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Roger Stone Arraigned In D.C. Federal Court


Roger Stone was arraigned in federal court in Washington, D.C., this morning. The president's friend and former adviser has been charged with seven counts, including lying to Congress and witness tampering. In court today, Stone's lawyers entered a plea of not guilty to all charges. NPR justice reporter Ryan Lucas is here in the studio to tell us more. Hi, Ryan.


MARTIN: What was the scene today at the courthouse?

LUCAS: Well, Stone arrived at the district courthouse here in Washington. It's close to the Capitol, just off the National Mall. There was a giant gaggle of reporters, of cameramen, photographers. There were also some members of the public. Some of them were carrying signs saying free Stone, jail Hillary - reference to Hillary Clinton. Others held signs that said Roger Stone did nothing wrong. There were also opponents of Roger Stone in this crowd. There were chants of lock him up - so a sort of raucous scene.

Stone showed up at the courthouse dressed in a blue suit, a bright blue tie and a pocket square - always dapper. He waved to the crowd outside and then strode into the courthouse for the proceedings.

MARTIN: OK. So as we noted, his lawyers entered a plea of not guilty. What more can you tell us about what happened inside the courtroom?

LUCAS: Well, that "not guilty" plea was to all seven counts that Stone faces in the indictment. So that's one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, one count of witness tampering and then five counts of making false statements. The magistrate judge advised Stone not to have any contacts with witnesses in his case. That would include two people who are in the indictment that aren't mentioned by name but whose identities are known. That's radio host Randy Credico and Jerome Corsi, a journalist and conspiracy theorist.

Stone has also been instructed not to apply for a new passport and not to travel except between his home and the court here in Washington, D.C. The judge asked Stone if he understood these conditions. Stone stood up and replied, yes, Your Honor.

MARTIN: Roger Stone, we know him to be someone who doesn't shy away from a microphone. Did he speak after his arraignment?

LUCAS: As you noted, Stone is not a wallflower. He does love the spotlight. He loves the spectacle of all of this, and he certainly loves the political flight (ph). As we saw after his arrest in Florida and his court appearance there, he came out on the courthouse steps and gave a kind of rolling press conference...

MARTIN: Right.

LUCAS: ...To reporters as well as members of the public. He did not do a repeat of that today here in Washington, D.C. He walked out of the courthouse today with his lawyers. He headed to a black SUV that was waiting for him on the street. He did, however, turn and flash that V for victory sign that Richard Nixon made famous and that Stone has taken a liking to.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

LUCAS: He did that right before he got into the car. Then he did, indeed, get into the car and drove off.

MARTIN: That's becoming a thing for him. So what happens next with Roger Stone?

LUCAS: Well, this case, prosecutors for the Special Counsel's Office, say they are going to try jointly with the U.S. attorney's office here in Washington, D.C. This is going to proceed as the other court cases have. This is going to take a fair amount of time to get through all of this. Stone himself will be back in court here in Washington on February 1 for a status conference. So this case is really just getting underway.

MARTIN: All right, NPR justice reporter Ryan Lucas. Thanks so much. We appreciate it.

LUCAS: Thank you very much.

(SOUNDBITE OF EMANCIPATOR'S "TIME FOR SPACE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.
Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.