APTOPIX Roger Stone Trial

Roger Stone, left, with his wife Nydia Stone, leaves federal court in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Stone, a longtime friend of President Donald Trump, has been found guilty at his trial in federal court in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

WASHINGTON — He was proud of his reputation as a practitioner of political dirty tricks and frequently boasted about the extent of his contacts and the depth of his insider information.

Now Roger Stone, a longtime friend and ally of President Donald Trump, faces a prison sentence for a collection of crimes that essentially amounts to exaggerating how much he knew, then lying and scrambling to keep those boasts from being exposed.

Stone was convicted Friday of all seven counts in a federal indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election.

He is the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Stone has denied wrongdoing and consistently criticized the case against him as politically motivated. He did not take the stand during the trial and his lawyers did not call any witnesses in his defense.

The Stone case could be the last public gasp of the Mueller investigation, which wrapped up in March. Mueller made clear that his team never considered indicting Trump because the Justice Department prohibits the prosecution of a sitting president.

The evidence presented in the trial didn’t directly address Mueller’s conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to prove a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to tip the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor. But it provided new insight into the scramble inside the Trump campaign when it was revealed in July 2016 that the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks was in possession of more than 19,000 emails hacked from the servers of the Democratic National Committee.

Witnesses highlighted how Trump campaign associates were eager to gather information about the emails, which the U.S. says were hacked by Russia and then provided to WikiLeaks. Steve Bannon, who served as the campaign’s chief executive, testified during the trial that Stone had boasted about his ties to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, alerting them to pending new batches of damaging emails. Campaign officials saw Stone as the “access point” to WikiLeaks, he said.

Stone, 67, showed no visible reaction as the verdict was read aloud, count by count. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6 and could face up to 20 years behind bars.

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