“This is a criminal proceeding and not a public-relations campaign,” declared the federal judge presiding over Roger Stone’s arraignment last week. But the evidence indicates otherwise—and that’s one reason why the conspiracy theories Stone and others are promoting may prove so difficult to dispel.
Leaving the courthouse that day, Stone flung his arms out into a Nixonian V for victory—the second time he had made use of the former president’s signature gesture in recent weeks, after striking the pose on the steps of the federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, following his arrest. The Daily Caller—where Stone writes as the “men’s fashion correspondent”—soon uploaded a video of Stone providing winking advice on “how to dress for your arraignment.” Meanwhile, Stone has continued to make appearances on cable-news outlets from Fox News to CNN, and found time to sit down with his colleagues at the fringe website Infowars. He is selling T-shirts that read Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong! along with “Roger Stones” (pieces of rock with his signature on them), and aggressively soliciting donations for his legal-defense fund.
These are good times to be Roger Stone—which might seem like a strange thing to say about someone indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But Stone is only the most recent person to treat ending up on the wrong side of the Mueller investigation as a star turn. In November 2018, Stone’s former Infowars colleague Jerome Corsi leaked what appeared to be documents relating to a draft plea agreement between himself and the special counsel’s office, and is now selling a book on How I Became a Political Prisoner of Mueller’s “Witch Hunt.” George Papadopoulos, a Donald Trump–campaign foreign-policy adviser and the first person to plead guilty in the Mueller investigation, went straight from expressing remorse before a judge to spinning murky conspiracy theories on Twitter about his persecution at the hands of the deep state. He, too, has a book coming out.