Roger Stone: I’ll beat suit even if the jury thinks I’m a devil

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Karen Matthews

Re­pub­li­can NEW YORK — strate­gist Roger Stone said Thurs­day that ju­rors may think he’s “the devil” but he still ex­pects to beat a defama­tion law­suit ac­cus­ing him of cir­cu­lat­ing a mailer call­ing a po­lit­i­cal can­di­date a sex­ual predator.

The civil trial in New York was set to start Thurs­day but was post­poned un­til at least Au­gust.

Stone, a long­time Don­ald Trump ad­viser who cut his teeth in pol­i­tics play­ing tricks on op­po­nents of Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon, said he looks for­ward to tes­ti­fy­ing — and he also hopes to tes­tify be­fore con­gres­sional com­mit­tees in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­leged Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

He said he wants to tes­tify be­fore the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee be­cause rank­ing Demo­crat Adam Schiff of Cal­i­for­nia “ma­ligned” him by ac­cus­ing him of pre­dict­ing the hack­ing of Hil­lary Clin­ton cam­paign man­ager John Podesta’s email ac­count.

“He slimed me in pub­lic, and I’d like to have an op­por­tu­nity to de­fend my­self in pub­lic,” Stone said.

The defama­tion suit ac­cuses Stone and two oth­ers of send­ing a flyer to 150,000 New York house­holds dur­ing the state’s 2010 elec­tion that called the Lib­er­tar­ian Party can­di­date for gover­nor, War­ren Redlich, a “sick twisted pervert.”

Stone pre­dicted Thurs­day that he would pre­vail in the end be­cause Redlich has “pre­sented no ev­i­dence but a wild con­spir­acy the­ory.” He ac­knowl­edged, how­ever, that a jury drawn from heav­ily Demo­cratic Man­hat­tan could present a chal­lenge.

“We would ob­vi­ously at­tempt to get a bal­anced jury but it’s Man­hat­tan,” he said. “The pool is 80 per­cent Demo­cratic. And I rec­og­nize that to some Democrats I’m the devil. That’s just the way it goes.”

Stone did not ap­pear Wed­nes­day when the trial was ini­tially sched­uled to start. His lawyer, Ben­jamin Burge, told the judge Stone was busy com­ply­ing with a no­tice from the U.S. Se­nate in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee ask­ing him to pre­serve any doc­u­ments that might be re­lated to its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

When both sides ap­peared Thurs­day, the judge post­poned the trial to give lawyers more time to go over ex­hibits and pre­pare their cases.

Stone has said he com­mu­ni­cated with Guc­cifer 2.0, the shad­owy hacker cred­ited with break­ing into the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee’s email servers. But he has de­nied that he worked with Rus­sian of­fi­cials to in­flu­ence the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

He said Thurs­day that com­ply­ing with the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee’s no­tice is time-con­sum­ing be­cause he has “mul­ti­ple email ad­dresses and boxes” but he wants to co­op­er­ate with both the Se­nate and House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tees.

Redlich’s law­suit claims that Stone and his accomplices were re­spon­si­ble for the defam­a­tory flyer. The mail­ing, which in­cluded Redlich’s photo and the header “Sex­ual Predator Alert,” said: “This man con­sti­tutes a pub­lic dan­ger.” And it warned: “If you see this man in your neigh­bor­hood, CALL THE PO­LICE!”

It pur­ported to come from an or­ga­ni­za­tion called Peo­ple for a Safer New York.

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