, although he reportedly answered questions from the prosecution without argument. Read more at The Hill and Reuters. Tim O'Donnell

November 7, 2019

Federal prosecutors said in court Wednesday that Steve Bannon, President Trump's former campaign chairman and White House chief strategist, will testify against longtime Trump political adviser Roger Stone in his trial. Stone is being charged with lying to Congress, obstructing justice, and witness tampering in a case stemming from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Stone pleaded not guilty.

Bannon is expected to testify about his and Stone's communications regarding WikiLeaks and its distribution of Democratic emails and other documents hacked by Russian operatives. The prosecutors are signaling that Bannon is "going to be a key witness in this case," and his testimony will be "super critical" to their case, CNN's Shimon Prokupecz said Wednesday evening.

Bannon is not a voluntary witness, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told CNBC, but he his being compelled to testify after he and his legal team tried to fend off numerous subpoenas. Prosecutors also said they will bring in Rick Gates, a Trump campaign vice chairman and presidential transition official, to testify against Stone. Gates was a cooperating witness in the Mueller investigation. Peter Weber

January 29, 2019

President Trump's longtime adviser Roger Stone has pleaded not guilty to all charges levied against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Stone was arrested Friday on seven counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, witness tampering, and making false statements. He was quickly released on bail and he and his lawyer pledged to fight the charges. Stone followed up on that promise Tuesday, pleading not guilty through his lawyer to charges that could land him with up to 20 years in prison, per BuzzFeed News.

The indictment, which comes via Mueller's probe into the Trump campaign's possible involvement with Russian election interference, says Stone lied to Congress about his connections with Wikileaks. The site posted stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, and the indictment suggests Stone knew about the release in advance. It also alleges Stone tried to block a potential witness from cooperating with investigators, resulting in the most serious charge of witness tampering.

Stone has called the charges a "politically motivated attack" and said he will "not testify against the president." Still, Trump's lawyers are reportedly worried Stone will flip. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has since maintained that Stone's charges have "nothing to do with the president," but would not rule out a presidential pardon for Stone in a Monday press conference. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads