The trial will start with jury selection, and opening statements could begin as soon as Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Monday. Another former top White House adviser, far-right Steve Bannon, is reportedly likely to testify against Stone.
The charges arose from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that detailed alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election to boost Trump’s candidacy. They focus on whether Stone lied about the Trump campaign’s efforts to obtain emails published by the Wikileaks website to undercut Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The indictment refers to an October 2016 email from a “high-ranking Trump Campaign official” asking Stone to inquire about future releases of emails by “Organization 1,” a reference to Wikileaks. Stone responded that “Organization 1” would release “a load every week going forward.” The election was in November 2016.
Prosecutors claim that when the House Intelligence Committee started asking questions in 2017, Stone lied. Specifically, falsely claiming all of his information about WikiLeaks’s plans came from a single “intermediary”: radio host Randy Credico. The disgraced Trump adviser is also accused of threatening Credico, pushing him to withdraw his testimony.
Stone has pleaded not guilty to charges of obstructing justice, witness tampering and lying to the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.
The longtime Republican operative and self-described “dirty trickster” and “agent provocateur,” worked for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bob Dole and as a highly paid lobbyist, he worked alongside his friend Paul Manafort for a host of seedy clients, among them current President Trump.
The two met in the mid-1980s, as Trump hired Stone and Manafort’s firm to do lobbying and PR for him and head a presidential exploratory committee three decades before snatching the U.S. presidency.