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WASHINGTON — The conviction of Roger Stone Friday on seven felony counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering represents a capstone to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, establishing that one of President Trump’s longtime political advisers did everything he could to conceal the truth from congressional investigators.
The conviction takes on added importance because, in the course of a week-and-a-half trial, prosecutors presented fresh evidence that Stone was in repeated contact with senior members of Trump’s campaign, who regarded him as an “access point” to WikiLeaks as the website was about to release emails damaging to Hillary Clinton.
But in a surprise twist, one of the prosecution’s chief witnesses in the case — former radio talk show host and comedian Randy Credico — told Yahoo News Friday that he was in tears upon learning of the verdict and did not want to see Stone, who is facing up to 50 years in prison, go to jail because of his testimony.
“I hate to see the guy go to jail because of me,” Credico said in a phone interview minutes after the verdict. “I feel horrible that this happened. This is not a day to rejoice.”
One of the counts on which Stone was convicted, witness tampering, was based on a series of emails and texts he sent to Credico pressuring him to back up his story that the comedian was his backchannel to WikiLeaks. In one of those emails, Stone wrote: “You are a rat. A stoolie. ... Prepare to die.” Stone then appeared to threaten Credico’s service dog, Bianca, saying he would “take that dog away from you.”
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