Trump adviser and Netflix documentary star Roger Stone and two other Trump loyalists — failed Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino and former campaign adviser Michael Caputo — are being sued for defamation related to the 2010 New York gubernatorial campaign. Warren Redlich, the Libertarian candidate in that race, alleges that Stone and the other defendants were responsible for election mailers distributed near his Albany-area home that falsely claimed Redlich was a sexual predator and a “sick twisted pervert.” At the time, Stone was a campaign adviser to another Libertarian candidate, former madame Kristin Davis; Caputo was Paladino’s campaign manager. Redlich accuses his political opponents of orchestrating the smear campaign millions.
The trial in Manhattan was set to begin this week, but it was reportedly delayed because Roger Stone couldn’t make it and ignored his subpoena, reports the New York Post. The reason? He’s in Washington, D.C., and has his hands full with all this Russia stuff, says his attorney.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked Roger Stone to preserve any Russia-related documents in connection with their broader investigation into the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 election. The letter was reportedly dated February 17, but Stone told the New York Times he had not received it until March 17 by email. Stone’s defamation attorney said that the political operative is in Washington, D.C., complying with that request.
Stone, who has denied allegations that he colluded with the Russian state, also said he would voluntarily testify before the lawmakers. However, Stone’s attorney conceded to the judge that no such hearing date has been set yet, so it’s unclear how the Russia probe is such a time suck right now.
Congressional inquiries aside, the judge said Stone would have to show up for the suit; afterward, Stone said that he would follow the judge’s order and appear for the trial.
“You don’t think I believe he’s in D.C., do you?” Redlich, the plaintiff, vented to the Daily News about Stone’s no-show. “I don’t trust anything he says. For all we know, he’s in the Upper East Side right now. Maybe he’s in Russia? Who the hell knows.”