Roger Stone Says Charges Against Him Are "Politically Motivated," Cites "War" on Free Speech

Roger Stone-Getty-H 2019
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The Trump associate, who was arrested earlier on Friday, stopped by Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News to discuss the seven-count indictment against him.

Donald Trump associate Roger Stone — who was arrested early Friday morning and charged with lying about his pursuit of Russian-hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's 2016 election bid — made a stop by Tucker Carlson's Fox News show Friday night.

Of the charges against him, which he repeatedly called "politically motivated," he said, "I did forget that I had text messages from an old cell phone that were exculpatory. If anybody had bothered to read my website they would know that I basically refuted virtually every charge in this indictment."

The seven-count indictment, the first criminal case in months in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, provides the most detail to date about how Trump campaign associates in the summer of 2016 actively sought the disclosure of emails the U.S. says were hacked by Russia and then provided to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. It alleges that unidentified senior Trump campaign officials contacted Stone to ask when stolen emails relating to Clinton might be disclosed.

He added that the charges are about "silencing me," citing a "war" on free speech as the reason. "I intend to plead not guilty, I believe I will be vindicated," he said. When asked by Carlson if he had spoken to Trump about the arrest, he said he had not, adding that he would not testify against the president. After mentioning how broke he is multiple times, he encouraged people to contribute to his defense fund, promising, "I intend to fight. This indictment is fabricated and thin as can be. My attorneys are confident I will get an acquittal if I can get a fair trial." 

Stone is the sixth Trump aide or adviser charged by Mueller and the 34th person overall. The nearly 2-year-old probe has exposed multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russia during the campaign and transition period and revealed efforts by several to conceal those communications.

Later in the day, CNN came under fire from conservative media circles that claimed the network was "tipped off" to Stone's arrest after being the only network to film the FBI coming to the door of Stone's Florida home. In response, CNN wrote on Twitter: "CNN’s ability to capture the arrest of Roger Stone was the result of determined reporting and interpreting clues revealed in the course of events. That’s called journalism."

Of the police-heavy arrest, he told Carlson, "It's disconcerting that CNN was aware before my lawyers were. If it was a dangerous situation then CNN would be in danger, I don't know why they'd be allowed to be there." He added that he would have voluntarily turned himself in had he been warned.