Outside Roger Stone’s Hearing, There Was a Circus

Roger Stone is escorted by federal agents into the D.C. District court on January 29, 2018. (Photo: Jared Holt)

Roger Stone, a longtime GOP operative and former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, arrived at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., this morning for an arraignment hearing following his arrest last Friday on one count of obstruction, one count of witness tampering, and five counts of providing false statements in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Waiting outside the courthouse was a gaggle of members of the right-wing hate group, Proud Boys, including Stone mentee Jacob Engels and Big League Politics writer Luke Rohlfing, who both traveled from out of state. Rohlfing told us he financed his own trip to Washington for the arraignment hearing. Engels did not answer when asked who paid for his travel. The Proud Boys have been repeatedly drafted as Stone’s personal security force, and the group has backed Stone as he prepares to possibly stand trial in the Mueller investigation.

(Photo: Jared Holt)

The Proud Boys carried signs featuring an image of Infowars founder Alex Jones (Stone currently works as an Infowars contributor) and posters advertising a fundraiser for Stone’s legal defense that contained a misspelling of the word “verified.” At one point after Stone entered the courthouse, Engels and a heckler engaged in a heated screaming match before they were separated by police.

“How am I a Nazi?” Engels yelled repeatedly at the heckler.

Across the street, activist Claude Taylor, known on Twitter as “TrueFactsStated,” was positioning an inflatable figure depicting Donald Trump as a Russian rat. He told us that he originally struggled to get the figure inflated but that his wife drove to the scene and jump-started his vintage Chevy truck so the rat could achieve its full stature.

A man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat chided reporters, accusing them of covering up pedophilia by high-level people and declaring that those complicit would be going to hell. He began telling reporters he would fight them; the Proud Boys pulled him aside to ask him to calm down his rhetoric. Right Wing Watch asked the heckler if he believed Pizzagate was real and he accused us of using the term “Pizzagate” to cover up actual pedophile crimes (so we will interpret that as a “yes”). Speaking of Pizzagate, One America News correspondent Jack Posobiec, a purveyor of the myth, made a quiet appearance at the courthouse, sliding through a side door. Posobiec has also received mentoring from Stone.

Infowars host Owen Shroyer was streaming for the outlet on the scene and asked this reporter if he would agree to a charity boxing match, as he has done online since we published an article about his claim that media outlets that give positive coverage to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are “partly responsible for the death of Heather Heyer,” a counter-protester who was murdered by a neo-Nazi at the 2017 Unite the Right white supremacist gathering. This reporter declined the offer.

(Photo: Jared Holt)

Fourteen minutes after Stone’s arraignment hearing began, it ended. Stone, via his lawyer, pleaded not guilty. Reporters gathered outside the main entrance of the building and put microphones and cameras in place, expecting Stone to deliver a statement to the press. Instead, he bailed out a side door, triggering a mad scramble of press and protesters while one demonstrator blared the song “Back in the U.S.S.R.” through a Bluetooth loudspeaker.

However, Larry Klayman—the estranged founder of Judicial Watch—did emerge through the same revolving glass door through which Stone originally entered the courthouse and entered into the scrum. Klayman does not represent Stone; he is currently representing former Infowars Washington bureau chief Jerome Corsi in the Mueller investigation—whom Stone and his allies have blamed for Stone’s arrest. Klayman did not take questions from the press.

Correction: The first version of this piece mistakenly placed Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio at the scene in front of the courthouse. We regret the error.