Roger Stone’s name and image were invoked by prosecutors and defendants in court filings over the last week, underscoring the increasingly visible presence of former president Donald Trump’s political confidant in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach investigation.
All the faces are redacted except for the two charged Oath Keepers in the picture, which prosecutors introduced to show that the defendants knew each other. Three of Stone’s books are displayed in a room that looks like the White House Oval Office.
One of the redacted faces is of someone in a blue shirt, tie, suspenders and khaki slacks. Stone wore matching clothing at a rally of Trump supporters that day in Largo, Fla., according to video by the Bay News 9 cable channel. The rally site, a two hours’ drive from the two defendants’ homes, was a coffee shop with a matching reproduction backdrop of the Oval Office. The coffee shop had indicated on Instagram that Stone would be a guest with “other Patriots” on Dec. 14.
The defense attorney for a third charged Oath Keepers co-defendant, Jessica Watkins, wrote separately Thursday that her client was planning only to provide security for Stone in Washington, where she was given a “VIP” security pass for events.
“I’m down to be security for Roger Stone. Seems like a sweet gig,” Watkins texted another co-defendant on Jan. 1, the defense filing said.
Another photograph posted on Facebook on Dec. 13 and shared with the FBI appears to show Stone interacting outside his Fort Lauderdale home with a fourth co-defendant charged in the riot, an Oath Keepers leader in Florida, according to two people familiar with the image who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.
The images show Stone had previous interactions with at least three more defendants who prosecutors have accused of being players in organizing the Jan. 6 breach. Although investigators continue to bump into Stone as they probe members of the Oath Keepers and of the Proud Boys, another right-wing group charged with leading the assault, it remains unclear what that means as prosecutors review what, if any, influence Stone, other high-profile right-wing figures or Trump associates had on them.
The five Oath Keepers in the photos and court filings are among 10 members and associates charged with conspiring to obstruct Congress’s confirmation of the 2020 presidential election results. The Justice Department and FBI are now weighing whether a larger conspiracy case can be made, including against senior figures in the group, which recruits military, law enforcement and first-responder personnel and claims authority to disobey government orders that some claim are part of an effort to strip Americans of their constitutional rights.
Stone, who has consistently said he was not involved in the Capitol riot and did not have advance knowledge of the breach, is not charged and has not been accused of any crime.
In a statement, Stone said, “This new filing does not in anyway provide proof or evidence that I was involved in or had advance knowledge of the illegal acts at the Capitol on January 6 that are alleged to involve some individual members of the [Oath Keepers] organization.
“Such an implication is ‘guilt by association’ with no factual basis,” he said, adding that any implication otherwise regarding any unlawful acts by any person or group in Washington that day “is categorically false.”
Stone has said Oath Keepers members “came forward to voluntarily provide free security for me [in Washington] as they had graciously done at three previous rallies in Miami and Tampa.”
Stone said he did not know the faces or names of security guards he was photographed with in Washington before they were charged.
In the “Oval Office” book-signing photo that prosecutors filed Wednesday, on the stand-in Resolute Desk, visible book titles appear to be 2016’s “Jeb! and the Bush Crime Family” and 2014’s “Nixon’s Secrets,” both of which Stone co-wrote, and Stone’s 2017 book on Trump, “The Making of the President 2016.”
Prosecutors have not alleged that Connie Meggs, 59, of Dunnellon, Fla., or Graydon Young, 54, of Englewood, Fla. — the two Oath Keepers members allegedly at the book signing and later charged in the riot — guarded Stone.
The same is true for Meggs’s husband, Kelly Meggs, 52, of Dunnellon, who appears to be with Stone in the Fort Lauderdale photograph and who prosecutors say called himself the Oath Keepers “Florida state lead” on Jan. 6. In the image, Meggs posed with Stone — wearing a blue “Stop the Steal” T-shirt — outside what appears to be the building where Stone lives in Fort Lauderdale, according to voting records and Google Map street images. The Washington Post has viewed the photo that two people familiar with the image confirm was shared with the FBI. An FBI Washington Field Office spokeswoman declined to comment.
Stone’s cameos in the Capitol attack investigation come as prosecutors are probing potential ties between those involved in the attack and high-profile right-wing figures who may have influenced them, to look into the mind-set of those who committed violence and their paths to radicalization, according to people familiar with the investigation.
A superseding indictment was unsealed Friday accusing four leaders of the far-right Proud Boys group of conspiring to lead the group’s efforts on Jan. 6 after its national chairman, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, a former personal aide to Stone, was unable to attend.
Prosecutors and the FBI have also charged about 20 members or associates of the Proud Boys — a far-right group with a history of violence in street protests — in the Capitol attack, accusing some of leading some of the earliest, most aggressive and preplanned efforts to overrun police and break into the building.
In proceedings two years ago while charged with obstructing Congress’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Stone testified that Tarrio, who lives in Miami, was one of a handful of aides he entrusted with his phones and social media accounts.
Tarrio, 33, also promoted Stone’s legal defense fund and launched an online store selling Stone and Proud Boys gear, before creating a company last year to promote the Proud Boys with two of its freshly indicted leaders, Ethan Nordean of Seattle and Joseph Biggs of Ormond Beach, Fla.
On Jan. 2, the Saturday before the riot, Stone dialed in by phone to speak to a Proud Boys protest led by Tarrio outside the West Miami home of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), demanding that Rubio not confirm the election results, according to the Miami Herald and New York Times.
After 9 p.m. on Jan. 5, according to the recent indictment, as 60 users connected on an encrypted Proud Boys communications channel called “Boots on the Ground” in Washington, Biggs responded to another indicted leader who asked about the next day’s plan: “I gave [first name of Proud Boys chairman] a plan. The one I told the guys and he said he had one.”
Tarrio has denied that the group organized any violence at the Capitol. Tarrio was not at the Jan. 6 rally and has not been charged with any wrongdoing related to the riot. “There was no plan to go into the Capitol. . . . There was no plan to even interrupt Congress,” Tarrio has said.
Stone’s encounters in December with Florida Oath Keepers members happened immediately after he returned to the state from participating in a Dec. 12 rally in Washington that drew Trump supporters from across the country opposing the election results.
On the eve of the rally, Stone stood beside Tarrio and Nordean as Infowars personality Owen Shroyer told a gathering pro-Trump crowd near D.C.’s Freedom Plaza they had been “stabbed in the back” by the Supreme Court rejection earlier that day of a lawsuit to overturn the presidential count.
“We will fight to the bitter end for an honest count to the 2020 election,” Stone told the crowd. “Never give up. Never quit. Never surrender. And fight for America!”
The following night, Nordean was in a group where four people, including at least one Proud Boys, member were stabbed.
Oath Keepers provided security at the December event, including one Alabama member who the FBI said became a driver for Stone on Jan. 5 and who was among guards seen with Stone on Jan. 5 and 6 before later being charged with entering the Capitol.
Stone in online columns accused news organizations of engaging in “more ‘Russian-collusion hoax-style’ smears.” He wrote that if credible information were to emerge revealing a conspiracy, everyone involved should be prosecuted.
Stone has complained that his finances were devastated by legal costs related to his trial, in which he was convicted of lying and witness-tampering in the years-long probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Trump pardoned Stone on Dec. 23.
Stone said he was forced to move from a comfortable rented waterfront home to a less spacious apartment in Fort Lauderdale. Book sales have long provided a key source of income for Stone, a prolific author who has published book with unproved claims about the John F. Kennedy assassination and the Clinton family.