Roger Stone, the flamboyant right-wing provocateur and longtime associate of President Donald Trump, was convicted on Thursday in his trial over allegations of lying to Congress and witness tampering.
The verdict is another victory for former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose undefeated legal team alleged that Stone had tried to conceal from Congress his contacts with the Trump campaign and people he believed were feeding him inside information about WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.
Stone officially left the Trump campaign on August 8, 2015; however, as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States election, two associates of Stone have said he collaborated with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the 2016 presidential campaign to discredit Hillary Clinton.
During the trial, former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates testified that Stone told campaign associates in April 2016 of WikiLeaks plans to release documents, far earlier than previously known.
Gates also testified that Trump and Stone had spoken about the forthcoming disclosures.
A longtime partner of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, Stone relishes his reputation as a Republican dirty trickster. For nearly fifty years, Stone has hovered around GOP politics, both near the center and at the periphery.
Together with a third business partner, they operated one of Washington D.C.’s first mega-lobbying firms, Black, Manafort and Stone, which monetized the political consultants’ association with former President Ronald Reagan to secure lucrative contracts with corporations and foreign governments while also serving a client in the White House.
The arrangement broke new ground, essentially creating a government for sale in the United States as partners ran political campaigns for candidates who worked on legislation that benefited their other clients, leveraging White House and other GOP connections to attract high-paying clients such as corporations, trade associations, as well as foreign governments.
The firm represented, and lobbied the US Congress on behalf of, numerous foreign governments and heads of state from numerous dictatorships including Mohamed Siad Barre of Somalia, dictator Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, dictator Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, and Jonas Savimbi of Angola.
According to The Torturer’s Lobby, a report published by The Center for Public Integrity, the firm received $3.3 million in the early 1990’s for their work with dictators while also serving some representative democracies.
During the 1988 presidential campaign in the United States, it was disclosed that the firm took on the Bahamas as a client while its leadership was being attacked for alleged ties to drug traffickers. Stone and Manafort insisted that they intended only to help the island nation obtain more aid for efforts to curb drug smugglers.
Domestically the firm represented Bethlehem Steel and Tobacco Institute, helped elect Senators Phil Gramm, Jesse Helms, Charles McCurdy Mathias Jr., Arlen Specter, Paula Hawkins and David F. Durenberger—and worked on legislation that benefitted the firm’s clients.
In 2015, Manafort worked as campaign manager for Donald Trump with the collaboration of Stone. Manafort is currently in prison.
Stone was tangentially involved in the Watergate scandal and has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back. He has worked on campaigns for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, and Bob Dole. Stone was chief strategist for Thomas Kean’s campaign for Governor of New Jersey in 1981 and for his reelection campaign in 1985.
On the 1972 Nixon campaign, Stone’s activities included contributing money to a possible rival of Nixon in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance – then slipping the receipt to the Manchester Union-Leader.
He also hired a spy in the Hubert Humphrey campaign who became former vice president’s driver.
According to Stone, during the day he was officially a scheduler in the Nixon campaign, but “By night, I’m trafficking in the black arts.”
After he was indicted this year, the Nixon Foundation released a statement distancing Stone’s ties to the former president.
Stone first suggested Trump run for President in early 1998 while Stone was Trump’s casino business lobbyist in Washington.
After Trump flatly denied it, Stone said that he did, in fact, try to pose as his own publicist named “John Miller,” while speaking to People magazine in the 1990s.
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