A federal jury has convicted longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone of lying to Congress and tampering with a witness about his efforts to learn about the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks release of hacked Democratic emails in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, The Washington Post reports. The jury deliberated for less than two days before finding Stone, 67, guilty on all seven counts resulting from his September 2017 testimony to a House intelligence committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Kremlin’s efforts to damage Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Stone had argued that he was not intentionally dishonest and that the case was politically motivated. But jurors sided with prosecutors who said Stone obstructed the House efforts because the truth would be embarrassing to Donald Trump’s campaign. Stone’s indictment was the last brought by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, putting on trial Stone’s slippery brand of political brawling and revealing important new details about the Trump campaign’s keen interest in computer files hacked by Russia and made public by WikiLeaks. Stone’s trial reenergized discussions of Russian interference in the 2016 election and occurred alongside public hearings in Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into whether the president tried to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate a potential 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. In arguments and testimony over the past two weeks, prosecutors revealed a series of phone calls at critical times in 2016 between Stone, Trump and some of the highest-ranking officials on the Trump campaign — Stephen K. Bannon, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Gates and Bannon took the witness stand, describing how the campaign viewed Stone as a sort-of conduit to WikiLeaks who claimed — even before the Russian hacking was known — to have insider information.