NEW YORK, Jan 25 (APP):A US judge Friday set a $250,000 bond for Roger Stone, a longtime Republic political operative with close ties to President Donald Trump, during an appearance at a federal courthouse in Fort Lauderale, Florida, according to news media reports.
Stone, 66, was arrested today on charges of lying to Congress about the release of stolen Democratic Party emails during the 2016 campaign, prompting Trump to lash out again about a “Witch Hunt” against him.Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow told Stone he could not travel outside of South Florida, Washington, D.C. and New York City. Stone was also told he could not have any contact with any witnesses, the reports said.
Stone did not enter a plea, according to one report.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller said in court papers that Stone had advance knowledge of a plan by WikiLeaks to release the emails, which analysts say may have contributed to Trump’s stunning defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Stone is one of the closest Trump associates to be charged by Mueller, who is examining potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. He was arrested by the FBI in a predawn raid at his Florida home.
“Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION!,” Trump said on Twitter, using his most common language for the Mueller probe.
Russia has denied interfering with the 2016 election.
Stone was an early Trump backer whose reputation as an aggressive political operative and self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” dates back to the Watergate scandal of the 1970s when he was working for former President Richard Nixon.
Stone was charged with seven criminal counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, witness tampering and making false statements.
His lawyer, Grant Smith, said that Stone would “vigorously” contest the charges.
“There was no collusion,” Smith said. “He forgot to tell something to Congress and what it was immaterial.”
Thirty-five people have pleaded guilty, been indicted or otherwise swept up in the Russia inquiry. Those people include former close associates of Trump such as his one-time lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as well as 12 Russian intelligence officers.
White House, press secretary Sarah Sanders said the Stone indictment was unrelated to the president.
“The charges brought against Mr. Stone have nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do with the White House,” she told CNN. “The president did nothing wrong.”