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"New Delhi Times" featured featured Pace Haub Law School professor Bennett Gershman in "Stone indictment offers clues, prompts questions about Russia probe"

01/31/2019

"New Delhi Times" featured featured Pace Haub Law School professor Bennett Gershman in "Stone indictment offers clues, prompts questions about Russia probe"

...Bennett Gershman, a professor at Pace Law School in New York who closely follows the Mueller investigation, said the indictment paints Stone as a “conduit” between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks.

​“It gets the investigation closer to the inner workings of the Trump campaign and the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia,” Gershman said.

Trump has denied any advance knowledge of the WikiLeaks email dumps. Stone has said he never discussed them with Trump during or after the campaign.

While the indictment doesn’t’ charge any conspiracy between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks or Russia, that charge may come later, Gershman said. How much later is only a guess. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said Monday that the special counsel investigation was “close to being completed.”

“This is a preliminary charge that will become much more significant later on,” Gershman said.

Randall Eliason, a former federal prosecutor now a law professor at George Washington University, said the special counsel would have charged Stone with conspiracy had he thought Stone’s contacts with WikiLeaks were illegal.

“I think the fact that the special counsel didn’t charge that conspiracy might be a bit of a sign that maybe the evidence of a broader criminal conspiracy isn’t’ there, at least not yet,” Eliason said.

Stone’s actions may have been “deplorable” but not illegal, he said.

“You can call that colluding, working together, sharing information but there is not necessarily an underlying crime involved there,” Eliason said.

Paul Rosenzweig, another former federal prosecutor, said there appears to be more to the indictment than meets the eye.

“I think there are some hints here of more information about interactions with the Russians that do continue to build a case for illegal coordination between trump camp and Russia,” Rosenzweig, now a senior fellow at the R Street in Washington, said.

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