Roger Stone sat down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos two days after being indicted on seven charges by U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller.
Stone complained to Stephanopoulos about the way he was treated by the FBI, treatment which Stephanopoulos replied was “pretty standard…they were concerned you were a flight risk, they were concerned you might tamper with evidence, they were concerned you might destroy evidence, so they did that.”
Stone replied that the “expensive show of force” they used was an attempt to “poison the jury pool.”
Stone told Stephanopoulos that he has had “categorically….zero” conversations with Donald Trump about Russia or the Mueller investigation.
Stone said he was “not really” concerned that Trump distanced himself in a set of tweets on Saturday night.
Said Stone: “When Sarah Sanders says this has nothing to do with the president, she is correct. I never discussed these matters with the president and everything that I did regarding trying to get as much public attention to the Wikileaks disclosures among voters, among the media is — is constitutionally protected free speech. That’s what I engaged in. It’s called politics and they haven’t criminalized it, at least not yet.”
Stone said that he was not worried about what the FBI might find in the raid of his home: “No, not in the slightest. I am concerned that hey took a number of privilege communications between my and my – me and my attorneys. But in all honestly, I have been under surveillance for two years, my e-mail, my text messages, my phone calls have been fully reviewed, we know that because they’ve asked people who are associated with me about specific items before the grand jury….So there is nothing to find. I do have a million e-mails, they have been reported, many of them taken out of context in this indictment, but there is nothing to find. Again, I think it is – it is designed to intimidate me or perhaps seek personal information that could be used to embarrass me, but has nothing to do with WikiLeaks, Russia, the 2016 campaign or anything else.”
Stone said he had not destroyed any evidence.
Stone added that he has never discussed a pardon of himself with Trump.
Asked about “several e-mails, dozens of text messages” prosecutors said they have as evidence, Stone replied: “I did forget on some occasions that I had text messages and e-mails that are entirely exculpatory and prove that everything I said before the House Intelligence Committee was true…I will prove in court that any failure of memory on my part was without intent an would be in material (ph). I am human, but – and I did make some errors, but they’re errors that would inconsequential within the scope of this investigation.”
Asked Stephanopoulos: “You’re in good shape but you’re not a young man, 66-years-old. Are you prepared to spend the last, best years of your life in jail?”
Replied Stone: “In view of the fact that I expect to be acquitted and vindicated, and that my attorneys — including Bruce Rogow, one of the very best attorneys in the country, Grant Smith, Rob Buschel and Tara Campion — believe that this indictment is thin as piss on a rock, so I’m prepared to fight for my life. I have to go to the public at stonedefensefund.com to ask for their support.”
Peter Zeidenberg, the prosecutor who helped convict Dick Cheney aide Scooter Libby for lying and obstruction, called Stone’s case a slam-dunk and expects the Trump adviser to face substantial prison time.
Wrote Zeidenberg in The Daily Beast: “As someone who prosecuted Scooter Libby and others on similar charges and defended white-collar cases involving similar charges as those alleged here—false statements, obstruction of justice and witness tampering—my takeaway is that Stone should begin getting his affairs in order. Barring a presidential pardon (always the wild-card possibility with a POTUS like Trump) Stone will be convicted and receive a very substantial prison sentence.”
Added Zeidenberg: “Unfortunately for Stone, and what makes fighting this case futile, is that the government will not need to rely on the credibility of any individuals to make its case. The email and text evidence laid out in excruciating detail in the indictment is not open to interpretation. And if that were not enough—and believe me, it is—the case will be tried in D.C. There is a facile critique that liberals are soft on crime. That can be true where the defendants are perceived to be from a disadvantaged minority. But have pity on an arrogant, white-collar defendant who is in cahoots with a despised Republican president; you will witness righteous fury.”
Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reports that there is much worry that Stone will quickly flip on Trump, and that more indictments are on the way, with Donald Jr. in the sights:
Writes Sherman: ‘the speculation that Stone could turn on his longtime client is supported by several factors. For one, Stone has a complicated relationship with Trump. The two met in 1979 when Stone was living at Roy Cohn’s Manhattan town house while working as a young staffer on Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, and it has rankled Trump that Stone is regarded as his political brain (Stone has claimed he created the “build the wall” slogan). “Stone and Trump are like an old married couple,” the Republican close to Trump explained. “Stone knows Donald isn’t loyal. He calls him ‘Mr. Ingratitude.’” Stoking Trumpworld’s fear is the fact that Stone is as predictable as an unguided missile.’