WASHINGTON (AP)– After a publicity-filled weekend spent asserting his innocence and knocking private investigators, Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone will appear prior to a federal judge who might look to muzzle him as the case progresses.
Stone faces a Tuesday morning arraignment in Washington and is expected to plead innocent to charges that he lied to lawmakers, participated in witness tampering and obstructed a congressional investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump project.
Though the majority of accuseds facing charges tend to remain peaceful for fear of inflaming prosecutors or a judge, Stone has chosen 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 court house, made the rounds on weekend tv and repeatedly buffooned 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 unclean trickster and long time confidant of the president, Stone is the sixth Trump aide charged in Mueller’s investigation. The indictment does not accuse Stone of collaborating with Russia or with WikiLeaks on the release of hacked Democratic e-mails. But it does allege that he misinformed legislators about his pursuit of those interactions and interest in them. The anti-secrecy website published e-mails in the weeks prior to the 2016 presidential election that the U.S. says were taken from Democrats by Russian operatives.
Stone, who has declared without proof that the FBI used “Gestapo techniques” in jailing him, said he did absolutely nothing more than exercise his First Change rights to drum up interest with voters about the WikiLeaks disclosures. He stated he never talked about the problem with Trump.
” That’s what I took part 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 details and try to hype it to get it as much attention as possible, due to the fact that I had a tip, the info was politically significant which it would can be found in October,” he included.
Tuesday’s arraignment might inspire the exact same circus-like environment that surrounded his Friday court appearance in Florida, where Stone emerged from the building in a blue polo shirt, flashed a Richard Nixon success sign, anticipated his vindication and swore that he would not “bear incorrect witness against the president, nor will I comprise 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 uncertain whether Mueller’s prosecutors will look to have actually Stone locked up pending trial or whether they will merely recommend conditions that would permit him to stay complimentary on bond. It’s also possible that U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson may enforce a gag order to avoid Stone from talking about the case.