The long-awaited indictment of Roger Stone finally fell on Friday and landed on Stone like the proverbial ton of brick. As someone who has been prosecuting scooters Libby and others on similar charges and defending charges against similar charges as alleged here – false statements, obstruction of the judiciary, and manipulation of witnesses – my point is that Stone should start fixing his business , Without pardon by the President (always the wildcard option with a POTUS like Trump) Stone is convicted and receives a very high prison sentence. This is so close to a slam-dunk case that a prosecutor will ever bring.
There are several types of defense mechanisms that are normally used to defend such a case, and none of them are possible here.
"Actually, I did not say what the government says I said / the government did not understand what I said."
This defense can often work when the wrong statements are based on a field representative interview Just make a note of the interview and do not write it down. In these cases, defendants can plausibly argue that they either did not understand the agent's questions or that the agents did not properly understand their response or did not remember their memory. Any ambiguity in the question or answer can be exploited. But that does not work for Stone because the entire Congressional hearing was literally transcribed. The questions and answers were under oath and were in no way ambiguous or open to interpretation.
"You can not prove that my answer was wrong."
In other words, you doubt the government's version of what it claims is the truth. Usually this can be done by attacking the credibility of the government's witnesses, who are being asked to determine what the government has actually done. For example, if the government relies on Randy Credico or Jerome Corsi to tell the jury the "truth," Stone's lawyers could attack their credibility. Even the witnesses with the straightest arrow can occasionally stumble upon cross-examination. (If you doubt it, dig out the descriptions, like Tim Russert, who was perhaps the most trusted journalist in America at that time, cross-examined while testifying in the Libby trial.) Not nice. "
For Stone, and what makes the struggle against this case in vain is that the government does not have to rely on the credibility of individuals to explain their case. The evidence of e-mail and text presented in a qualified manner in the indictment can not be interpreted. Just one example: On the day that Stone testified that he had never sent or received emails or text messages from Credico, the two men had exchanged more than 30 text messages. Good luck turning.
" Stone is too unreliable for a prosecutor ever to rely on. "
And if that were not enough ̵
In short, Mueller does not need Stone to get to someone else, and even if he did, he could not rely on what Stone told him. Stone has nothing to sell that would interest Müller.
Stone clearly enjoys being in the limelight. He should enjoy it as long as he can. His remaining years will not be nearly as pleasant.
Peter Zeidenberg is a former federal attorney and deputy special advocate in the pursuit of scooter Libby. Currently he is partner with Arent Fox in Washington, D.C. Follow him @ przeidenberg .