By Brooke Singman, Jake Gibson
Published January 29, 2019
Former Trump political adviser Roger Stone on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress after being indicted last week as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Stone appeared in federal court for the District of Columbia before Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson. He entered a not guilty plea through his attorney Robert Buschel. A status hearing was scheduled for Feb. 1.
Robinson on Tuesday ordered Stone not to travel anywhere other than Washington, the Eastern District of New York, and the Southern District of Florida while the case is pending. Robinson also said Stone is not permitted to have a passport in his possession or apply for any new passport. Stone was also ordered to return to court "whenever required."
Stone, 66, was taken into custody last Friday after being indicted by a federal grand jury a day earlier as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 presidential election. More than a dozen FBI agents arrived in tactical gear outside of Stone’s home early Friday morning.
The 24-page indictment released last Friday alleges that Stone worked to obstruct the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election by making false statements to the committee, denying he had records sought by the committee and persuading a witness to provide false testimony.
The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction, and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks.
Stone’s arrest drew scrutiny on social media—even from President Trump, who said “Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better.”
“At the crack of dawn, 29 FBI agents arrived at my home with 17 vehicles, with lights flashing, when they could have contacted my lawyer,” Stone explained after a court appearance on the day of his arrest. “But the FBI agents were extraordinarily courteous.”
Stone’s attorney added that his client’s arrest was a “spectacle.”
But one senior federal law enforcement source told Fox News that the operation was “standard” for a home arrest. The source told Fox News that home arrests typically take place early in the morning with a team of FBI agents in protective gear, adding that Stone’s situation was “nothing out of the ordinary.”
Stone served as an adviser to Trump for years before Trump ran for president. He left Trump’s campaign in August 2015, but maintained regular contact with and publicly supported the Trump campaign throughout the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller’s investigation, which was initially ordered to look into the 2016 election, has gone on for more than a year and half. It has expanded to probe financial crimes of Trump associates before the election, conversations Trump’s national security adviser had with the Russians during the transition and whether Trump obstructed justice with his comments and actions related to the probe.
Twenty-six Russian nationals and three Russian companies have been charged with interfering in the 2016 presidential election. But none of the Trump associates connected to Trump have been charged with crimes related to collusion.
Other convictions include former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who both pleaded guilty to making false statements in 2017. Former campaign adviser Rick Gates in 2018 pleaded guilty and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted and later pleaded guilty in a separate financial crimes case dating back before the 2016 election.
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements in a case brought by Mueller in November. Alex van der Zwaan, a London-based lawyer, pleaded guilty to making false statements this year, and Richard Pinedo, a California man, pleaded guilty to identity fraud in 2018.
Fox News' Alex Pappas contributed to this report.