Trump friend Stone pleads not guilty in Russia probe case

37

WASHINGTON | Roger Stone, a longtime adviser and confidant of President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony charges in the Russia probe after a publicity-filled few days spent criticizing the investigation as politically motivated.

Donald Trump’s longtime friend and confidant Roger Stone, leaves Federal Court Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Washington. Stone left the federal courthouse without speaking publicly after entering a not guilty plea to charges filed in the special counsel’s Russia investigation. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The political operative and self-described dirty trickster faces charges that he lied to lawmakers, engaged in witness tampering and obstructed a congressional investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

He was uncharacteristically mum during Tuesday’s brief court appearance, rising to his feet to say, “Yes, Your Honor,” as U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson asked if he would agree to the conditions of his release, including restricted travel.

Stone attorney Robert Buschel entered the plea on his client’s behalf.

Stone, 66, made no public statements as he arrived and departed the courthouse amid dueling chants of “Lock Him Up” and “We Love Roger.” Stone waved and smiled to the small crowd, some holding up glowing photos of him, and he largely ignored a group of protesters carrying signs reading “Dirty traitor.”

Stone, who was arrested last week at his Florida home, is the sixth Trump aide charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The indictment does not accuse Stone of coordinating with Russia or with WikiLeaks on the release of hacked Democratic emails. But it does allege that he misled lawmakers about his pursuit of those communications and interest in them. The anti-secrecy website published emails in the weeks before the 2016 presidential election that the U.S. says were stolen from Democrats by Russian operatives.