Who is Roger Stone?

By Grace Segers, Kathryn Watson

/ CBS News

Roger Stone charged in Russia investigation

Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone has been indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts — including false statements obstruction and witness tampering — the special counsel's office announced Friday morning. He was arrested before dawn on Friday and appeared in court the same day.

Stone has been an eccentric figure on the right for decades, as a longtime Republican operative who has referred to himself as a "political provocateur" and a "dirty trickster." He helped elect Ronald Reagan, but unlike most Republicans, he is an acolyte of President Richard Nixon. Underneath his bespoke suits, he has a tattoo of Nixon's face on his back.

Stone worked on Nixon's 1972 campaign, as well as Reagan's 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns. After helping to elect Reagan, Stone built a lobbying firm with his friend Paul Manafort, better known in the past couple of years as the former Trump campaign chairman who has also been entangled in the special counsel investigation, and was accused of violating his guilty plea by lying to federal prosecutors.

Stone and President Trump have known each other since 1979, when the two were introduced by controversial lawyer Roy Cohn. Stone registered as a lobbyist for the Trump Organization in the 1990s, and lobbied on behalf of the organization during Mr. Trump's ill-fated time as a casino owner.

Stone joined Mr. Trump's campaign immediately after it launched in 2015, although he left two months later over disagreements with then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. While the Trump campaign said he had been fired, Stone maintained that he quit. He remained in contact with Mr. Trump through the election.

Stone admitted to CBS News' Jeff Pegues in 2017 that he had been in contact with a Twitter handle U.S. officials considered a front for Russian intelligence during the campaign.

"There's no collusion here," Stone told Pegues, while he admitted to contact with Guccifer 2.0, the Twitter handle that released hacked election information believed stolen from Democratic Party servers.

Stone insisted that his conversation with Guccifer 2.0 was "innocuous" because of its and timing and because he was unaware at the time of the "exchange" of allegations that Guccifer 2.0 has ties to Russia.

In 2016, Stone seemed to predict the hack of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta's emails. "Trust me, it will soon be Podesta's time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary," Stone tweeted, shortly before WikiLeaks hacked Podesta's emails and released them to the public.

The special counsel's Friday indictment accuses Stone of giving information about WikiLeaks to the Trump campaign. According to the special counsel's office, Stone told "senior Trump campaign officials" about hacked emails that could hurt Clinton.

The indictment listed seven counts: one count of obstruction of an official proceeding; five counts of false statements; and one count of witness tampering. Stone agreed to post a $250,000 bond Friday, after making his first appearance in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The indictment doesn't name WikiLeaks, but paints a picture of how Stone was allegedly in touch with top Trump campaign officials about leaked Democratic emails from "Organization 1" during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The indictment claims Stone spoke to senior Trump campaign officials about information that could damage Hillary Clinton's campaign. The indictment also alleges Stone was contacted by senior Trump campaign officials to inquire about future releases the "Organization 1" might have.

"During the summer of 2016, STONE spoke to senior Trump campaign officials about Organization 1 and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton campaign. STONE was contacted by senior Trump campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1," the indictment reads.

It also alleges that after the House Intelligence Committee, Senate Intelligence Committee and FBI began investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, Stone "took steps to obstruct these investigations" by making false statements to the House Intelligence Committee and attempting to persuade a witness to provide false testimony.

The indictment contains multiple text and email exchanges allegedly involving Stone.

In one text obtained by Mueller's office, on Oct. 1, 2016, someone identified only as "Person 2" in the indictment sent Stone text messages that said, 'big news Wednesday . . . now pretend u don't know me . . . Hillary's campaign will die this week.'" The Washington Post attributed that text message to Randy Credico, a radio host whom Stone identified as his intermediary to WikiLeaks.

Six days later, hackers began releasing the personal emails of Podesta.

According to the indictment, Person 2 also advised Stone to be honest with the FBI. Stone responded that he wouldn't talk to the FBI and threatened Person 2, saying, "if your [SIC] smart you won't either." Four months later, Stone emailed Person 2 again after it was apparent he had cooperated with the government.

"You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends – run your mouth my lawyers are dying [to] Rip you to shreds," Stone wrote, the indictment reads. Stone also threatened his dog, saying, he'd "take that dog away from you." Credico has a small white dog named Bianca. Here's a photo of Credico and Bianca:

New York radio host Randy Credico, with his dog Bianca, walks away from federal court after after appearing before the grand jury hearing evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin / AP

First published on January 25, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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