Democracy Dies in Darkness


Two more associates of Roger Stone testify before Mueller grand jury

November 6, 2018 at 5:24 PM

At least nine associates of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone have been contacted by the special counsel. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Two more associates of Roger Stone, the longtime adviser to President Trump, testified recently before a grand jury hearing evidence in the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election — the latest in a series of witnesses connected to Stone whose testimony has been sought by the special counsel.

David Lugo, a filmmaker who interviewed Stone for a movie, told The Washington Post Tuesday that he has turned over hundreds of text messages, emails and Facebook messages to the grand jury.

Lugo, who was a co-producer on the 2015 Oliver Stone film, “A Good American,” also said he testified on Oct. 19 before the grand jury about conversations about WikiLeaks he had with a onetime friend of Stone, New York comedian Randy Credico.

Separately, attorney Tyler Nixon, another Stone associate, confirmed to The Post that he testified before the grand jury Friday.

The appearances by Lugo and Nixon underscore how intensely special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is pursuing the question of whether Stone had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’s plans to release hacked Democratic emails that roiled the 2016 campaign and damaged Hillary Clinton’s White House bid. At least nine Stone associates have been contacted by prosecutors so far.

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In October 2018, longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone denied having "advanced knowledge" of WikiLeaks information that influenced the course of the 2016 election. On Jan. 25, Stone was indicted by special counsel in Russia investigation. (Erin Patrick O'Connor, Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.

In July, Mueller’s prosecutors charged 12 Russian military officers with engineering the hack of Democratic accounts and giving the emails to WikiLeaks.

Stone has denied any contact with WikiLeaks and said he did not know the content of material before it was published.

Both Lugo and Nixon told The Post last month that Credico acknowledged in conversations being the source of material for Stone’s statements and tweets about WikiLeaks.

Another Stone associate, conservative author Jerome Corsi, was interviewed by Mueller’s team over three days last week and appears to be emerging as a key witness, according to a person familiar with the sessions who requested anonymity to describe the ongoing investigation.

Stone has said that research by Corsi about Clinton campaign chief John Podesta and his lobbyist brother Tony prompted him to tweet “it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel” on Aug. 21, 2016. The tweet came about six weeks before WikiLeaks began publishing emails hacked from John Podesta’s account.

David Gray, a lawyer for Corsi, declined to comment.

Lugo said Tuesday that his testimony before the grand jury was focused on Credico, another significant player in the Stone saga.

Related: [Special counsel examines conflicting accounts as scrutiny of Roger Stone and WikiLeaks deepens]

Stone has said Credico was his principal source of information about WikiLeaks, an allegation Credico denies. Stone also identified Credico as his source in a letter to the House Intelligence Committee last year.

During his 35- to 45-minute appearance, Lugo said, prosecutors asked him about communications he had with Credico in the spring of 2017. The Post reported last month that Credico had sent a text message to Lugo in which the comic appeared to acknowledge that he provided inside information about WikiLeaks to Stone.

In the message, which Lugo provided to The Post, Credico said: “I knew Rodger [sic] was going to name me sooner or later and so I told you that I’m the so-called back Channel.”

Lugo was called to testify two days before The Post published its story.

Credico said Tuesday in a text message to The Post that Lugo is an “alt-right Stone acolyte. Rodger [sic] hypnotizes guy to do all of this.”

Credico added that Lugo “would die for Rodger Stone . . . Don’t you understand that stone put them up to this.”

Stone noted in a message to The Post Tuesday that Lugo and Nixon testified under oath about their experiences. “I have no hypnotic powers,” he said.

Related: [Roger Stone helped Donald Trump get elected president — now he’s helping himself]

The Post reported last month that Nixon attended a dinner during which he said Credico acknowledged being Stone’s WikiLeaks source.

Nixon confirmed Tuesday he was called to appear before the grand jury after the publication of The Post’s story, but he did not provide details about his testimony. His appearance was first reported by the Daily Caller.

During Lugo’s grand jury appearance, the filmmaker said prosecutors asked him about messages that he claims show Credico attempting to intimidate him not to reveal conversations about whether the comic was a Stone source. Lugo said he told the grand jury that Credico tried to pressure him to be silent by threatening to “call me out as an extreme right winger and a disciple of Roger Stone.”

Lugo said he also testified about communications with Credico regarding the possibility of the comic helping to set up an interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for a film he was working on about online censorship called “Sensational.” Credico had previously interviewed Assange on his radio program.

Lugo said he told grand jurors that the comedian wanted Lugo to film him last year conducting an interview with Assange at the Ecuadoran embassy in London, where the WikiLeaks founder has been detained for years. The interview never happened.

Manuel Roig-Franzia is a feature writer in The Washington Post’s Style section, where he profiles national figures in the worlds of politics, the law and the arts. He previously served as bureau chief in Miami for The Post's National staff and in Mexico City for the Post's Foreign staff. He is the author of a biography of Sen. Marco Rubio.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2001.

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