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Trump Associate Stone Pleads Not Guilty To Charges Connected To Russia Probe


Roger Stone arrives for his arraignment at U.S. District Court in Washington on January 29.

Roger Stone, a longtime ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, has pleaded not guilty to seven criminal counts connected to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Stone, 66, flashed a victory sign with his hands as he left a federal court in Washington on January 29 after making the not-guilty plea to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of making false statements, and one count of witness tampering.

He did not address reporters outside the courthouse.

If found guilty of all seven charges, he could face about 50 years in prison.

Stone, who served as an informal adviser to the Trump presidential campaign and is free on $250,000 bond, has insisted he has been "falsely accused" of lying to the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee and has asserted that any incorrect statements were not intentional.

The indictment, which had been expected, does not accuse Stone of coordinating with the Russian government's election interference in 2016, the key matter under investigation in the Mueller probe.

But it details Stone's discussions about stolen Democratic Party e-mails posted by WikiLeaks in the weeks before Trump beat Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

The indictment alleges that top members of the Trump campaign were in contact with Stone and sought information on when damaging e-mails related to Clinton would be made public. It did not disclose the names of the "senior" campaign officials.

Mueller's office has said those e-mails, belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, were hacked by Russian intelligence officers.

Trump denied any collusion or coordination by himself or his campaign team with Russians during the campaign after U.S. intelligence officials concluded that Moscow interfered in the election to benefit Trump and hurt Clinton's chances.

With reporting by Reuters and AP
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