As he awaits the beginning of his 40-month prison sentence, perhaps later this week – barring a delay on appeal or a potential presidential pardon – Roger Stone unmasks himself in an interview with BizTV's "Liquid Lunch" with John Tabacco, levying claims James Comey's FBI tried to "entrap" him twice.
"First of all, much like Gen. [Michael] Flynn, I'm going to be unmasked," Stone began, removing a mask that read "Roger Stone did nothing wrong." "Secondarily, it's great to be with you guys because, as you know, for 16 solid months I've been under what I believe to be an unconstitutional gag order.
"I haven't able to say everything I'd like to say. I haven't been able to defend myself. I haven't been able to correct the tsunami of disinformation from people like Ari Melber, and Rachel Maddow, and Don Lemon, and Chris Cuomo, and so many other of my good friends."
Stone was being facetious about his "friends," but he did talk of some friends who have allegedly worked against him in his case that led him to be indicted for lying to Congress, obstruction, and witness tampering.
One, Stone reiterated former White House strategist Steve Bannon had contradicting testimony to the House Intelligence Committee's investigation and Stone's trial: First saying, Stone and Bannon never spoke of WikiLeaks in their few calls; then claiming, in Stone's November 2019 trial, Stone and Bannon frequently spoke via telephone and Stone was known as the "access point" to WikiLeaks by the Trump campaign.
Stone called the latter perjury when compared to the "truthful" statements to the congressional probe in January and February 2018.
In new allegations, Stone told host John Tabacco there were two attempts by the FBI to "entrap" Stone into a crime: First, by a paid FBI informant going by the name Henry Greenberg; and second, in his first public comment on the matter, former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, an FBI informant, sent to get Stone to reveal contacts about WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign.
"He contacted me in October 2017, and invited me out to Utah to speak to a small dinner out there," Stone told Tabacco. "Must tell you, I liked him enormously, he's a terrific guy. I actually saw him as someone who should run for public office. We had a lot of commonality in our libertarian views.
"But after dinner, he grilled me pretty aggressively about WikiLeaks, and Russians, and what really happened," he added. "I didn't think much of it at that time. And then, again, in April of 2018, he invited me to lunch, but he insisted that his lunch be in his suite in his hotel.
"And kind of the same routine," he continued. "We had a general political discussion. Once again he questioned me pretty aggressively – friendly, but aggressively – about Russians and WikiLeaks and so on."
Stone said he "didn't think much of it," adding there was not "anything to say more than I said publicly."
Byrne has since gone public in saying he was tasked by the FBI and called Stone to apologize.
"He was very apologetic," Stone said. "He knew that I'd done nothing wrong. But he was indeed the FBI handler, shall we say, for [indicted Russian spy] Maria Butina.
"So, in my view, Comey's FBI tried twice to set me up – the same way they tried to set up Gen. Flynn."
Pressed further on the allegation, Stone demurred, citing sealed case files.
"Unfortunately, I can't comment because all of the records in my case are under protective seal, and therefore I am prohibited from discussing them whatsoever, so I am sorry I can't respond to your question, but I believe the FBI tried twice to entrap me, and let's leave it at that," Stone said. "I have never disclosed the Patrick Byrne matter publicly before this show, mainly because I liked him so much and I actually felt badly for him, because I think he was cross-pressured.
"He had been very helpful to the FBI many years ago in exposing an insider trading scheme and therefore they had confidence in him."
Stone expressed remorse Byrne's political aspirations are "destroyed," even if Byrne was potentially being used to entrap him.
"At the time he reached me, I think he was working for them," Stone concluded. "I think he was doing so in good faith. It was only later he figured out, there was no Russian collusion."
The start of Stone's 40-week prison sentence was delayed one month to late May, so there is some expectation of resolution of his case this week.
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