Roger Stone has been at the heart of three of the objectively worst things to happen in the Sunshine State in the 21st Century: When a group of angry white folks protested in 2000 to stop the Bush v. Gore recount, Stone later admitted he staged the whole thing to get Bush elected. When Scott Rothstein's record-setting Ponzi scheme fell to pieces, it turned out Stone had an office at Rothstein's law firm.
And now, thanks in part to Stone, part-time Florida Man Donald Trump is president.
Stone, a man with the moral compass of a hyena, was back in the news last week after he gave an impromptu chat about Trump at a Coral Gables bar last Monday, got reimplicated in the ongoing Russian election-interference probe Thursday thanks to an in-depth Wall Street Journal article, and doubled down on the disgusting Seth Rich conspiracy theory Friday by calling for Rich's parents to be hauled off to jail.
(Conspiracy theorists on the right and extremely fringe left have argued that Rich, a former Democratic operative, was murdered for sending Democratic National Committee emails to WikiLeaks. Law enforcement and Rich's own family say there is absolutely no evidence of this and have begged folks like Stone and InfoWars' Alex Jones to stop perpetuating the bogus rumors.)
"Their right to privacy is important, but not as important as the public's right to the truth," Stone told New Times Friday. "Frankly, at this point, the parents should be charged with obstruction."
So, given all the nonsense Stone got up to this week, here's a primer on the greatest hits and lowest blows from the longtime Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale resident. (For the sake of our own sanity, we'll start our archive at the year 2000, because Stone has been up to no good since the Nixon administration.)
Famed Republican dirty trickster and Scott Rothstein partner Roger Stone told the Daily Beast that he has regrets for organizing a mob of GOP staffers to stage a coup at the Miami-Dade elections office in 2000 to stop the Bush-Gore vote recount. Said Stone:
"There have been many times I've regretted it. When I look at those double-page New York Times spreads of all the individual pictures of people who have been killed [in Iraq], I got to think, 'Maybe there wouldn't have been a war if I hadn't gone to Miami-Dade. Maybe there hadn't have been, in my view, an unjustified war if Bush hadn't become president.' It's very disturbing to me."
So I had an interview today with Roger Stone — the famed Republican dirty trickster and political consultant who had an office in Scott Rothstein's law firm and teamed up with him on certain political projects — and I'll have a full post up tomorrow about it. But first some highlights:
— He said he met Scott Rothstein at a dinner in 2006 with Charlie Crist during which Crist told him he wanted to get a fundraiser with Donald Trump. Stone, who has long been an associate of Trump's, got Crist the fundraiser.
— Stone said he is convinced that Rothstein made illegal contributions to the Scott Israel campaign.
— He said he became suspicious of Scott Rothstein last year and hired a private investigator named Adam Mangino to investigate. He said Mangino couldn't decipher where the money was coming from, but knew it wasn't Rothstein's.
Next week, Scott Rothstein's former political czar, veteran Republican operative Roger Stone, will be deposed in the federal bankruptcy case involving the RRA firm. At issue is an $80,000 "loan" that Rothstein allegedly gave him.
Stone says he doesn't ever recall getting a loan from Rothstein.
"There was never any one $80,000 disbursement," said Stone. "That's the sum total of various political work I did for him. I took it as income and paid taxes on it. He was a bullshitter; he never did any business. He didn't give; he took. I'm scratching my head on the booking of it as a loan. If I owe something, I'll be happy to pay it, but this is a question of reconciling my books with his."
Most important of all, though, is his campaign manager and Svengali: the legendary Roger Stone, a GOP dirty trickster with connections to Watergate who helped Ronald Reagan and both Bushes get to the White House. More recently, he engineered the surprising win of Republican Sheriff Al Lamberti in Broward during the 2008 Obama landslide.
The odd pair aims to take over more than just Miami Beach City Hall when elections are held this November. They're filming the race with a production company, hoping to lure a network into buying the first campaign custom-built for reality TV. In a country where Sarah Palin ignites a movement by hunting moose on the Discovery Channel, and Glenn Beck makes millions with a televised Howard Beale-style road show, it just might work.
Stone broke the news of his Tallahassee pipe dream yesterday, in an interview with National Review, telling them "I don't have any illusions about winning, but I'd like to carry the flag for the liberty movement." He promised to "be provocative...to punch it up." According to NR, he "supports marijuana legalization."
In a follow-up with the Daily Caller (The Stoner careful to stroke the rightwing fanboys equally) he said he'd "like to" announce his decision whether to run during the annual Hempfest at Florida State University April 20. The Caller framed his pot position more modestly, saying he'd propose a referendum on medical marijuana.
Stone says he will run on a platform of reclassifying marijuana, and legalizing it, as part of ending "the failed expensive war on drugs."
He also says he will oppose any boots on the ground in the Middle East initiative the government would come up with.
"I am not an isolationist, but I am a noninterventionist." Stone said in a statement Wednesday.
In October, Roger Stone, Fort Lauderdale’s right-wing conspiracy theorist in residence, claimed Hillary Clinton held a closed-door meeting with Brenda Snipes. Both sides quickly denied it, and Stone later ended up retracting his claims after the video that he’d promised was on the way never ended up surfacing. To a rationally minded person, it would seem clear that the meeting never happened, except maybe in one of Stone’s fever dreams. But Trump supporters are not exactly known for their grasp on logic, and you can be sure that if Trump loses the election, Snipes will be accused of rigging the vote.
Roger Stone says his life is in grave danger. The maverick onetime adviser to Donald Trump and proud practitioner of political rat-fucking claimed in January that someone had tried to poison him with polonium — coincidentally or not, generating international headlines just as he released a book about Trump's campaign.
Now, as accusations mount that Stone had contact with Russian hackers during the election, he says he nearly died again, this morning. The way Stone tells it on Twitter and to CBS4's Jim DeFede, he was a passenger in a car this morning in Pompano Beach when someone in a gray sedan with tinted windows violently T-boned the car and sped away.
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So as a reward for helping a man with the IQ of a turducken swindle Americans into voting for him, Stone now gets to spend his time hanging out at extremely weird parties full of racist college kids in Miami and getting drunk at Irish pubs in Coral Gables in order to sell his book about the 2016 election.
This Monday, Stone will speak in front of the Women's Republican Club of Miami. In keeping with Miami's bent toward the surreal, a man who's at the heart of a probe that could bring down a sitting U.S. president will hold court from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at John Martin's Irish Pub & Restaurant on Miracle Mile in the Gables. You can buy him a beer and ask if he ever saw Richard Nixon nude. Or ask if he ferried messages to Russian hackers for the president of the United States. Anything is possible.
Three days ago, Fox News retracted an explosive story: The FBI was probing whether murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich had sent thousands of emails to WikiLeaks before his mysterious death. Everyone, from the U.S. intelligence community to cybersecurity pros, says the claim is nonsense: The nearly universal consensus is that Russian hackers took the DNC emails that ended up in Julian Assange's hands in an attempt to sway the U.S. presidential election.
Rich's parents penned a heartfelt Washington Post op-ed pleading with conservative media to stop spreading conspiracy theories about their son — a column that has helped spark a mass advertising exodus from Sean Hannity, who has stubbornly refused to back down from the claims.
But Hannity isn't the only media force still pushing the almost certainly bogus Seth Rich-WikiLeaks claims. South Florida's Roger Stone continues to give the conspiracy theories heavy play through his show on InfoWars, his social media accounts, and on his own site, the Stone Zone. Doesn't he feel any need to back down given the rumors' widespread debunking and the Rich family's requests to stop?
"Their right to privacy is important, but not as important as the public's right to the truth," Stone says in a text message to New Times. "Frankly, at this point, the parents should be charged with obstruction."