Roger Stone’s arraignment Tuesday was short and subdued. The same could not be said for the scene outside the courthouse.
A giant inflatable rat fashioned to look like President Trump loomed over a boisterous crowd of Proud Boys and #Resistance protesters. There were signs that read, “Roger Stone did nothing wrong” and promoted Infowars and big giant letters spelling out “TRAITOR.”
“Lock him up!” some chanted as Stone walked into the courtroom, pursued by a demonstrator waving Russian flags.
Inside the Washington courtroom, Stone pleaded not guilty through his attorney to charges lodged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in connection with the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks.
Outside, the Proud Boys got into arguments with some of Stone’s hecklers and had to be separated.
In one particularly nasty moment, Claude Taylor, who calls himself a liberal provocateur, grabbed a microphone cover from Infowars’ Owen Shroyer, and wiped his nose with it. Shroyer did not take it back.
Microphones were set up for Stone to speak when he came out, but he made a beeline to a car, pausing only to flash the V-symbol made famous by Richard Nixon.
The crowd swarmed the vehicle, the strains of “Back in the USSR” wafting through the air, and police had to clear the road for Stone to make his getaway.
The arraignment itself was a cut-and-dried affair, although the judge did declare the matter a “complex case” and order all discovery material be presented under seal—which intrigued some legal observers since the case as outlined in the indictment appears fairly straightforward.
The indictment alleges that at the behest of a senior Trump campaign official, Stone approached WikiLeaks about Democratic Party emails hacked by Russia, in hopes of damaging Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspiration.
Prosecutors say Stone then lied to the House intelligence committee about those interactions and withheld documents. The indictment also alleges that Stone tried to convince radio host and comedian Randy Credico not to testify—by name-dropping a character from The Godfather II and by threatening to take his therapy dog.
As The Daily Beast reported, Stone also sent Credico a barrage of insulting, profane emails last year. “I will piss on your grave,” one of them read.
Stone is now the 34th person to be charged by Mueller as he investigates Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.
A self-professed dirty trickster with a tattoo of Nixon on his back, Stone has responded to the Mueller charges with defiance and disgust, vowing that he would not flip on Trump and suggesting memory lapses could explain any misstatements.
Outside his Fort Lauderdale home on Monday, he complained to reporters about the circumstances of his early-morning arrest there last Friday, when FBI agents showed up at his door with a warrant.
“I’m 66 years old. I do not own a gun. I do not have a valid passport. I have no prior criminal record. I’m charged with nonviolent process crimes,” he said.
“To storm my house with greater force than was used to take down bin Laden or El Chapo or Pablo Escobar, to terrorize my wife and my dogs [is] unconscionable.”