Trump confidant Roger Stone loses bid to get evidence tossed

Political

WASHINGTON (AP) — A judge has denied Trump confidant Roger Stone’s efforts to suppress evidence in the case against him, according to a court opinion made public Tuesday.

Stone is one of a half dozen aides and advisers to President Donald Trump who were charged as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. He is accused of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional proceeding, and is set to stand trial in November in Washington’s federal court.

Stone had asked a judge to throw out the evidence seized from 18 FBI search warrants.

Those warrants were based on the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia had hacked Democratic email accounts and distributed stolen communications to WikiLeaks, which published the messages in the weeks before the 2016 election in what officials have said was an effort to help Trump and harm the campaign of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Stone has challenged the accuracy of those conclusions and says the warrants used to search his devices and property were therefore invalid.

He contends the private cybersecurity firm that investigated the hack of the Democratic National Committee failed to preserve evidence of the intrusion and that the intelligence community relied on the company’s assumptions that Russia was behind the hack.

Besides the intelligence community, Mueller’s report also firmly concluded that Russia was behind the hack, and he indicted 12 intelligence officers in the breach.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected Stone’s arguments, meaning evidence collected under the search warrants can be used in the upcoming trial. She said Stone had failed to prove that anyone in the government had “played fast and loose with the truth” or knowingly mischaracterized the facts.

“The fundamental problem with defendant’s motion is that he has not identified any statements in the eighteen affidavits that he claims are deliberately false or were made in reckless disregard of the truth,” Jackson wrote.

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