Trump’s confidante found guilty over lies

Donald Trump's longtime confidante Roger Stone has been convicted of lying to politicians investigating foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The outspoken Republican operative, 67, was indicted in January as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into whether Russia colluded with the Trump campaign.

Stone was found guilty on five counts of lying to Congress, one of witness tampering, and one of obstructing a Congressional committee proceeding, in the trial on Friday.

The verdict marks a stunning conclusion to one of the highest-profile prosecutions to emerge from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Stone was accused of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his communications with WikiLeaks, as well as encouraging another witness to lie to the FBI.

Jurors started deliberating Thursday after about a week of testimony, including from Trump campaign chief executive Steve Bannon, who said Stone boasted about his ties to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange and alerted the campaign to pending batches of damaging Democratic emails.

Former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates also took the witness stand, telling jurors that he overheard a phone conversation in late July 2016 between Mr Trump and Stone that appeared to be about WikiLeaks - because after the call ended, the US President said that more information would be coming out soon.

Gates, who was also charged separately in the Mueller probe, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and lying to the FBI as part of a plea agreement with the government.

Federal prosecutors said Stone lied in his September 2017 testimony to Congress to protect the Trump campaign from embarrassment.

"Roger Stone knew if this information came out, it would look really bad for his longtime associate Donald Trump, so he lied to the committee," prosecutor Jonathan Kravis told the jury in federal court in Washington, DC.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Roger Stone is a political strategist. He knows how this is going to look."

Stone's lawyer Bruce Rogow said he did nothing deliberately illegal and attacked the government's case as weak and built on unreliable witnesses.

He said the allegations defied "common sense" because Mr Trump had already been elected president by the time Stone testified to the House Intelligence Committee.

megan.palin@news.com.au | @Megan_Palin


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