After Trump’s friend Roger Stone was arrested on Friday and charged with seven felony counts, he stood at the top of the courthouse steps and declared his innocence. His defiant speech to reporters made it sound like he was arrested on trumped-up charges (no pun intended) and that the prosecutors had no chance of winning.
However, according to the prosecutor who convicted Dick Cheney aide Scooter Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice, the case against Stone is almost perfect.
Writing in The Daily Beast, former federal prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg said:
“Barring a presidential pardon (always the wild-card possibility with a POTUS like Trump) Stone will be convicted and receive a very substantial prison sentence. This is as close to a slam-dunk case as a prosecutor will ever bring.”
Unfortunately for Stone, Zeidenberg says that the government has a mountain of documents it can use to make its case. His indictment set forth in great detail the massive amount of email and text evidence that supports the charges against him. These documents can only be interpreted one way: Stone is guilty.
For example: On the same day that Stone testified before Congress that he had never sent or received emails or text messages from his friend Randy Credico, the two men had exchanged more than 30 text messages. That will be hard for Stone’s defense lawyers to explain away.
In fact, according to Zeidenberg, there is almost no defense that Stone can make against the charges Mueller has brought against him. He said:
“There are several types of defenses that are typically employed when defending a case like this, and none of them are viable here.”
In addition, Stone’s trial will be held in the District of Columbia, where the jury pool hates white-collar criminals almost as much as they hate the current president. And, Zeidenberg says, “they will find Stone loathsome.”
The former prosecutor also makes clear that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will not even try to “flip” Stone to get him to cooperate by testifying against Donald Trump. He says that:
“A defendant like Stone is far more trouble than he is worth to a prosecutor. Stone is too untrustworthy for a prosecutor to ever rely upon. He has told so many documented lies, and bragged so often about his dirty tricks, that he simply has too much baggage to deal with even if here to want to cooperate—which seems unlikely in any event.”
Zeidenberg says that Mueller won’t even attempt to engage in a preliminary debrief with Stone to test the possibility of cooperation, since he knows that Stone would immediately go on Fox News to charge Mueller with unfair “Gestapo” tactics in his prosecution.
The fact is that Robert Mueller does not need any testimony from Stone to get to anyone higher up in the food chain, such as Donald Trump or his children. Mueller also knows that whatever Stone told him would not be believable, and certainly not useful in a criminal trial.
As Zeidenberg says, “Stone has nothing to sell that Mueller would be interested in buying.”
Even though Stone talks big, the truth is that Robert Mueller has him dead to rights. All the evidence is against him, he has no viable defense, the jury will be biased against him, and the prosecutors have no incentive to cut a “deal” to reduce his prison sentence.
In short Roger Stone will soon be going to jail, and he will probably stay there for the rest of his life.
Editor’s Note: The word “likely” was added to the title after publication.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.