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Roger Stone to plead not guilty, won’t testify against Trump



Long-time Trump ally and informal campaign advisor Roger Stone said Thursday he plans to plead not guilty to seven federal charges he faces in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and will not testify against President Donald Trump.

Early Friday morning, the special counsel’s office indicted Stone on one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to the FBI and Congressional investigators, and one count of witness tampering in connection with his contacts with people linked to the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks.

As part of the investigation, Mueller is examining whether any Trump associates had advance knowledge that Russian hackers had breached the servers of the Democratic National Committee and stolen batches of DNC emails and those belonging to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The emails were disseminated by the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks, and the leaks are widely seen as a factor contributing to Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election.

Read more:Mueller indicts former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone on charges of obstruction, false statements, and witness tampering

FBI agents arrested Stone at his Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home and took him into custody. Later Friday morning, Stone was released on a $250,000 bond, with a federal judge restricting his travel to court appearances in New York, Virginia, and Florida.

“I will plead not guilty to these charges, I will defeat them in court, I believe this is a politically motivated investigation,” he told reporters following his release from custody, throwing up two peace signs to mimic President Richard Nixon’s famous victory symbol.

Stone has frequently echoed Trump’s claims that the Mueller investigation is a rigged “witch hunt” and a deep state plot meant to take down Trump and anyone who sides with him.

In an appearance on InfoWars hosted by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Stone said there was “no circumstance” under which he would plead guilty to any of the crimes or “bear false witness against the president,” encouraging viewers to donate to his legal defense fund.

Read more: Meet Roger Stone: One of Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters who was indicted by the Mueller probe

“I think I’m being persecuted for being a 40-year friend and supporter of his,” Stone said of Trump. “As long as I have a breath in my body and a dollar to pay a lawyer, I’m going to fight.”

Trump has publicly lambasted people who have cooperated with the Mueller probe, including his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, as “flippers” and “liars,” but praised people who chose to go to trial, like his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, as brave.

After Stone vowed to not testify against Trump in December, Trump lauded Stone for not being “forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories” in a tweet. “Nice to know that some people still have “guts!,” he added.

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