In February, Roger Stone was sentenced to more than three years behind bars after he was found guilty of seven counts, including causing obstruction and witness tampering in relation to alleged Russian interference in the US 2016 presidential election.
US President Donald Trump’s long-time ally and former campaign advisor Roger Stone was in direct communication with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to FBI documents which were made public on Tuesday.
The documents indicate the extent of the Stone-Assange contacts during the 2016 election campaign, when WikiLeaks published then-Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Stone was, in particular, cited as allegedly saying in a 2017 Twitter message that the issue was “still nonsense” and that “as a journalist it doesn’t matter where you get information only that it is accurate and authentic”.
“If the US government moves on you I will bring down the entire house of cards. With the trumped-up sexual assault charges dropped I don’t know of any crime you need to be pardoned for — best regards. R”, Stone noted, according to a transcript of the message cited in the search warrant affidavit.
Assange replied by allegedly referring to the CIA and the US Department of Justice (DoJ).
“Between CIA and DoJ they’re doing quite a lot. On the DoJ side that’s coming most strongly from those obsessed with taking down Trump trying to squeeze us into a deal”, he noted, in what was followed by Stone saying that he was doing his best to “address the issues at the highest level of government”.
Stone was apparently referring to a probe into sexual assault accusations against Assange that were finally dropped by Swedish authorities as the WikiLeaks founder was holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He was stripped of asylum there and arrested by British police in 2019. The founder of the whistleblowing website is now on remand at the Belmarsh high-security prison for breaching bail as the UK currently mulls over extraditing Assange to the US to potentially face a decades-long sentence on espionage charges.
Trump Slams Judge’s Ruling to Deny His Ex-Campaign Aide Roger Stone New Trial
The FBI released the documents on the alleged Stone-Assange communication after President Trump last week harshly criticised the denial of a new trial for his former political aide by calling it a “disgraceful situation”. The statement was made as POTUS re-posted a tweet calling for Stone to be pardoned.
Trump’s remarks followed Stone being sentenced to three years and four months in prison in February after he was found guilty of at least seven counts.
These included lying to Congress over communications with WikiLeaks during his 2017 testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and causing obstruction and witness tampering related to former US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s so-called “Russiagate” investigation.
After two years, the probe into alleged Russian interference in the US 2016 presidential election, Mueller’s report concluded last year that there was insufficient evidence of any collusion between Trump and Moscow.
Stone, for his part, repeatedly denied his guilt and described his imprisonment as a death sentence, saying, “I’m 67 years old. I had very, very severe asthma as a child. If you look at the profile of those who are most at risk, I think I fit that”.