Good morning from federal court in DC. Same drill. Different day, albeit one where we are set for closing arguments in the Roger Stone trial starting at 1 pm. There’s a conference to talk jury instructions at 10 am too just w/ judge & lawyers.
We're about to get rolling here in the other news story of the day: the Stone jury instruction conference. Milo Yiannopoulos sitting in front row behind Stone defense team. Michael Caputo is also here at the courthouse today after getting stuck in Buffalo snow & missing Monday.
"All Rise!" - Here we go. Judge Jackson takes her seat.
Jackson says she's gotten a communication from a juror. Sharing it w/ lawyers now. The juror says she's unwell and not able to be here. "This is why we have alternates," Jackson said. Kravis & Buschel says no objection.
The 'no objection' was on having one of the 2 alternates become one of the 12 jurors and eventual dismissal of the other alternate. Jackson says she doesn't need to see a doctor note from the sick juror.
Jackson praises DOJ/Stone lawyers for working together to get the right language for jury instructions. She signs off on them. Now talking about the verdict form the jury will fill out on the 7 counts Stone is facing.
Jackson now considering what the jury should see with respect to the transcript of the famous Godfather II scene involving Frankie Five Angels, aka Frank Pentangeli. She's not sure she wants stage directions in the transcript.
Jackson convening a bench conference on "scheduling matters."
And with that, Jackson adjourns the Stone trial conference on jury instructions. Back at 1 pm for closing arguments.
Funny moment before Jackson adjourned where she said she wasn't so keen on having so many adjectives in the Godfather transcript that the jury gets to see. My co-pilot @joshgerstein suggests we fire up a @politico AM story w/ headline - "Adjectives in crosshairs at Stone trial"
Closing arguments about 10 mins away in the Roger Stone trial. He just reentered the courthouse.
The courtroom is full and several people are being redirected to overflow, including former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Goldstein and Michael Caputo.
Spotted inside the courtroom - Jeannie Rhee, another former Mueller prosecutor.
Alas, Caputo got in. But it’s definitely very crammed in the courtroom.
"All rise!" - And here we go with closing arguments.
Jury entering the courtroom for first time today. They were told they didn't need to get here until after lunch. That's the latest they've had to arrive since the trial started last Tuesday.
As Judge Jackson indicted, there are only 13 jurors here today. One emailed in that they were sick and has been excused.
Jonathan Kravis opens pointing directly at Stone. "That man is Roger Stone," the federal prosecutor says. "The evidence you've seen and heard over the last week" shows Stone obstructed a congressional investigation.
Kravis recaps the case DOJ has presented in obstructing the House's Russia probe. "Why did Roger Stone do these things? Because, he knew if the truth came out about what he'd been doing it'd look terrible."
Kravis is giving his closing argument reading in part from his notes.
Darren Samuelsohn Retweeted WikiLeaks
Kravis showing jurors this @WikiLeaks tweet from 2016:
Darren Samuelsohn added,
RELEASE: 19,252 emails from the US Democratic National Committee https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/
Kravits notes to jury the Stone trial isn't about putting the Russian hacks themselves on trial. "You are not being asked to decide it," he tells them.
Kravis playing brief audio clip of Roger Stone's opening statement in his deposition to HPSCI.
"Here's lie No. 1," Kravis says, playing audio of Rep. Quigley asking Stone about his Aug. 8, 2016, Broward Co. speech where he says "actually communicated with Julian Assange" and follow-ups about who he was referring to with Alex Jones on Aug. 12, 2016.
Kravis explains Stone mislead Congress when he's telling them his intermediary is Randy Credico when in fact it's Jerome Corsi. Shows jurors the July 25 email from Stone to Corsi, "get to assange" and also "get the pending wikileaks".
Those messages to Corsi, as well as another urging Ted Malloch to "see Assange" came just days after that WikiLeaks email about the first tranche of 19K+ emails.
Kravis shows jurors again the Aug. 2, 2016 email from Corsi to Stone, who wrote: "word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after i’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.”
The other part of Corsi Aug. 2, 2016 email Kravis highlights says, "Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke - neither he nor she well. I expect that much of next dump focus, setting stage for Foundation debacle.”
Kravis shows Aug. 19, 2016 text between Stone and Credico, where Credico says he's going to have Assange on his radio show. The FBI agent on the case, Kravis notes, didn't find any communications re. Assange between Stone & Credico prior to that. Credico also testified to this.
Kravis again explains to jurors that the Aug. 19, 2016, texts between Credico-Stone came after Stone had already been in touch with Corsi and made his boasts to the Broward GOP and on Alex Jones' show.
Kravis: "The defense would have you believe Randy Credico is some kind of Svengali or mastermind....That claim is absurd.” He reminds jurors of Credico's colorful testimony, says he's not the kind of person to "pull the wool" over Stone's eyes.
More Kravis: "The person you saw testify is just not the kind of person who’s going to fool Roger Stone." Also this, "Roger Stone wasn’t tricked. He lied.”
Kravis walking jurors through allegation Stone lied to Congress about his contacts w/ Trump campaign about WikiLeaks.
Reminds jurors about Bannon's "access point" testimony, Gates' descriptions of phone calls w/ Stone about WikiLeaks, Oct. 3, 2016 email with Erik Prince where Stone writes, "Spoke to my friend in london last night. The payload is still coming.”
Kravis shows jury phone records from Stone to Trump on three occasions: June 30, 2016; July 31, 2016; and Aug. 17, 2016, which is another day of WikiLeaks doc dumps.
Kravis: "Here is Stone giving the campaign inside information on those releases over and over again. This is going to look terrible for Trump and Stone is worried that what he says and does in the hearing is going to reflect back on the president."
Kravis on Stone's testimony that he had no email communications with Credico. "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this one is a whopper." And later, "Not an email guy? Are you kidding me?” He then explains there were 1,500 written communications between the men from 6/16 to 9/17.
Kravis now on the witness tampering & Randy Credico part of the government's case.
The reason "why Roger Stone picked Randy Credico” as his named intermediary is because "when the time came, he'd be able to bend Randy Credico until Randy Credico broke," Kravis says.
Kravis reminds jurors of what Credico was like on the witness stand. "You could see why Roger Stone picked him to be the patsy in all this," the federal prosecutor said.
Kravis noted Credico admitted he has struggled with alcohol addiction, and also brings up his background as a comedian. "He can be a little hard to take seriously. When he was on the stand he talked about Dick Tracy and characters in movies I’ve never even heard about.”
Kravis recapping the Frank Pentangeli scene from the Godfather again to the jury. "Stop me when this starts to sound familiar," he says, describing the film dialogue and what Credico understood the messages from Stone to be all about.
Kravis showing jury Credico emails telling Stone he went back and found emails on when his first outreach to Assange was, surrounding his ask on Stone's behalf for Libya files about his friend Margaret Kuntsler.
Kravis: "No one cares?” A committee of the United States Congress is investigating allegations that a foreign power interfered in our presidential election. Stone has just been told he gave the committee false information. And Stone replies, 'no one cares.'"
"That's not how this works," Kravis says. “Roger Stone does not get to pick and choose" which facts to share with a congressional committee.
Kravis explains Stone can be found guilty just based on proving he endeavored or tried to impede the House investigation. But he says Stone did indeed impede the probe, noting the House never got to see any of the emails or docs that the jury got to see.
That includes all the Stone emails and texts w/ Credico & Corsi, and all his communications with the Trump campaign.
Kravis says HPSCI report "contains inaccuracies." He points to section saying the panel "did not find any evidence contradicting Stone's claim " that everything he had was from publicly available information. "No evidence? Really? How about that Aug. 2 e-mail from Jerome Corsi.”
“The committee report is not accurate.” - That's Jonathan Kravis, who for first time I'm aware is taking issue w/ a section of the House GOP Intelligence Committee report on Russian interference back in 2016.
Kravis is now finished with his closing. Defense goes next, and then Michael Marando will do a rebuttal.
We are in a brief intermission. Back in about 7 mins.
Back for the defense arguments.
"I'm Bruce Rogow and I’ll be doing the closing for Mr. Stone."
Rogow to the jury: "If you hesitate about your conclusions in this matter then you have a reasonable doubt. My job is to create for you the reasons why you should have a reasonable doubt."
Rogow says there was no need for Stone to lie since the campaign was over and Trump had won.
"This is what happens in campaigns. They look for opposition information," Rogow says, noting this happens in elections from city commission to POTUS.
Rogow: "There was no purpose for Mr. Stone to have to lie about anything to protect the campaign when the campaign was doing nothing wrong in being interested in this information. And of course they were interested in WikiLeaks."
Rogow showing jurors the HPSCI statement about the parameters of its Russia probe, emphasizing the Russia part. He says Stone never saw what he was doing as part of Russian interference. "His state of mind is important here."
Rogow makes a point that neither Corsi nor Malloch got called by the government as witnesses. "These two people did not testify. They are not here. That’s all I’m going to say about this point.”
Rogow on the Stone email from 8/3/16 to Manafort about saving Trump's rump: "What does that mean? Why is there something nefarious about that?... There's nothing malignant about that."
Rogow: "Erik prince was not a member of the Trump Camping. Was he a supporter? Yes. But he was not on the campaign. He was not a Bannon. He was not a Gates. He was not one of the two Millers."
Rogow questions why Stone would be protecting Trump when his testimony was a year after he'd been elected president. "Mr. Trump had a lot of other things on his mind by the time Mr. Stone” testified.
Rogow: "What's he going to be protected from by Mr. Stone being candid about contacts with the campaign?"
Rogow now challenging Credico's testimony and how the government used him in the trial. Of Credico's messages to Stone w/ pics from outside the Ecuadorian embassy: "None of that proves anything except that Randy Credico was manipulating Roger Stone."
Rogow references Credico's explainer to the jury that he's a "lefty" and then references his offer to do a Bernie Sanders impression in court. "It's amusing," the Stone lawyer says. "But it's not really amusing in the context of a serious criminal prosecution.”
Asst. US attorney Michael Marando in his rebuttal tells jury Rogow's closing was meant to distract them.
He takes issue with Rogow's descriptions of Credico. "Credico was a manipulator? Randy Credico played Roger Stone? Randy Credico abused his friend? Please. You were all here. You saw Randy Credico. Are you kidding me?"
More from Marando about Credico: "You were presented the full man. Warts and all....Did that look like a mastermind to you who was going to manipulate or somehow control Roger Stone?"
I haven't been keeping count today but the jury just heard another F bomb from the prosecutors. There have been a good many in these last three hours is all I'll say.
Marando with a powerful finish. I've got the whole quote here. Going to break it up a bit.
But before I do that, Judge Jackson tells the jury they'll get instructions tomorrow AM and begin deliberating on Thursday.
Back to Marando, he was referring to Rogow in his own closing saying 'so what' to the charges against Stone. "If that's the state of affairs we’re in I'm pretty shocked. Truth matters. Truth still matters....
Marando: "I know we live in a world nowadays with Twitter, tweets, social media, where you can find any political view you want. You can find your own truth...
Marando: "However, in our institution of self government, courts of law, or committee hearings, where people are under oath and have to testify truth still matters and Mr. Stone came in and he lied to Congress, he obstructed their investigation and he tampered with a witness...
Marando: "And that matters and you don't look at that and say 'so what?' And for those reasons we ask you to find him guilty of the charged offenses." Then he rests.
Here's our @politico story on today's closing arguments. W/ @joshgersteinhttps://twitter.com/dsamuelsohn/status/ ... 6231548931