How Roger Stone could become a cooperating witness

How Roger Stone could become a cooperating witness

Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor, writes:

At first glance, Stone seems both extraordinarily slippery and exceedingly unlikely to cooperate. His career is marked by overarching hostility to the law, fair play and the truth. Stone started his political career in the 1970s, working for Richard Nixon. As would become a career hallmark, it was unclear what exactly Stone did; he boasted that he worked as a scheduler during the day but “[b]y night, I’m trafficking in the black arts.” Stone’s back is adorned with a large tattoo of Nixon’s face. In 1980, Stone co-founded the lobbying firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly. (Yes, that’s Manafort as in Paul; the firm now is two-for-four in having its principals federally indicted). In the 1980s, Stone began to work for Donald Trump, lobbying for Trump’s casino business. Stone has continued to work for Trump on and off since then. Throughout his career as a political operative, Stone has espoused hyper-aggressive theories you’d expect to hear from a college sophomore who has just read Sun-Tzu for the first time: “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.”

Stone publicly declared in mid-2018 that he expected to be indicted by Mueller, decrying the investigation as “an effort to silence or punish the president’s supporters and his advocates.” Stone has remained openly defiant of Mueller ever since. In December 2018, Stone flatly declared, “there is no circumstance under which I would testify against the President.” Trump in turn tweeted his support for Stone’s vow of silence: “Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’” After his arraignment on Friday, Stone reiterated from the courthouse steps that he “will not plead guilty to these charges.”

All in all, seems like a pretty clear no-go. But let’s step back for a moment. I’ve seen plenty of people cooperate who once seemed even less likely to flip than Stone. Every one of my mafia cooperators took a blood oath when they joined an organization whose fundamental principles require that cooperators be put to death. Indeed, several of my cooperators pled guilty to murdering people because those people were suspected of cooperating. So if my cooperators could turn on the mob, in violation of their blood oaths and at the risk of their own lives, then Stone can flip against a testy politician with a quick twitter thumb. [Continue reading…]

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