Roger Stone, President Donald Trump’s former adviser who was arrested early Friday morning in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, says he won’t plead guilty to the charges.
That statement was probably the most normal part of the otherwise completely bonkers press conference Stone held Friday afternoon outside a Florida courthouse after being released on a $250,000 bond.
Wearing a blue polo shirt and looking tired, Stone addressed a sea of reporters as a crowd of both supporters and detractors tried to drown out his statements from nearby — supporters shouting, “We’ve got your back, Roger!” and detractors chanting, “Lock him up!”
But Stone still got his message across: “I look forward to being fully and completely vindicated.”
Stone denies the allegation that he lied to the House Intelligence Committee during 2017 about previous statements he’d made regarding his efforts to contact WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign. He’s been indicted on seven counts of obstruction of an official proceeding, witness tampering, and making false statements.
Roger Stone gets drowned out by "lock him up!" chants as he holds news conference after his release from custody, announces he "will plead not guilty to these charges."— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 25, 2019
"There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president," he says. pic.twitter.com/W0yTfrtz2i
He also said he wouldn’t say anything against Trump during his arraignment hearing in Washington next week. “There is no circumstance whatsoever that I will bear false witness against the president,” he declared. “I will not testify against the president.”
Instead, he promised to clear himself of any wrongdoing: “I intend to tell the truth.”
Stone ended his raucous and defiant press conference by walking back up the steps of the Fort Lauderdale courthouse, turning to face the cameras, and offering a Nixonian salute.
This.... is something. pic.twitter.com/VcWmXDtkEW— Allie Malloy (@AlliemalCNN) January 25, 2019
(Pro tip: If you’re trying to proclaim you’re innocent of a crime, it’s probably best not to associate yourself with the guy who resigned from the presidency before he could be impeached for his role in a criminal conspiracy. Then again, Stone is a big Nixon fan — he even has a giant tattoo of the former president on his back. Yes, seriously.)
Stone loves a circus. Now he’s the star of one.
Stone’s appearance came just minutes after he gave an exclusive phone interview to Infowars’ Alex Jones, in which Stone spent much of the time asking listeners to contribute money to his legal defense fund. Stone said his costs may add up to about $2 million, but it’s unclear how he came to that figure.
That interview had some issues, though, as Stone’s cellular connection dropped multiple times while he spoke with Jones. Jones had a theory why: Government officials kept cutting off the call.
If the beginning of Stone’s legal drama is any indication, it will turn into quite the spectacle.