Roger Stone, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, met briefly Friday with the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot and asserted his Fifth Amendment rights to every question asked, he said.
Stone emerged from the deposition after only an hour-and-a-half and told reporters he invoked the Fifth Amendment, which offers protection against self-incrimination, “not because I have done anything wrong, but because I am fully aware of the House Democrats’ long history of fabricating perjury charges.”
“I question the legitimacy of this inquiry,” Stone said, “based on the fact that Speaker Pelosi rejected the appointment of Republicans to this committee and seated two anti-Trump Republicans. This is witch hunt 3.0.”
“I stress yet again that I was not on the ellipse. I did not march to the Capitol. I was not at the Capitol and any claim, assertion or even implication that I knew about or was involved in any way whatsoever with the illegal and politically counter-productive activities of January 6, is categorically false,” he added.
Stone said that he is disturbed by investigations into his activity on January 5, telling reporters Friday that it was constitutionally protected free speech and the right to free assembly.
The long-time Republican operative used the hours before his deposition to raise money for his legal defense fund on his social media accounts and to insist he hasn’t done anything wrong.
Two other high-profile witnesses also have indicated they would plead the Fifth: John Eastman, the lawyer who helped craft a questionable legal theory that former Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to interrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results, and Jeffrey Clark, a former top Justice Department official during the Trump administration.
Stone not only promoted his appearance at a January 6 “Stop the Steal” event but solicited donations for it and stated his purpose at the rally was to “lead a march to the Capitol,” according to the panel’s subpoena letter to him.
The committee added that, according to media reports, Stone used members of the Oath Keepers as personal security guards, several of whom stormed the Capitol and at least one who has been indicted, while he was in Washington.
Following the last major House inquiry into election integrity, after the 2016 election, Stone was convicted in federal court of obstructing Congress by lying about his efforts to contact WikiLeaks on behalf of the Trump campaign.
At his criminal trial, which occurred before the end of the Trump administration, the Justice Department successfully argued Stone lied to Congress to protect Trump. Trump later pardoned him.
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