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Roger Stone pleads not guilty to charges from Mueller probe

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By Elisha Fieldstadt  with NBC News Politics
Roger Stone pleads not guilty to charges from Mueller probe

Roger Stone, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to obstruction, giving false statements and witness tampering charges he faces as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference.

Stone, 66, was arrested Friday morning after a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicted him on one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of making false statements and one count of witness tampering.

In August of 2016, Stone was claiming both publicly and privately to have communicated with Organization 1, known to be Wikileaks, while the organization made a public statement denying direct talks, according to the indictment.

During that summer, Stone, who left the Trump campaign in 2015 but "maintained regular contact with and publicly supported" the campaign through the 2016 election, spoke with senior Trump campaign officials about WikiLeaks and "information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign," the indictment said.

After the presidential election, Congress and the FBI announced investigations into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, including Stone's claimed contact with WikiLeaks. The indictment alleges that Stone obstructed the investigations by making multiple false statements to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence about his interactions with WikiLeaks and attempted to persuade a witness to provide false testimony and withhold information.

Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to investigate Russian election interference and whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Moscow.

Stone is not accused of personally coordinating with the Russians, and has repeatedly denied any collusion with WikiLeaks.

Former prosecutor Joyce Vance told NBC News on Friday that Stone could face up to 24 to 30 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines if convicted and the "offense resulted in substantial interference with the administration of justice."

"Judges have the discretion to depart upwards or downwards," Vance added.