Roger Stone: Trial of Trump ally begins | News | DW | 05.11.2019
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Roger Stone: Trial of Trump ally begins

The longtime associate of Donald Trump was arrested in connection with the Russia probe in January this year. The indictment said he made "false statements" about his interactions with an entity dubbed "Organization 1."

The trial of Roger Stone began in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.

In January this year, Stone, a political strategist and longtime ally of US President Donald Trump, was charged with seven counts, including obstruction of justice, making false statements to Congress and witness tampering.

The charges arose from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation which came to an end in March.

The indictment said he made "false statements" about his interactions with an entity known as "Organization 1" and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton campaign in 2016.

Who is Roger Stone?

Roger Stone is a political consultant, author, lobbyist and strategist known for his aptitude regarding research of opposition, usually on behalf of Republican Party candidates. He has assisted the campaigns of US presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.

A self-described "dirty trickster" and "agent provocateur," Stone has pleaded not guilty to the accusations.

Stone also has a tattoo on his back — of Nixon's smiling face.

What is 'Organization 1'?

According to the indictment, "the head of Organization 1 was located at all relevant times at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, United Kingdom."

Julian Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London from 2012 until his arrest in April 2019. Assange matches the description, although the indictment does not specifically name him nor WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing platform founded by the Australian activist.

Will there be repercussions for Trump?

The president has enough on his plate right now with an impeachment inquiry. Nevertheless, the trial will bring more headlines.

At the time of Stone's arrest at the beginning of the year, Trump took to Twitter, including some of his well-known utterances, such as "Witch Hunt" and "NO COLLUSION," before suggesting that US broadcaster CNN had been tipped off.

Ex-White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter told DW back in January that "this is a very bad situation for Trump" as the president desperately sought "incriminating dirt on Hillary," prior to the 73-year-old's election triumph of November 2016.

When can we expect a decision?

The trial kicks off on Tuesday with jury selection set to start at 9:30 a.m. (2:30 p.m. GMT). Opening statements could begin on Wednesday, according to US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. The trial is expected to last at least two weeks.

jsi/rt (AP, Reuters)

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