Associate of Trump ally expects Mueller contact soon on plea deal

(Reuters) – An associate of Roger Stone, a longtime ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, said he was told by the U.S. special counsel probing Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election that he would be contacted this week about a possible plea deal.

Jerome Corsi, a right-wing commentator who has promoted political conspiracy theories, told Reuters on Tuesday that his lawyer was told by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller last week that their next discussion, possibly on Tuesday, would be “about pleas.”

“So by pleas I assumed their plan was to indict me,” Corsi said in a telephone interview, adding he was not given any information about the likely basis for any charge against him.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel, declined to comment. David Gray, Corsi’s attorney, also declined to comment.

Corsi’s remarks come a day after he grabbed headlines with a livestream posted to YouTube, in which he said he expected to be criminally charged after two months of cooperation with Mueller’s probe.

Mueller’s team of prosecutors is investigating whether Trump’s election campaign team colluded with Moscow to influence the 2016 presidential vote. Both Trump and Russia have denied any collusion.

Mueller’s prosecutors have questioned several associates of Stone over his contacts with WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. They are probing whether Stone had advance access to emails hacked from the Democratic Party and the account of John Podesta, campaign chairman of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and obtained by Wikileaks.

Stone denies having advance access to the emails, which were hacked by Russian intelligence, prior to their release by Wikileaks in the weeks before the 2016 election.

Corsi is of interest to Mueller because he provided research to Stone during the campaign. Stone has said that one of his most scrutinized comments — a tweet in August 2016 predicting that it would soon be the Podestas’ “time in the barrel” — was based on Corsi’s research about John Podesta and his brother.

Six weeks after that tweet, Wikileaks began to release the emails from John Podesta’s account online.

Corsi said Mueller’s prosecutors have pressed him repeatedly on any ties to Assange, whom he says he has never met.

“I do not recall having any source that was connected to Assange,” Corsi said.

Corsi said his views on what Assange had, in terms of hacked material, came mostly from public sources and that he “put the pieces together and connected the dots” on his own during a trip to Italy to celebrate his wedding anniversary in July-August 2016.

He said it was common sense to predict Assange would release the hacked material in October for maximum impact.

“Because if I had those emails I would drop them in October,” Corsi said.

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