A Lifelong Political Scrapper, Roger Stone Is Fighting for His Own Legal Future

A Lifelong Political Scrapper, Roger Stone Is Fighting for His Own Legal Future


As a flamboyant veteran of Washington and New York City politics, the campaign strategist Roger J. Stone Jr. has been in any number of knock-’em-down scrapes over the years, reaching back four decades to his early days as a self-described “dirty trickster” in the Nixon administration.

But now Mr. Stone, a veteran adviser to President Trump who has long cut a piratical figure on the political scene, appears to be engaged in his stiffest fight yet: the one for his own legal future.

On Friday, a stream of developments in the special counsel investigation underscored his peril. An old friend — a former procuress from New York whom Mr. Stone has employed as an administrative worker — testified about him to the federal grand jury hearing evidence in the inquiry. Another old friend, a New York City radio host, has been subpoenaed to appear before the same grand jury. And one of his close aides was held in contempt of court for ignoring his own subpoena, though the order was stayed.

For months now, Mr. Stone, 65, has been a key focus of the inquiry by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into whether any Trump associates worked with Russian operatives who were secretly trying to tip the election in Mr. Trump’s favor. Mr. Stone is central to that question because he appeared to have advance knowledge of some of the moves that Russian hackers were making.

Mr. Stone dismissed the latest series of events on Friday afternoon, insisting that none of the three people knew anything about possible collusion with the Russians.

“None my associates have any such knowledge, and the ongoing attempt to interrogate them appears to be an effort to fabricate some other ‘crime’ to pressure me into testifying against the president,” he said. “It really has the smell of a witch hunt.”

Mr. Stone once said in a speech that he had “communicated with” Julian Assange, the founder of the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, and predicted that a trove of information about Hillary Clinton would be published before the 2016 election. And on Twitter, he seemed to correctly predict the release of emails — stolen by Russian hackers — sent and received by John D. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman.

“Trust me,” Mr. Stone wrote, “it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel.”

Mr. Stone has also acknowledged that before the 2016 election, he traded private messages with Guccifer 2.0, the mysterious online figure that was instrumental in helping WikiLeaks release the emails and other political documents that eventually proved damaging to Mrs. Clinton’s presidential bid.

In an indictment unsealed last month, Mr. Mueller charged that Guccifer 2.0 was in fact a front for Russian intelligence officers. The indictment also said that a person “in regular contact with senior members” of Mr. Trump’s campaign had communicated with Guccifer 2.0. Government officials have identified that person as Mr. Stone.

At least two campaign officials — Mr. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and a foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos — were aware of the Russian government’s interest in assisting the Trump campaign and were eager to receive the help. Mr. Trump said nothing ever came of those efforts. Mr. Stone’s predictions have raised questions about whether the campaign did have secret ties to the Russian hacking effort.

A longtime Republican turned libertarian in recent years, Mr. Stone got his start on the national stage in 1979 on Ronald Reagan’s campaign. Mr. Stone was for a time a partner in a Washington lobbying firm with Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman who is on trial on charges of financial fraud.

Each of the three people linked to Mr. Stone who either appeared before, or have been called to testify in front of, the grand jury have circuitous connections to the Russia investigation.

The former procuress, Kristin M. Davis, who is best known by her tabloid nickname, the “Manhattan Madam,” used Mr. Stone as a political consultant in 2010 when she started a protest run for New York governor, touting a platform that included the legalization of pot and prostitution. Mr. Stone, who is the godfather of Ms. Davis’s young son, has also employed her on and off in his office for years.

Neither Ms. Davis nor her lawyer, Daniel Hochheiser, returned phone calls on Friday seeking comment on her grand jury appearance. But in an email, Mr. Stone said that “she has no knowledge of Russian collusion, WikiLeaks collaboration or any other illegal activity on my part.”

The radio host, Randy Credico, a left-wing gadfly who has had his own failed bids for office, met Mr. Stone in the early 2000s when they worked together on a campaign to liberalize New York’s drug laws. Last year, Mr. Credico was identified as the intermediary between Mr. Stone and Mr. Assange of WikiLeaks.

On Friday, Mr. Credico’s lawyer, Martin Stolar, said his client was scheduled to appear before the Russia grand jury on Sept. 7. Mr. Stolar added that he suspected that investigators from Mr. Mueller’s team wanted to ask Mr. Credico about Mr. Stone’s dealings with Russian hackers and WikiLeaks, though he cautioned that he was simply speculating.

In response, Mr. Stone said that Mr. Credico had never told him “what the source, content or scope of the WikiLeaks disclosures would be.” He also said that he “would urge Mr. Credico to simply tell the truth,” if he is compelled to testify.

Mr. Stone’s aide, Andrew Miller, received his own subpoena to appear before the Russia grand jury this year, and his lawyers have been trying to quash it ever since. According to news reports, that effort failed Friday when Mr. Miller failed show up for the grand jury and Judge Beryl Howell of Federal District Court in Washington held him in contempt.

Mr. Miller, a registered libertarian, briefly worked for Mr. Stone around the time of the 2016 Republican National Convention, helping to arrange media interviews and conducting other tasks. In keeping with Mr. Stone’s intersecting social circles, Mr. Miller was also an aide on Ms. Davis’s campaign for New York governor.

“Andrew Miller has no knowledge or evidence of Russian collusion or WikiLeaks collaboration or any other illegal activity on my part,” Mr. Stone said, echoing what he had said about Ms. Davis. “If and when he is ever compelled to testify, I am highly confident that he would tell the truth.”



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