Trump ally found guilty of witness tampering and lying to congress

Trump ally found guilty of witness tampering and lying to congress
Roger Stone leaves federal court Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Roger Stone, a long-time friend and ally of US President Donald Trump, has been found guilty of witness tampering and lying to Congress about his pursuit of Russian-hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election bid.

Stone was convicted of all seven counts in an indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election.

He is the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Stone has denied wrongdoing and consistently criticised the case against him as politically motivated. He did not take the stand during the trial and his lawyers did not call any witnesses in his defence.

Stone, 67, could face up to 20 years in prison.

In a trial that lasted about a week, witnesses highlighted how Trump campaign associates were eager to gather information about emails the US says were hacked by Russia and then provided to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

Steve Bannon, who served as the campaign’s chief executive, testified during the trial that Stone had boasted about his ties to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, alerting them to pending new batches of damaging emails. Campaign officials saw Stone as the “access point” to WikiLeaks, he said.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors used Stone’s own text messages and emails – some of which appeared to contradict his congressional testimony – to lay out their case that he lied to Congress and threatened a witness.

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