Recently surfaced videos of pro-Trump attorney Ken Chesebro and political operative Roger Stone renew questions about Jan. 6
Basic journalistic ethics require a legitimate reporter to contact and seek comment from individuals that a journalist is writing about or intends to mention in a story. Since Mr. Klasfeld made no such effort in regard to this story, I have no choice but to systematically deconstruct this collection of distortions, falsehoods, and baseless supposition. You can read my comments in red.
Former President Donald Trump’s criminal indictments related to the 2020 election are all about criminal conspiracies, over allegedly fraudulent electors and plans to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory. There’s one stubbornly notable omission, however: allegations that Trump and his loyalists directed or coordinated with the mob to storm the U.S. Capitol while also moving forward on a scheme to subvert the electoral count.
Two bombshell reports from last week help slightly in bridging that gap, particularly for two notable Trump insiders whose circle of involvement may be wider than previously thought — but only so far.
The reports involve previously unseen footage of pro-Trump political operative Roger Stone and attorney Kenneth Chesebro, an alleged architect of the false electors scheme. On or immediately before Jan. 6, Stone was surrounded by at least six bodyguards from the Oath Keepers, an extremist group whose leaders were convicted of seditious conspiracy. New reporting shows Stone operating in a different world: the plan to send unauthorized pro-Trump electors in states where he lost.
As I have written on numerous occasions, I accepted a voluntary security detail from the Oath Keepers on January 5th because the off-duty D.C. police officers that I used to provide security (legally) during my D.C. trial, were unavailable. The technique Mr. Klasfeld utilizes here is “Guilt by Association” — it proves nothing whatsoever. In fact, Joshua James, one of the Oath Keepers who was in my security detail on January 5th, has testified under oath in the administrative trial of New York City Police Officer Salvatore Greco, that I had no knowledge, or involvement in the Oath Keepers’ actions at the Capitol on January 6th.
“The footage” is not new. According to Politico, investigators for the January 6th Committee reviewed over 170 hours of film made by the Danish documentary filmmakers.
As I have noted, the film clips released to CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post and later utilized by the January 6th Select Committee, employ selective editing, manipulation, and in some cases the use of artificial intelligence.
In most cases, I cannot actually even be seen saying words that are attributed to me.
Chesebro, one of the accused masterminds of that strategy, never seemingly had a direct tie to the events at the Capitol, until footage of him recently surfaced on its grounds that day.
The newly surfaced videos show Stone and Chesebro’s ease in navigating between the spheres in opposite directions: the White House’s efforts to overturn the election and among the rioters who swarmed the Capitol.
I do not know and have never had any contact with Mr. Chesebro — nor do I know, or have ever had any contact with, Professor John Eastman. As The Washington Post has correctly reported, “Stone was not part of the Giuliani team at the Willard and did not participate in the team’s effort [to delay the certification of the Electoral College in the U.S. Senate], according to the three people with knowledge of the matter.”
Nor did I have any contact with anyone at the White House or on the President’s staff on or around January 6th. Therefore, the claim that I was “navigating between the spheres in opposite directions: the White House’s efforts to overturn the election and among the rioters who swarmed the Capitol,” is false.
The testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson before the January 6th Committee, that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows called me on January 5th to “find out what was going to happen on January 6th,” as well as calling me to be debriefed about a meeting supposedly held in the Willard Hotel “War Room,” is a perjurious lie; I have never communicated, in any fashion, with Mark Meadows, although I did meet him once in the green room at Fox back when he was a Congressman, nor was I in any meeting in the Willard Hotel regarding efforts to delay the certification of the Electoral College vote in the U.S. Senate.
Some in the media have maintained that I am a link between “extremist” groups such as the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys and members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle, as well as President Trump himself. This is entirely false, given that I had no contact with President Trump or any member of his staff from December 27th, 2020 until March 24, 2021—when President Trump invited me and my wife to visit him at Mar-a-Lago, after my wife’s completion of successful treatments for stage 4 cancer.
Reuters reported that Senior FBI officials confirmed that there was no evidence linking me to the illegal actions at the Capitol. ABC News and others have endlessly used the technique of “Guilt by Association” in an effort to claim otherwise.
‘All Working Under One Umbrella’
In the Georgia indictment, Chesebro has been charged in connection with what has been called the fake electors scheme, a plan to have GOP officials in seven battleground states certify that they were qualified. He’s also thinly veiled, but not charged, by Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith as one of Trump’s accused co-conspirators.
Both state and federal prosecutors allege that Chesebro strategized and executed a plan to have GOP officials falsely swear in signed documents that they were “duly elected and qualified” to for vote for Trump — and send those allegedly fraudulent certifications to courts, statehouses, Congress and the U.S. Archivist.
Given Chesebro’s lawyerly role in the alleged conspiracy, it startled some when CNN discovered and broadcast footage of the attorney tagging along with right-wing broadcaster Alex Jones outside the Capitol on Jan. 6.
But Chesebro’s cameo outside the Capitol building did not surprise Temidayo Aganga-Williams, a former senior investigative counsel for the House Select Committee that investigated the Jan. 6 insurrection.
“I think what it does show is that both the folks behind the political component and the muscle are all working under one umbrella,” said Aganga-Williams, who is now a partner at the law firm Selendy Gay Elsberg.
Before investigating the Jan. 6 attacks, Aganga-Williams worked as a federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York, the jurisdiction that prosecuted Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
“Like we’re talking about, it’s no different than a lot of drug cartels a lot of us used to prosecute — which means that there are those at the top who never engage in actual violence, who are not there when the violence takes place,” Aganga-Williams told The Messenger. “But they are the directors of the entire enterprise.
If Aganga-Williams has any evidence beyond her defamatory speculation that I was aware of, involved in, or condoned any illegal activity on or around January 6th, she should produce it or stop engaging in defamatory speculation.
‘We Never Heard of the Guy’
Jones, who used his broadcasts to promote Trump’s “wild” Jan. 6 protest, worked closely with Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander in setting up the rally. Neither Jones nor Alexander have been charged with crimes by federal or local prosecutors.
It’s unclear why Chesebro followed Jones around on that day, within close proximity of Alexander.
For his part, Jones appears to be distancing himself from Chesebro.
Asked why Chesebro tagged along with his client on Jan. 6, the conspiracy theorist’s attorney Norm Pattis replied: “You’d have to ask Chesebro.”
“I have no idea,” Pattis added. “We never heard of the guy until recently.”
Chesebro’s attorneys Scott Grubman and Manny Arora did not illuminate the connection, though Grubman disputed Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ allegations against his client, generally.
“Mr. Chesebro, an appellate and constitutional lawyer with experience in election law disputes, was asked by the Trump Campaign to provide advice on issues related to constitutional and election law,” Grubman said in a statement. “Each of the alleged ‘overt acts’ that are attributed to Mr. Chesebro relate to his work as an attorney. Mr. Chesebro did not once step foot in the State of Georgia on behalf of the campaign, and was not privy to the private communications of other individuals that are cited in the indictment. Mr. Chesebro stands ready to defend himself against these unfounded charges.”
‘Friends of Stone’
On Aug. 16, MSNBC aired previously unseen footage of Stone appearing to dictate the false electors strategy.
“Although state officials in all 50 states must ultimately certify the results of the voting in their state,” Stone told his associate in Nov. 5, 2020, in an outtake obtained by the network—and recorded in Danish filmmaker Christoffer Guldbrandsen’s documentary “A Storm Foretold.”
“The final decision as to who the state legislatures authorize be sent to the Electoral College is a decision made solely by the legislature,” Stone added.
Under Article II of the U.S. Constitution, the individual State Legislatures have the authority to certify the slate of electors sent to the Electoral College based on the popular vote within the State. This is both legally and constitutionally correct. At no time did I ever make reference to “fake” electors, and I made it clear that any challenge would have to be based on documented evidence of voter fraud. Collecting such evidence is constitutionally protected political activity.
Stone made those remarks even before the race officially had been called for Biden, demonstrating how Trump’s associates sought ways to overturn the race even before he lost. He was not alone in that contingency planning.
What I actually said was that “If the results were still up in the air” Trump should declare victory. This is completely consistent with the advice that former Secretary of State James A. Baker III gave George W. Bush in 2000, and which Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. gave his son, Senator John F. Kennedy, in 1960.
Why would I suspect that there would be Democrat-generated voter fraud prior to the 2020 election? Perhaps it is because Joe Biden himself said it out loud:
The same day Stone made that statement, Trump’s attorney Cleta Mitchell sent an email asking conservative lawyer John Eastman to write a memorandum “outlining the constitutional role of state legislatures in designating electors.” Eastman would later write a six-part plan to have then-Vice President Mike Pence block the certification of Biden’s victory, which would later become known as the “coup memo.”
Eastman has been charged by the Fulton County DA in connection with Trump’s efforts to stay in power, and he’s an unindicted co-conspirator in the related federal indictment.
At least for now, Mitchell and Stone have not been charged or accused of wrongdoing in either case.
I have never had any communications whatsoever with Mitchell or Eastman. I only know that my own comments are both legally and constitutionally correct and perfectly legal.
Beyond his Oath Keepers security detail, Stone is closely tied to another group whose leaders include convicted seditionists: the Proud Boys. He has taken the group’s oath, described its leader Enrique Tarrio as one his volunteers, and was videotaped warmly greeting its other leading member Joe Biggs with the words, “My guy, right here,” according to the House Select Committee’s Jan. 6 report. Leaders of both the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys set up encrypted chat rooms on Signal titled “FOS,” short for “Friends of Stone.”
The “Friends of Stone” Signal chat was thoroughly reviewed by federal investigators prior to the seditious conspiracy trials of both the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. It yielded no evidence whatsoever of my involvement in any improper or illegal activity. It was set up for the purpose of sharing links to publicly published stories.
‘Stuck in My Mind’
For former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman, Stone’s association with rabble-rousers has a ring of familiarity.
“I happen to know Roger Stone pretty well only because I had him in my office in September of 1973,” Akerman told The Messenger, recounting how he questioned the lifelong GOP operative about organizing counter-demonstrators opposing late Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg.
The episode fell before the break-in of Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel and barely registered as a footnote to the broader scandals of the era, but for Akerman, something about Stone “stuck in my mind.”
Although Akerman uses his credentials as a former Watergate prosecutor for credibility, he is, in fact, a rabid partisan Democrat who for two years falsely accused me of being a “Russian intelligence asset.” He has also claimed that there is no doubt that President Nixon knew about and approved the Watergate break-in — a claim for which there is no basis whatsoever. Now Akerman seeks to “clout-chase” on my name. He is a tired, bitter, old man who is entirely irrelevant.
I would sue him for defamation for calling me a “Russian traitor” — but unfortunately the standard for defamation under The New York Times v. Sullivan set the bar too high, as I am a “public figure.” Akerman will receive his punishment in the next life.
For Stone, his association with Nixon also made a lifelong imprint. He tattooed a picture of the 37th president on his back, and he’s embraced a reputation as a dirty-trickster, who is willing to push the boundaries of the law in order to win at all costs.
Really? Based on Special Counsel John Durham’s final Report, President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brenna, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Acting Attorny General Rod Rosenstein, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller used the full legal authority of the United States Government and the incredible capabilities of our intelligence agencies in an illegitimate coup to remove a dully-elected President, despite any evidence whtsoever of “Russian collusion” with the Trump campaign. This makes Watergate look like small potatoes!
During the Russia investigation, Stone racked up seven felony convictions for obstructing a congressional investigation, false statements and witness tampering, but he ultimately had his 40-month sentence commuted by Trump.
The Messenger also fails to report this section from Robert Mueller’s long-redacted final Report released at midnight on November 3rd, 2020 and reported on by no one other than BuzzFeed (who filed the federal lawsuit forcing the DOJ to disgorge this information), ZeroHedge, and The Gateway Pundit:
“The Office’s determination that it could not charge WikiLeaks or Stone as part of the Section 1030 conspiracy was also informed by the constitutional issues that such a prosecution would present. Under the Supreme Court’s decision in Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U.S. 514 (2001), the First Amendment protects a party’s publication of illegally intercepted communications on a matter of public concern, even when the publishing parties knew or had reason to know of the intercepts’ unlawful origin.”
“The Office determined that it could not pursue a Section 1030 conspiracy charge against Stone for some of the same legal reasons. The most fundamental hurdles, though, are factual ones.1279 As explained in Volume I, Section III.D.1, supra, Corsi’s accounts of his interactions with Stone on October 7, 2016 are not fully consistent or corroborated. Even if they were, neither Corsi’s testimony nor other evidence currently available to the Office is sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Stone knew or believed that the computer intrusions were ongoing at the time he ostensibly encouraged or coordinated the publication of the Podesta emails. Stone’s actions would thus be consistent with (among other things) a belief that he was aiding in the dissemination of the fruits of an already completed hacking operation perpetrated by a third party, which would be a level of knowledge insufficient to establish conspiracy liability. See State v. Phillips, 82 S.E.2d 762, 766 (N.C. 1954) (“In the very nature of things, persons cannot retroactively conspire to commit a previously consummated crime.”) (quoted in Model Penal Code and Commentaries § 5.03, at 442 (1985).
Stone avoided criminal liability for his post-2020 election activities so far, but Akerman believes his luck may soon run out.
Multiple Oath Keepers members who entered into cooperating agreements with the government before their former co-conspirators’ trials last year did not testify. Akerman suspects that some of these witnesses may have information on Stone, and prosecutors may not have called them for fear of prematurely disclosing what they know.
“Under the rules, they would have had to turn over their prior statements,” Akerman said.
Wishful thinking on the part of Akerman. Any claim that I knew in advance about, participated in, or condoned any illegal activity on or around January 6th, 2020, is categorically false. There is no witness, e-mail, text message, phone call, encrypted message or chat room that proves otherwise. If Akerman has some information to the contrary, he should produce it or shut the fuck up.
The Rolling Stones Defense
If prosecutors want to charge Stone with crimes connected to the Jan. 6 attacks, they will need something stronger than the GOP operative’s associations with extremists like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.
After all, former federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner noted, Stone is hardly the first person to hire outlaws as bodyguards. Just look at the Rolling Stones, who hired the Hells Angels to provide security at the Altamont Speedway Free Festival in 1969.
“The Hells Angels literally killed somebody in the crowd,” Epner noted. “Nobody charged the Rolling Stones with that death, and they certainly did not charge the Rolling Stones with the myriad other crimes that the Hells Angels were committing at the time.”
During the trials of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, federal prosecutors revealed scores of their once-private encrypted messages, along with photographs of their leaders posing with Stone, who flashed Nixonian victory signs. The evidence has been public and widely circulated for more than half a year, but no prosecutor or congressional investigator has accused Stone of committing any Jan. 6-related crime.
Given the passage of time — and their absence from both the federal and Georgia indictments — Epner doubts that Stone or Jones will be charged in the 2020 election cases.
I was not involved in the efforts to challenge the election results in Georgia in any way. Pseudo journalist Ari Melber made false claims about this and I had no choice but to expose this bald-faced lie.
Akerman speculates that prosecutors may be biding their time until U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan issues a ruling on their pending motion to set a trial on Jan. 2, 2024.
After that point, he suspects, “the government might feel more comfortable picking up these other people.
Defamatory and baseless speculation by a rabid partisan. Recently declassified documents prove, indisputably, that as a Watergate prosecutor, Akerman was aware of the CIA’s involvement in the Watergate break-in and was involved in suppressing this information. He is not credible — certainly on the topic of Roger Stone.
Trump and prosecutors will meet in court again for a hearing on Monday.