SALT LAKE CITY — Roger Stone, a longtime political adviser to President Donald Trump who worked on his 2016 campaign, was arrested Friday morning following an indictment in the ongoing Russia investigation. The indictment charges that Stone lied about the Trump campaign’s communication with WikiLeaks, the organization that released thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic campaign during the 2016 election.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has charged Stone on seven counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, making false statements and witness tampering, The New York Times reported.
CNN released a video of Stone's arrest outside of his Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home.
According to Axios, Stone expected that he would be indicted.
Stone has publicly admitted that he had “back channel communications” with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, CBS reported, but denied any prior knowledge of the organization's plans to release the emails. Stone has also acknowledged that he communicated directly with Guccifer 2.0, the online account traced to Russia that claimed responsibility for hacking the Democratic National Committee, CNN reported. Stone insisted the messages did not amount to collusion.
In 2017, Stone spoke before the House Intelligence Committee, testifying that he didn't know anything about WikiLeaks' plans and that Trump's campaign did not direct him to get in touch with the organization. Mueller charged him on five counts for giving false statements during that testimony, along with encouraging another witness to stick to his false story and obstructing investigations into what really happened, Vox reported.
Stone appeared before a federal judge Friday morning in Fort Lauderdale, and was released after posting $250,000 bail. According to CNN, Stone said he would not testify against the president and that he is innocent.
So, who is Roger Stone?
1. A self-described “dirty trickster,” Stone has been working in Republican politics for more than 40 years.
Stone's name became known on the national political scene when, at just age 19, he donated in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance to the campaign of Pete McCloskey, Richard Nixon’s challenger for the 1972 Republican presidential nomination. He made the donations using the pseudonym Jason Rainier and then sent the contribution receipt to a newspaper to demonstrate that McCloskey was a left-wing candidate, The New Yorkerreported. After Nixon was elected president, Stone joined Sen. Robert Dole’s staff. But the job was short-lived: he was fired after the 1973 congressional hearings on the Watergate investigation, when his "high jinks" toward McCloskey's campaign were revealed, according to The New Yorker.
He later worked on the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan, Dole and George Bush, according to The New Yorker.
2. Stone has close ties to Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager who has also been indicted in the Russia investigation.
Stone worked on Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign with Manafort and Charlie Black. After the campaign ended, the three men formed a political consulting and lobbying firm originally called Black, Manafort, and Stone that eventually developed an international consulting and lobbying arm, according to Politico. BMS played a key role in getting Reagan re-elected in 1984 through its consulting work. After the campaign, the firm began developing a portfolio of lucrative contracts with prominent companies and overseas clients — and several with Trump.
The firm became known for representing controversial authoritarian regimes, which earned it the moniker “The Torturer’s Lobby,” according to the Center for Public Integrity.
3. Stone has been involved with Trump since the early 1980s.
Trump hired BMS to “fight the expansion of Indian casinos that could compete with his Atlantic City gambling business, and to change the flight path of planes at West Palm Beach International Airport, which he said disturbed guests at his newly purchased Mar-a-Lago club,” Politico reported.
Stone also suggested that Trump run for president in 2000, according to CNN, and he served as Trump’s adviser when he considered running that year, The New Yorker reported. When Trump entered the 2016 presidential campaign, Stone reprised his role as adviser, but eventually left. Stone claimed he was the one who decided to leave, although Trump maintained that Stone was fired, according to The Washington Post. Nevertheless, the Post reported, Stone has continued to support Trump.
4. Stone has been involved with numerous scandals over the years.
A 1996 National Enquirer story revealed that Stone and his wife had run personal ads in a magazine called “Local Swing Fever” looking for other couples to engage in sexual activity with them, The New Yorker reported. The scandal cost Stone his job as a consultant in Dole’s presidential campaign.
Stone also was involved in the “Brooks Brothers riot,” a Republican protest in Florida’s Miami-Dade County against the recount in the 2000 election between then-Texas Gov. George Bush and then-Vice President Al Gore, The New Yorker reported.
In 2007, Stone was working as a consultant for New York State Senate Republicans when he implicated himself in another scandal. Stone was accused of leaving threatening messages on the voicemail of Bernard Spitzer, the father of Eliot Spitzer, New York’s Democratic candidate for governor, The New Yorker reported. This cost him his job. Stone may have also had a role in exposing Eliot Spitzer’s involvement with a prostitution ring, causing Spitzer to resign from the governorship, according to The New Yorker.
5. A documentary was made about Stone.
In 2017, Netflix released "Get Me Roger Stone," a documentary that explores Stone’s past and his involvement in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. It includes interviews with Stone, Manafort and Trump, Page Six reported.
In the film, Stone shows off the tattoo of Richard Nixon that he has on his back, which was also photographed by The New Yorker. "Women love it," he told the magazine.
He told MSNBC he got the tattoo because he "admired Nixon's resilience" and it served as "a daily reminder that 'when you got knocked down, when things don't go your way, when you're defeated, you got to get up and fight again. It's simply that.'"