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WaPo: Stone associate is in plea negotiations

According to the Washington Post, Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi is in plea negotiations with special counsel Robert Mueller's office. Post reporter Josh Dawsey speaks by phone with CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson.

Posted: Nov 25, 2018 12:04 PM
Updated: Nov 25, 2018 12:28 PM

Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi said Friday he is in plea negotiations with special counsel Robert Mueller's office.

Corsi, confirming an earlier Washington Post report, declined to comment further. Last week, he said publicly he expected to be indicted by Mueller for "giving false information to the special counsel or to one of the other grand jury."

Corsi's role in the investigation largely revolves around the possibility that he was an intermediary between Stone -- a longtime Trump ally and confidante -- and WikiLeaks. He has been involved in Mueller's investigation for roughly two months and has participated in multiple interviews with investigators, handed over documents and provided testimony before the grand jury.

Corsi could face any number of charges -- spanning from perjury to making false claims to obstruction of justice. The potential charges could be related to false statements he made about his relationship with WikiLeaks and Stone.

During the 2016 campaign, Stone publicly bragged about having "backchannel communications" with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and on several occasions appeared to predict the WikiLeaks releases that roiled the race in the final stretch of the campaign. But in the two years since President Donald Trump's victory, Stone has walked back those claims and said his "backchannel" was merely New York radio host Randy Credico sharing information about his interviews with Assange. Credico denies serving as an intermediary between the two.

Investigators have been skeptical of Stone's explanation. CNN has reported that Mueller's team is examining the possibility that Stone had another intermediary beyond Credico, and that Corsi might have been involved.

Corsi injected himself into Stone's situation last year when he claimed that one of his own articles for InfoWars inspired Stone to predict in October 2016 that there would be trouble coming for Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Not long after that, WikiLeaks started releasing thousands of Podesta's hacked emails.

Stone denies that he ever told Trump about WikiLeaks' dumps before they became public. He also denies colluding with Russia. Both Stone and his lawyer, Grant Smith, told CNN last week that Stone has not been contacted by Mueller's team.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Smith said Corsi has "has been under a tremendous amount of pressure" and said Corsi never shared with him any knowledge that Podesta's emails were stolen and planning to be published.

"He has stated publicly that he is being asked over and over to say things he simply does not believe occurred," Smith said. "I am not aware of any plea talks involving Dr. Corsi, he is an investigative journalist whose activities I would think would largely be covered under the first amendment. He is relentless in his research, and his network of sources is very wide."

In an interview Friday on radio station WBEN with former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo Stone said he wasn't aware of any efforts by Corsi to strike a plea agreement and said he didn't think Corsi would lie.

"I feel badly for Jerry Corsi. He looks like he has been squeezed, but as far as I know, he refuses to lie," Stone said.

But in the same interview, Stone appeared to question Corsi's credibility.

"He doesn't believe the moon landing happened, for example -- he thinks it was staged," Stone said.

If Corsi were to cut a plea deal with Mueller and agree to cooperate with the ongoing Russia investigation, he would be the 33rd individual defendant charged by Mueller's team.

A new case against Corsi would likely make clear that Mueller's unit, which has already charged 12 Russian military intelligence specialists with hacking the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, continues to bear down on investigating the alleged hackers' contacts before the election.

Corsi would join a growing list of Republican political operatives and Trump advisers who face criminal charges and have been helping Mueller's investigators. Those people, who continue to share information in several investigations, according to the Justice Department, are former Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen and lobbyist Sam Patten.

The magnitude of the information the cooperators have provided is not yet known, and each has gone almost completely silent in recent months.

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