WASHINGTON —Roger Stone walked into federal court Tuesday as a crowd erupted into chants of both “Roger Stone did nothing wrong” and “lock him up.” Once inside, he pleaded innocent to charges brought against him by special counsel Robert Mueller in connection with Russian interference in the 2016 election.
During a brief court appearance, Stone entered a not guilty plea to seven charges, including lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. His next hearing is scheduled for Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Mueller’s office released a detailed indictment last week, alleging that in summer 2016 Stone, a longtime friend of President Donald Trump, acted as a liaison between the Trump campaign and an unnamed organization — reported to be WikiLeaks — that released over 50,000 emails stolen by Russian intelligence officials from the personal account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman and Democratic National Committee officials.
The indictment said that Stone used a “go-between” to talk to the organization and continued to seek information about its future document releases. Stone was an official in the Trump campaign until August 2015 but remained in regular contact with the campaign through November 2016.
Following the election, Stone allegedly “made false statements” to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence about his contact with the organization and tried to persuade an unnamed witness to withhold information from investigators. Stone has denied the allegations.
Committee member Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., said the committee is waiting for Mueller to complete his investigation to hold individuals, like Stone, accountable for lying in their testimonies.
“The pattern of lying, specifically about contact with WikiLeaks and Russia, that has emerged from the president’s closest advisors paints a grim picture,” Himes said in an email. “Roger Stone has long cultivated a reputation as a dirty trickster, and lying to Congress and tampering with witnesses are serious charges.”
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were not immediately available for comment.
Stone left the courthouse without taking questions from reporters, while protesters began playing the Russian National Anthem and waving Russian flags and supporters shouted cheered on Stone.
Marilyn Matrisciana, a Stone supporter from Maryland, held a sign that read “Free Stone, Jail Hillary.”
“I believe that this is about the far left fighting for socialism and for their far-left agendas,” she said.
One protester, Nan Dearborn of Reston, Virginia, said she and her group, Herndon-Reston Indivisible — a Virginia chapter of the national protest group — were glad Stone was arrested. The allegation that Stone coordinated between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks even when he knew documents were stolen by Russian intelligence, she said, is a sign that Stone is a traitor.
Dearborn said she hopes the Mueller investigation uncovers what happened between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election.
“We want the public to know what the truth is,” Dearborn said. “We have a right to know and once we do know what the truth is, then it will be pretty clear what the next step should be.”