UPDATE: Roger Stone pleads not guilty to charges from Mueller probe
Stone was arrested Friday after a grand jury indicted him on a count of 'obstruction of proceeding,' five counts of making false statements and a count of witness tampering.
UPDATE: Roger Stone, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to obstruction, giving false statements and witness tampering charges he faces as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference.
Stone, 66, was arrested Friday morning after a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicted him on one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of making false statements and one count of witness tampering. He was later released on a $250,000 signature bond.
Wearing a plain navy suit and simple tie compared to the more casual blue polo he wore during his arrest, the usually flamboyant Stone didn't say much during the 13-minute hearing. His lawyer entered the not guilty plea.
On Tuesday, Stone only addressed the court to say he understood the conditions of his release, which had not changed. He will still not be allowed to contact potential witnesses in the case, his passport remains seized and his travel is restricted to his home in Florida, the D.C., Delaware, Maryland and Virginia area and New York.
After the hearing, he was required to report to the U.S. Marshal’s office to complete his booking. A status hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Stone did not speak as he made his way into the courthouse, where reporters, supporters and protestors had gathered outside.
He was whisked away in a black SUV after the hearing while people holding up signs that said "Free Stone Jail Hillary" and "Free Stone Fire Mueller" intermingled by the courthouse door with a group holding up the letters to spell out "traitor."
In August of 2016, Stone was claiming both publicly and privately to have communicated with Organization 1, known to be Wikileaks, while the organization made a public statement denying direct talks, according to the indictment.
During that summer, Stone, who left the Trump campaign in 2015 but "maintained regular contact with and publicly supported" the campaign through the 2016 election, spoke with senior Trump campaign officials about WikiLeaks and “information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign," the indictment said.
After the presidential election, Congress and the FBI announced investigations into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, including Stone’s claimed contact with WikiLeaks. The indictment alleges that Stone obstructed the investigations by making multiple false statements to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence about his interactions with WikiLeaks and attempted to persuade a witness to provide false testimony and withhold information.
Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to investigate Russian election interference and whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Moscow. Stone is the sixth Trump aid who has been charged in the investigation. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said Monday that the investigation was nearing an end.
Stone is not accused of personally coordinating with the Russians, and has repeatedly denied any collusion with WikiLeaks.
Former prosecutor Joyce Vance told NBC News on Friday that Stone could face up to 24 to 30 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines if convicted and the “offense resulted in substantial interference with the administration of justice."
"Judges have the discretion to depart upwards or downwards,” Vance added.
PREVIOUS STORY: After a publicity-filled weekend spent asserting his innocence and slamming investigators, Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone will appear before a federal judge who may look to muzzle him as the case moves forward.
Stone faces a Tuesday morning arraignment in Washington and is expected to plead not guilty to charges that he lied to lawmakers, engaged in witness tampering and obstructed a congressional investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Though most defendants facing charges tend to stay quiet for fear of inflaming prosecutors or a judge, Stone has opted for a different tack since his pre-dawn arrest Friday in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
Stone staged an impromptu news conference outside a Florida courthouse, made the rounds on weekend television and repeatedly mocked the probe on an Instagram account, including with a cartoonish-image of Mueller as a bowtie-wearing butler holding a tray with a hamburger roll - but no meat in between.
A self-described dirty trickster and longtime confidant of the president, Stone is the sixth Trump aide charged in 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.
Stone, who has alleged without evidence that the FBI used "Gestapo tactics" in arresting him, said he did nothing more than exercise his First Amendment rights to drum up interest with voters about the WikiLeaks disclosures. He said he never discussed the issue with Trump.
"That's what I engaged in. It's called politics and they haven't criminalized it, at least not yet," Stone said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
"All I did was take publicly available information and try to hype it to get it as much attention as possible, because I had a tip, the information was politically significant and that it would come in October," he added.
Tuesday's arraignment could inspire the same circus-like atmosphere that surrounded his Friday court appearance in Florida, where Stone emerged from the building in a blue polo shirt, flashed a Richard Nixon victory sign, predicted his vindication and vowed that he would not "bear false witness against the president, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself."
All the while, jeering spectators shouted "Lock Him Up!" while others in the crowd cheered him on.
It's unclear whether Mueller's prosecutors will look to have Stone locked up pending trial or whether they will simply recommend conditions that would allow him to remain free on bond. It's also possible that U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson might impose a gag order to prevent Stone from discussing the case.
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