An associate of political operative Roger Stone, a long-time friend of U.S. President Donald Trump, disclosed on Monday that he will reject what he stated is a plea deal presented to him by the special counsel investigating Russia’s hand in the 2016 presidential election.
A right-wing commentator, Jerome Corsi known for promoting conspiracy theories, revealed that the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller wanted him to plead guilty to one felony count of consciously supplying false information in return for a softer sentence.
At issue in the plea talks were two different email exchanges from 2016 where Stone and another colleague encouraged contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to Corsi, who said he has never communicated with Assange.
Corsi said he did not remember the emails when he firstly told Mueller’s team there was never any intention to contact Assange. He said Mueller allowed him to correct his testimony to reflect the content of the emails.
Corsi said “Now they want to charge me for something that they allowed me to amend. That’s not fair,” he told media last week that he was in plea talks with Mueller.
“I didn’t go in to deceive them.”
A former federal prosecutor, Daniel Goldman, said it was improbable Mueller would charge Corsi depended on a situation where he amended his statements to reflect communications memorialized in emails that he stated not to remember at first.
“The only way you get to the point that you charge him is if you have a lot more evidence,” Goldman said. “There is more to it than what he is describing.”
A spokesman for the special counsel, Peter Carr, declined to comment.
Stone spoke to Reuters on Monday that he trusted the email from him was a message in which he encouraged Corsi to get an associate of theirs who lived in the United Kingdom to look into three issues, of which one was to visit Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Mueller’s prosecutors have interogated numbers of associates of Stone as part of their investigation. They are investigating whether Stone had further access to emails hacked from the Democratic Party and the account of John Podesta, campaign chairman of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, gotten and later published by Wikileaks.
Stone has rejected having further access to the emails, which U.S. officials say were hacked by Russian intelligence and released by Wikileaks weeks before the 2016 election.
Corsi, who gave research to Stone during the campaign, explained in a livestream posted to YouTube earlier this month that he expected to be criminally charged by Mueller.