Longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone hopes to call WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a witness in his trial, a source familiar with Stone’s legal strategy told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Stone believes that Assange can help his case by testifying that the pair were not in communication during the 2016 presidential campaign. Assange has long denied having contact with Stone or any Trump associates regarding WikiLeaks’ plans to release Democrats’ emails.
Stone was indicted and arrested on Jan. 24 on seven separate counts, most related to his testimony in 2017 before the House Intelligence Committee.
The veteran GOP political operative has not been charged with conspiring with WikiLeaks or of lying when he denied having contacts with Assange. Instead, he is accused of making false statements about his communications with associates regarding discussions about WikiLeaks.
By showing that he had no contact with Assange, Stone hopes to show a jury that his alleged false statements were immaterial, TheDCNF’s source said.
Stone is scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 5.
The prospect of Assange’s testimony increased dramatically on Thursday after the WikiLeaks founder was indicted in the U.S. on charges that he conspired with Chelsea Manning to hack into classified Pentagon computer systems.
The Justice Department plans to request extradition of Assange, who was arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Thursday. That process could take months, and it is not clear whether Assange would be in U.S. custody before Stone’s trial starts. Even then, a judge would likely have to approve Assange’s appearance.
Politico first reported Stone’s wish to have Assange testify.
Stone’s lawyer, Grant Smith, did not respond to a request for comment. Stone was placed under a gag order by the judge handling his case.
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