On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
52°
Mostly Cloudy
H 54° L 49°
  • cloudy-day
    52°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 54° L 49°
  • cloudy-day
    50°
    Morning
    Mostly Cloudy. H 54° L 49°
  • cloudy-day
    60°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 64° L 50°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Former Rep. Brown, One Door accounts struggled in between deposits
Close

Former Rep. Brown, One Door accounts struggled in between deposits

Former Rep. Brown, One Door accounts struggled in between deposits
Photo Credit: News | WFTV

Former Rep. Brown, One Door accounts struggled in between deposits

If not for cash transfers- which in part included money from an alleged “sham” charity- now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown would have been financially in the red.

And the account of the “charity” she’s accused of taking money from was not on solid footing either.

FBI Forensic Accountant Kimberly Henderson walked month-by-month through Brown’s income and expenditures, in testimony during Brown’s federal fraud trial. She considered Brown’s salary from the House of Representatives, her pension from the State of Florida, and any other non-cash deposits across Brown’s accounts, and compared that to the amount of money that was going out, dating back to 2009. Many of the months showed Brown’s spending outpaced her income- often by thousands of dollars, and on one occasion as much as around $9700.

FULL COVERAGE: Federal fraud trial of now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown

Not all of the months that were studied correspond to a time when Brown is believed to have been getting money from One Door For Education, but prosecutors are working to continually boost their take on a long-term motive- which is that Brown was living outside of her means, and needed to supplement her income to cover that.

Brown and two others are accused of soliciting more than $800,000 in donations to One Door, and using the money for their personal expenses instead. Cash deposits to Brown stopped in January 2016, which is when Henderson says the FBI went “public” with the case, meaning they started interviewing people- including Carla Wiley and Ronnie Simmons.

Henderson says they tried to screen out cash deposits that were considered “normal”- for example, Brown’s brother would occasionally pay her back for a mortgage they were splitting that was drawing off Brown’s account. Henderson also looked for any cash deposits that were in close proximity and amount to cash withdraws, which could potentially show Brown had taken money from an ATM and was putting back the balance she didn’t use.

The intent was to leave the cash to reflect money that was ultimately funneled from One Door For Education, donors to the group, or other organizations that made checks to cash, and then allegedly gave the money to Brown, as Brown continued to live outside of her means. Some of the organizations that were studied include her campaign account, her legal fund, and an affiliated PAC.

A few of the transactions which prosecutors haven’t focused on until now include a Jacksonville non-profit, the Community Rehabilitation Center. Now-Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney is the Executive Director of the CRC, and Stanley Twiggs was at one point a senior official as well. Brown’s tax returns show claims of frequent donations of money and goods to the CRC, but a file found with one of Brown’s staffers also shows that she was in possession of multiple versions of a donor letter from the organization, including one that was unsigned, and one that didn’t have an amount filled in. Henderson says she found no record in Brown’s accounts of any donation to the CRC.

Henderson says, in 2011, Twiggs formed a for-profit corporation called Community Rehabilitation Center Transportation Inc.. Later on, Twiggs filed articles of incorporation for LaPool Training & Education LLC. In 2010, Gaffney also formed the for-profit company Northwest Services Inc.

In July 2010, bank records show LaPool got $6,000 from the CRC. Henderson says Twiggs then withdrew $5,100 cash, and the same day as that withdrawal, $4,900 was deposited in to the bank account of Brown. The next month, Lapool got $3,000 from Northwest Support Services. Henderson says a countercheck was written for the same amount the next day, and then $1,700 in cash was deposited in to Brown’s account. Another instance in October 2011 shows CRC Transportation making a $4,000 check to “cash”- with Gaffney’s signature- and then $4,000 in cash being deposited in to Brown’s account about 20 minutes later. Henderson says there are even more examples that show a similar pattern. This all pre-dated One Door’s existence relating to this case.

Specifically with these transactions, Henderson says she found no evidence that Simmons was involved. Simmons is the man Brown’s defense is putting the blame on- saying he took advantage of Brown as she became more reliant on him.

For some of the expenses, Henderson also had surveillance showing Brown was hands on with cash deposits. There were also deposit slips that were reportedly signed by Brown. Brown’s attorney, James Smith III, asked Henderson how she knew that it was Brown’s signature. Henderson said she went by what the records were showing, but confirmed she is not a handwriting expert.

When Smith further pressed what information Henderson had when putting together the charts and examples, she said she was records driven. She looked at the financial and bank records for a range of people and organizations, but confirmed she did not do any of the interviews with the parties involved, saying instead that was up to the agents and investigators. Because of that, she had no knowledge of whether Simmons had a card for Brown’s account or whether he potentially admitted to taking money from Brown, all in connection to some of the ATM withdrawals off Brown’s account.

When it comes to One Door’s account specifically, Henderson says she noticed some definite patterns.

A chart she assembled reflects the balance on the One Door account at the end of every day. Each year, there would be a big uptick in September- which corresponds to when Brown would host a reception at the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference. Prosecutors say money that was donated to One Door was used to put on these events. As an example, in early September 2013, the balance on the One Door account was just over $7,000. That peaked around $35,000, before dropping back down below $4,000 at the end of the month. For the rest of that year, the account was under $10,000- sometimes only a few hundred dollars, and sometimes negative.

At no point did Henderson find any record of Brown directly contributing to One Door. She also says there was no record of One Door spending on computers for children, despite apparently having solicited donors for a computer drive.

One Door donors unwittingly supplementing these events, freeing up money to go to Brown, though, according to Henderson’s analysis. In addition to some of the transactions previously vetted in testimony about checks being funneled through the business of a Brown staffer and ultimately deposited with Brown or her daughter, Henderson showed a few other transactions that came at times when the accounts of One Door and Brown were either low, or negative.

One such transaction was January 2014, when John Picerne wrote a $10,000 check to One Door- which was a couple of hundred dollars in the red. The check was deposited within a few days, and a few days after that, there was an $800 ATM withdrawal from the account and $800 deposit in to Brown’s account- which was under $1000. Wiley then also spent the next few days transferring or withdrawing thousands of dollars to cover her own expenses.

There were two examples where Henderson says she found essentially a double-draw for an event. One instance connected to a Beyonce concert in July 2013. The catering estimate for that event was $3,055.16, but a receipt for the event showed the actual total came out to $3,582.62. The One Door debit card was used to cover the actual bill, but Henderson also traced a One Door check for the initial estimated amount- which had been written with no date or “pay to” initially- through various steps and ultimately cashed in to Brown’s account.

Another $4900 bill for the entertainment for a reception hosted by Brown was covered by Picerne Development directly, although Henderson says she also found a One Door check to Simmons for the same amount, which was then shuffled between Simmons and Brown.

WOKV is inside of the federal courthouse as testimony continues. Follow our reporter Stephanie Brown on Twitter for developing information.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • A 15-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy died Thursday morning after a classmate opened fire on students at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, injuring three other students before he attempted to take his own life, sheriff's deputies said. >> Read more trending news  Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies responded to reports of the shooting just after 7:30 a.m. local time. Authorities found six people suffering gunshot wounds in the school's quad. Deputies said the injured included the suspected shooter. The shooter later died Friday afternoon at a hospital with his mother present, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Update 12:21 p.m. EST Nov. 16: Police continue to investigate what Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow's motive might have been when the 16-year-old opened fire at a Los Angeles-area high school Thursday, shooting five students, KTLA reported. Berhow, who turned 16 Thursday, died at 3:30 p.m. Friday of a self-inflicted wound, the television station reported. Berhow did not appear to be linked to a terrorist group and had shown no previous signs of violence, authorities said at a news conference. Capt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said more than 40 interviews had been conducted and Berhow's home was searched, The Associated Press reported. “We did not find any manifesto, any diary that spelled it out, any suicide note or any writings,” Wegener said. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told The Washington Post that the gunman appeared to be taking random shots at Saugus High School but appeared “very familiar with firing the weapon” and did not commit a “spur-of-the-moment act.' Update 7:50 p.m. EST Nov. 15: Police say 16-year-old boy who shot five students at his Los Angeles-area high school has died. People who knew the boy described him as a quiet, smart kid who they’d never expect to turn violent. Update 7:30 p.m. EST Nov. 15: Authorities have identified the second student killed in a shooting by a fellow student at a Southern California high school. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office says 14-year-old Dominic Blackwell died Thursday along with 15-year-old Gracie Muehlberger. Two teenage girls remain hospitalized but are expected to be released over the weekend. A third student was treated and released. Update 3:20 p.m. EST Nov. 15: Los Angeles County coroner's officials on Friday identified one of the two teenagers slain Thursday after a student opened fire on classmates at Saugus High School as Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15, according to The Los Angeles Times. The newspaper reported she celebrated her 15th birthday on Oct. 10. A 14-year-old boy killed in the shooting was not immediately identified, according to KCBS-TV. Update 6:37 a.m. EST Nov. 15: The suspect has been identified by two separate law enforcement sources as Nathaniel Berhow, CNN and the Los Angeles Times reported. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has not confirmed his identity due to his age, CNN reported. Neighbors described Berhow as a good student and typical teenager who was affected by the death of his father in 2017, CNN reported. Neighbors said Berhow found his father dead after had a heart attack, KTTV reported. His mother and father had divorced in 2016, CNN reported. There is no motive for the attack, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office.  Members of the community gathered near the campus Thursday night to remember the victims, KNBC reported. The Associated Press reported the gunman shot whoever was near him and that there was no known connection to the victims. Update 3:10 p.m. EST Nov. 14: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Capt. Kent Wegener identified the gunman as a 16-year-old student who opened fire on his classmates on his birthday. Wegener said video from the scene showed the teenager, who was not identified by name, taking a gun out of his backpack in the quad at Saugus High School on Thursday morning. He shot five of his classmates before turning the gun on himself. Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters Thursday that the suspect shot himself in the head. He was among six people transported to the hospital after the shooting. Two students died in Thursday's shooting, a girl and a boy. Authorities did not identify the victims by name. Update 2:30 p.m. EST Nov. 14: Authorities in Los Angeles County are holding a news conference Thursday to update the public on Thursday morning's deadly shooting at Saugus High School. Update 1:05 p.m EST Nov. 14: Officials with Henry Mayo Hospital confirmed a female died after being taken to the hospital following a shooting at Saugus High School. It was not immediately clear whether the victim was a student. Hospital officials said three other male victims were taken to the hospital with injuries after shooting. Two of the victims were listed in critical condition while the third was listed in good condition. Update 12:50 p.m. EST Nov. 14: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said a suspect was in custody after Thursday morning's shooting at Saugus High School. Authorities were expected to provide more details at a news conference scheduled Thursday morning. Update 12:35 p.m. EST Nov. 14: Officials at Henry Mayo Hospital confirmed they had received four patients after a gunman opened fire Thursday at Saugus High School. Hospital officials said the victims included three males and one female. All the victims, aside from one male in good condition, were listed in critical condition in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Update 12:30 p.m. EST Nov. 14: Parent Brian Skiba told KCBS-TV that his daughter ran into a classroom when she heard shots fired Thursday morning at Saugus High School. 'She heard the shots ... she in the quad, where it started, and ran into the band room,' Skiba told the news station. '(She) locked the door behind her and told everybody to get down.' Skiba told KCBS-TV a police officer was in the band room with about 50 students Thursday. 'I'm still pretty shook up,' Skiba said. Update 12:10 p.m. EST Nov. 14: Sheriff's deputies told KNBC-TV that they were surrounding two locations Thursday morning in Santa Clarita, including a home believed to be the suspect's residence. KTLA reported authorities believe the gunman was a student at Saugus High School. Officials asked residents in the area to stay inside and keep their doors locked as they continued to investigate Thursday. Update 12 p.m. EST Nov. 14: White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said President Donald Trump was monitoring reports of Thursday morning's shooting in Santa Clarita. 'The White House encourages all those in the area to follow the advice of local law enforcement and first responders,' Deere said. Update 11:50 a.m. EST Nov. 14: Officials with Henry Mayo Hospital in Valencia said two people were taken to the hospital in critical condition after Thursday morning's shooting at Saugus High School. Hospital officials said three other victims were en route to the hospital Thursday morning. Their conditions were not immediately known. Update 11:45 a.m. EST Nov. 14: Deputies asked residents in the area of Saugus High School to lock their doors and shelter in place as they continue to search for a shooter who opened fire Thursday morning at the school. Update 11:30 a.m. EST Nov. 14: Authorities revised down the number of people injured in Thursday morning's shooting from seven to three, according to KNBC-TV. Sheriff's deputies warned the incident was active and ongoing Thursday morning. Original report: Deputies said nearby schools were placed under lockdown as authorities investigated. Officials with the Los Angeles County Fire Department told KNBC that at least seven people were shot. Their conditions were not immediately known. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • A Philadelphia 14-year-old has been charged with murder in the death of a well-known animal rescuer who was found tied to his bed, naked, and bludgeoned to death last week. The girl is also charged with robbery, possession of an instrument of crime, obstruction and tampering with evidence in the killing of Albert 'Al' Chernoff, according to Philadelphia court records. Her name is being withheld due to her age and the uncertainty of her status as a defendant. Jane Roh, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, told CNN on Monday that prosecutors had not yet decided whether the girl would be tried as an adult. CBS Philadelphia reported last week that investigators were also looking into whether the girl was a victim of a crime. Her connection to Chernoff and her reason for being at his home were not clear, but the CBS affiliate reported the day after Chernoff was found dead that detectives believed he may have been the victim of an escort who tied him up, robbed him and killed him. Court records show the teen is being held without bail at the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center. >> Read more trending news  Chernoff, who went by the nickname 'Alley Cat,' was found dead around 3 a.m. Nov. 5 in his home in the Rhawnhurst neighborhood of northeast Philadelphia, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was suffering from a massive head injury and multiple slashes to his chest, the newspaper reported. The 59-year-old previously appeared on the NatGeoTV reality show 'Rescue Ink,' which profiled tattooed bikers working against animal abuse. Police were called to Chernoff's home by a concerned neighbor who requested a welfare check, the newspaper said. Chernoff, who authorities believe was attacked around 10:30 p.m. Nov. 4, was pronounced dead at the scene. Tony Branconi, Chernoff's neighbor in the duplex where he lived and died, told the Daily Mail he called police because he 'heard a racket.' 'I have heard such noises before, but this was in the middle of the night,' Branconi, 70, told the publication. 'It was like he was building something.' He said he went outside and saw Chernoff's car parked in an unusual spot on the driveway. When he looked inside, he saw the vehicle had been ransacked. ‘A very brutal murder' Acting Philadelphia Police Commissioner Christine Coulter said last week that the case is an 'extremely troubling' one. 'It was a very brutal murder,' Coulter said, according to video shot by Fox29 in Philadelphia. Sources told ABC6 that Chernoff was killed with a nail-studded two-by-four, though Coulter declined to identify the weapon used in the crime. 'We're not going to release details about the crime scene itself until we have the evidence that we need,' she said. The commissioner said it was hard to grasp anyone committing such a grisly crime, but that it was even harder to imagine a child being involved. 'But then you have to look to why did this happen, and, you know, that's what the investigators are going to attempt to find out,' Coulter said. Philadelphia detectives trying to identify Chernoff's killer released surveillance footage Nov. 6 from inside the Army veteran's house. The footage showed the suspect, wearing red sweatpants, a black jacket and a pink top, walking through the living room of the home and into the kitchen, where she washed her hands and looked in the fridge and freezer before leaving. Some of Chernoff's 11 cats can be seen in the footage as his suspected killer walks though his living room. Listen to Coulter speak about the crime and see footage from inside Chernoff's home below. Witnesses also reported seeing a young woman leaving Chernoff's house shortly before his body was found, the Inquirer reported. The 14-year-old girl, accompanied by her mother and two defense attorneys, turned herself in to police Nov. 8 after family members saw the footage, CNN reported. Coulter told Fox29 that the girl's family brought her in 'because she was clearly the person on the video.' Once the girl was in custody, police officials removed the footage from their website. On Twitter, at least one person wondered if the footage was removed because the girl was a possible sex trafficking victim. 'Everybody talking about how good of a man Al Chernoff was,' another man tweeted. 'I just want to know why a 14-year-old alleged prostitute was in his home. I'm sorry, but if he was having sex with her, he got exactly what he deserved.' Howard Taylor, one of the girl's lawyers, told CNN the situation was a sad one. 'Troubled girl. There's a reason police aren't saying much,' Taylor told the network. 'There's a lot more to it.' When a reporter asked if the girl was a victim of some kind, Taylor said he 'wouldn't put it to that extent.' He said Chernoff 'wasn't totally innocent, either,' CNN reported. Coulter described Chernoff as a 'guy who went to work every day, well liked by his neighbors and co-workers.' She said Chernoff, who was a building maintenance supervisor at the Philadelphia International Airport, did not appear to have a criminal record. ‘A fierce and tireless advocate' Animal welfare activists in Philadelphia were stunned by Chernoff's death. 'If you help animals in Philadelphia, you've met Al,' Blake Martin of Philadelphia's Animal Care and Control Team told ABC6. 'He is a wild veteran who loves motorcycles and will talk your ear off about his motorcycles and cats.' Chernoff, who was known for building shelters for feral strays in the city, also founded a one-man rescue group, Alley Cat Animal Rescue. 'His generosity was incredible,' Martin said. 'You don't see a lot of that anymore, especially towards the animal community. 'It's been a tough day.' The Facebook page of 'The Cat Rescuers,' a documentary about cat rescue in New York City, described Chernoff as 'one of many amazing rescuers' filmmakers met during filming. The crew met Chernoff during a workshop on 'trap-neuter-return,' a method of managing the stray and feral cat population that Chernoff was known to use. 'He wasn't one of the main four we were following, but we were so taken by his warmth and affability when we encountered him at a (trap-neuter-return) workshop that we just knew we had to put him in our film,' the post read. A brief clip from the documentary shows Chernoff showing off his many cat tattoos. He tells the camera that he had a cat as a child. 'I just was always into cats,' Chernoff says. 'Cats and Harleys and tattoos. That's what I'm into.' Chernoff's Facebook page is filled with photos of his cats, 11 of them, along with photos of his building projects. Motorcycles and military memorabilia are also heavily featured on his page. Last month, he posted a wedding photo of his parents, along with his Army basic training photo, writing that he had just stumbled upon the pictures. Chernoff was not married and had no immediate family left, according to Philadelphia's Jewish Exponent. 'We tried the best we could to keep him family-oriented because he had no parents, he had no siblings and he had no children,' Chernoff's cousin, Beverly Levin, told the Exponent. 'He was with us for Rosh Hashanah just last month. We kept him as close as we could because he was alone in the world.' Since his death, friends in the animal rescue community and beyond have mourned Chernoff on social media. They have also contributed more than $18,000 to a GoFundMe page set up by Levin's son, David Levin, to pay for Chernoff's funeral and provide for more cats to be rescued. 'Al's kids were his cats,' David Levin wrote on the fundraising page. A private donor, along with Chernoff's veteran benefits, have taken care of the cost of his funeral and memorial service, which is scheduled for Nov. 24 in Southampton. All the funds raised by the GoFundMe campaign will be distributed to multiple animal rescues, David Levin wrote in an update. Chernoff's 11 cats, along with three turtles and two frogs, were rescued from his home following his death. Friend and fellow rescuer Gwen Cooper wrote that she was “shocked and saddened beyond the telling of it” to learn of Chernoff’s death. 'Al was a fierce and tireless advocate for rescue cats -- one of the staunchest protectors of cats I've ever known -- and I was honored and privileged to count him among my personal friends in rescue for many years,' Cooper wrote. 'My heart goes out to the people and felines who knew and loved him best.' She said she was certain the 'veritable army of cats' he saved over the years were there to greet him on the 'rainbow bridge' when he died. Chernoff was also active in the Jewish war veterans' community, the Exponent reported. 'He went out of his way many a time for people who suffered what used to be called shell shock and what is now called PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder),' M.B. Kanis, commander of the Jewish War Veterans Drizin-Weiss Post 215, told the publication. 'He recognized PTSD and knew that people with service animals could become more calm and relaxed and more focused. In the Philadelphia area, I know of at least three service veterans who he helped hands-on (with service animals).' Emily Petry, who described Chernoff as the 'best cat daddy ever,' said he was one of the kindest people she'd ever known. 'Nobody who ever knew you would have ever done you any harm,' Petry wrote. Ashley Foresta, a fellow animal rescuer in Philadelphia, told the Daily Mail she could not imagine why the 14-year-old suspect was in Chernoff's house. Foresta speculated that perhaps Chernoff had hired the girl to clean his home, but Branconi told the Mail he had never seen the girl at the duplex before. 'I just can't imagine for one minute that Al was the type of person who would have had an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old girl -- but at the same time I can't think of anyone ever having a reason to kill him,' Foresta said. 'To be honest, maybe part of me doesn't want to know the whole truth,' she said. Chernoff's family and friends weren't the only ones puzzled by his slaying. Coulter said last week that detectives were still piecing together what happened and why. 'Who it is, is identified, but the why and the rationale behind it is what the investigators are now working on,' Coulter told reporters. 'These things take time to get right. 'I know that everybody would like to have everything answered, and so would we, but we want to make sure that we do it in a way that the judicial process plays out fairly and everybody involved gets justice.
  • Police said a 9-year-old boy brought a BB gun to an elementary school in California on Thursday and shot three of his classmates, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news  The victims were not seriously injured and required no medical attention, Pasadena police spokesman Lt. Bill Grisafe told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Authorities responded around 8:45 a.m. to a report of the shooting at Washington Elementary STEM Magnet School, KNBC-TV reported. Pasadena police Lt. Kim Smith told KTLA the boy was never arrested but the case was sent to the district attorney's office for consideration. In a statement obtained by KTLA, officials with the Pasadena Unified School District said they were cooperating with police and 'implementing an enhanced awareness of safety by both students and staff.' The incident happened Thursday, shortly before authorities responded to a deadly shooting about 40 miles to the northwest at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita.
  • A jury found Roger Stone guilty Friday of obstruction, giving false statements to Congress and tampering with witnesses in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. >> Read more trending news  The verdict came on the second day of jury deliberations. Stone had denied any wrongdoing and framed the charges as politically motivated. Update 12:20 p.m. EST Nov. 15: Jurors found Stone guilty Friday of all seven counts against him, including one charge of obstruction, one charge of witness tampering and five charges of making false statements connected to his pursuit stolen emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman set a February 6 sentencing date for Stone, Fox News reported. Until then, Berman allowed Stone to be released on his own recognizance. Stone, who did not take the stand during his trial, is the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The president slammed the jury's verdict Friday, questioning in a tweet whether Stone fell victim to 'a double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country.' Original report: Jury deliberations in the case against Roger Stone, a political consultant and confidant of President Donald Trump, extended into a second day Friday after jurors failed to reach a verdict on whether he lied to Congress about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election. Jurors asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson two questions Thursday during their six hours of deliberations, Reuters reported. The questions were about what was considered testimony in the case and a request for a clarification of the charges, according to the Courthouse News Service. Authorities arrested Stone in January on charges brought by then-special counsel Robert Mueller, who headed the Justice Department's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Stone was charged with obstruction, giving false statements and witness tampering. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis said Stone lied to protect the Trump campaign from embarrassment and scrutiny in its quest for emails hacked by Russian officials and disseminated by WikiLeaks, according to The Washington Post. Attorneys for Stone claimed he never intentionally deceived Congress and that he was simply wrong in his testimony after committee members unexpectedly peppered him with WikiLeaks-related questions. 'There was nothing illegal about the campaign being interested in information that WikiLeaks was going to be putting out,' defense attorney Bruce S. Rogow said, according to the Post. 'This is what happens in a campaign. … It happens in every campaign.' In testimony, several witnesses highlighted how Trump campaign associates were eager to gather information about the more than 19,000 emails the U.S. says were hacked by Russia and then provided to WikiLeaks. Former campaign CEO Steve Bannon reluctantly testified last week and told jurors Trump's campaign saw Stone as an 'access point' to WikiLeaks. He said Stone boasted about his ties to the anti-secrecy group and its founder, Julian Assange. Bannon said campaign officials tried to use Stone to get advanced word about hacked emails damaging to Trump's rival in the 2016 presidential election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Rick Gates, who served as a campaign aide for Trump, told jurors Stone asked him in June 2016 for the contact information of Trump's son-in-law and then-senior campaign adviser, Jared Kushner. Stone wanted to 'debrief' him on developments about the hacked emails, Gates said. Stone has proclaimed his innocence and accused Mueller's team of targeting him because of his politics. He could face up to 20 years in prison if he's convicted. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Roger Stone was one of the key figures of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian election meddling, accused fo trying to contact WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential race, NBC News reported. Stone was found guilty of all charges he faced including making false statements to Congress and obstruction of justice. Stone's lawyers said that any misstatements their client made to lawmakers were unintentional, the Washington Post reported shortly after his arrest. Who is Roger Stone? Stone was born in 1952 and was raised in Lewisboro, New York. His mother was a newspaper writer and his father was a well digger. Stone started his conservative leanings when a neighbor gave him a book, “The Conscience of a Conservative,” written by Barry Goldwater. It was given to him before he turned 13. Shortly after, he started working on the mayoral campaign for William F. Buckley Jr. in New York on weekends in 1965, The New Yorker uncovered in an article published in 2008.  He attended George Washington University but didn’t graduate because he got into politics, working with Republican candidates for more than 40 years, according to The New Yorker. >> Read more trending news  He was only 19 when Watergate happened, and he, under the name Jason Rainier, made contributions to Pete McCloskey, who was challenging President Richard Nixon for the Republican nomination. Stone, as Rainier, made the contributions through the Young Socialist Alliance and then released the receipt to a newspaper to show that McCloskey was a left-wing candidate, according to The New Yorker. Stone also hired another person to work in  George McGovern’s Democratic presidential campaign. Both events were uncovered during the Watergate hearings in 1973. He lost a job on the staff of Republican Bob Dole because of the hearings and started the National Conservative Political Action Committee, which backed Republicans Chuck Grassley in Iowa and Dan Quayle in Indiana. Stone also worked twice on the Republican presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan -- once in 1976, when Reagan didn’t win, and again in 1980, when he did -- then as political director for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, The New Yorker reported. After Reagan took office, Stone stayed in the private sector, creating a political consulting and lobbying firm that went under different names, including Black, Manafort, Stone & Atwater.  The firm worked for corporations like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to lobby former co-workers in the Reagan campaign who held jobs in the administration. It also served clients like Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, The New Yorker found. Focusing more on political campaigns as a solo entity instead of lobbying as part of a group, Stone worked as a senior consultant for the successful campaign of George H.W. Bush and worked three campaigns for Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter. He also ran unsuccessful campaigns for Dole’s 1996 quest for president. He was brought in when the 2000 presidential recount started in Florida. He played the political game on radio stations in southern Florida, saying that the recount was Al Gore’s left-wing power grab, The New Yorker reported. His efforts, along with other Republican assets, empowered George W. Bush’s Republican supporters to protest the second recount. Stone wanted, and got, the recount in Miami shut down in what became the “Brooks Brothers riot,” The Washington Post and The New Yorker reported. Stone also worked on  the younger Bush’s re-election campaign. It is believed documents obtained by CBS News that showed that Bush got out of military service for Vietnam were actually fake and that Stone was the person who created the documents, The New Yorker reported. Stone was one of President Donald Trump’s panel of long-time advisors, The Washington Post reported. He was connected to Trump when the now-president floated the idea of running in 2000.  Then, Trump said, “Roger is a stone-cold loser,” who “always takes credit for things he never did,” according to The New Yorker. Despite the harsh words then-private sector member Trump had for Stone, he used Stone for his campaign not once, but twice, teaming up in 2011 when Trump toyed with, but eventually decided against a presidential run. They went their different ways in August 2015, the Times reported.  But who pulled the plug on Stone’s tenure on the Trump campaign? Stone said he resigned and Trump’s campaign officials said he had been fired, The New York Times reported. Trump said of the firing, “I hardly ever spoke to the guy; he was just there. He played no role of any kind,” the Times reported in 2015. But Stone was listed on Federal Election Commission filings as being on the campaign payroll and he used Twitter to defend Trump during the campaign, according to the Times. What is his connection to Trump? Stone has been scrutinized for having ties to WikiLeaks by using an associate as an intermediary between himself and people associated with WikiLeaks, CNN reported. Stone spoke about having “back channel communications” with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, during the campaign. Stone later said the “back channel” was really a New York radio host, Randy Credico, who allegedly shared only information gleaned from interviews with Assange, CNN reported. Stone also predicted releases of information by WikiLeaks in the final days of the campaign between Trump and his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, CNN reported.  Stone said in a column for Breitbart, the website run by former Trump campaign adviser Steve Bannon, that it wasn’t the Russians who hacked the servers containing the emails leaked by WikiLeaks, but it was actually a hacker who went by the name Guccifer 2.0.  >>Read: Russian hackers indicted: Who is Guccifer 2.0? Here are 15 things to know Despite Stone’s assertions in the column, some have linked Guccifer 2.0 to Russian web services, Foreign Policy reported.  In July 2016, the Times reported that intelligence agencies had “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the email leaks and that Guccifer 2.0 was in reality an agent of the Russian military intelligence service, or GRU. Mueller’s team is investigating whether there were other connections between Stone and WikiLeaks. That connection could come in the form of Jerome Corsi, another associate of Stone’s who said this week that he expects to be indicted by Mueller for “giving false information to the special counsel or to one of the other grand jury,” CNN reported. If Corsi’s prediction comes true, he could face charges from perjury to making false claims and even obstruction of justice, all related to false statements he made about his alleged connection between WikiLeaks and Stone, CNN reported. Stone, however, said he was truthful in previous testimony before a congressional panel. >>Read: 12 Russians indicted: Here’s what the DOJ says happened “My attorneys have fully reviewed all my written communications with Dr. Corsi,” Stone wrote in a statement to CNN. “When those aren’t viewed out of context they prove everything I have said under oath regarding my interaction with Dr. Corsi is true.” Stone went on to write, “I stand by my statement to the House Intelligence Committee and can prove it is truthful if need be. I have passed two polygraph tests administered and analyzed by two of the nation's leading experts to prove I have (been) truthful.” >>Read: 12 Russians indicted: Military officials accused of hacking DNC, stealing voter info Corsi said Stone warned that there would be trouble for Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta after Corsi published an article for InfoWars. After Stone’s statement, WikiLeaks released thousands of hacked emails from Podesta, CNN reported.  >>Read: WikiLeaks emails: FBI investigates, Podesta claims he was targeted by Russian hackers Stone tweeted “it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel” six weeks before WikiLeaks published the emails, The Washington Post reported. >>Read: Julian Assange: WikiLeaks source was 'not the Russian government' Stone said he did not tell Trump that WikiLeaks was going to release the hacked emails and denied working with Russia, CNN reported. But Stone did say in a recent opinion piece for The Daily Caller, that he emailed Bannon during the campaign, CNN reported. Stone, in the column, clarified that the information he shared with Bannon was publicly available. Stone said the statements he made during the campaign were exaggerations or tips only and that he didn’t know details of WikiLeaks’ plans before the document drops, the Post reported.

The Latest News Videos