Team Chat Connected to Roger Stone Demonstrates Ties Amongst Jan. six Figures
It was regarded as F.O.S. — or Pals of Stone — and when its associates shifted about time, they were being a motley solid of figures.
There were being “Stop the Steal” organizers, ideal-wing influencers, Florida point out legislative aides and a lot more than a single unsuccessful applicant faithful to previous President Donald J. Trump. Just one participant ran a web-site that promoted disinformation about the Capitol assault. An additional was an officer in the Military Reserve allied with Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s previous countrywide safety adviser.
At minimum a few associates of the team chat are now going through expenses in relationship with the riot at the Capitol in January 2021. They contain Owen Shroyer, the ideal-hand gentleman of the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones Enrique Tarrio, the onetime chairman of the Happy Boys and Stewart Rhodes, the chief of the Oath Keepers militia.
But the concentrate of the chat was often the gentleman whose image topped its property web page: Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime political operative and adviser to Mr. Trump.
Even though minimal is regarded about what was explained on the chat, the membership record of Pals of Stone, presented to The New York Moments by a single of its members, provides a type of highway map to Mr. Stone’s associations, demonstrating their scope and character in the important interval soon after the 2020 election. All through that time, Mr. Stone was included with a strikingly extensive array of individuals who participated in endeavours to problem the vote rely and continue to keep Mr. Trump in the White Property.
Some of the forty seven individuals on the record are recognized only by nicknames or initials, and Mr. Stone experienced pre-current political ties with lots of of them. Nevertheless, as prosecutors deepen their inquiry into the storming of Capitol, the record indicates that Mr. Stone experienced the usually means to be in non-public get hold of with vital gamers in the situations of Jan. six — political organizers, considerably-ideal extremists and influential media figures who subsequently performed down the assault.
Arrived at by e mail, Mr. Stone explained that he did not management who was admitted to the team chat and mentioned that Prevent the Steal pursuits were being safeguarded by the 1st Modification.
“There is no tale,” he wrote. “Just harassment.”
Even though the origins of the team chat continue to be to some degree obscure, Pals of Stone has existed given that at minimum 2019, when Mr. Stone was indicted in relationship with the Russia investigation by the distinctive counsel Robert S. Mueller III, explained a single of its members, Pete Santilli, a veteran ideal-wing radio host. In accordance to Mr. Santilli, the team chat — hosted on the encrypted application Sign — was a type of secure area exactly where professional-Stone figures in politics and media, lots of of whom were being banned from social media, could get alongside one another and trade back links and tales about their mutual mate.
“The principal explanation for the chat was to have a put for supporters to share things,” Mr. Santilli explained. “You fall a connection and every person shares it on their nontraditional channels.”
But soon after Mr. Trump’s defeat, Pals of Stone appeared to think a different objective as Mr. Stone uncovered himself in the center of the accelerating Prevent the Steal motion devised to problem the benefits of the election. The Washington Put up, citing footage from a Danish documentary movie crew that was next Mr. Stone, explained that in early November 2020, he requested his aides to immediate all those included in the effort and hard work to check the chat for developments.
In new months, the Justice Section has expanded its investigation of the riot from all those who bodily attacked the Capitol to all those who were being not at the constructing but could have served to condition or guidebook the violence. Investigators seem to be intrigued in getting any back links amongst organizers who prepared professional-Trump rallies at the Capitol that working day and ideal-wing militants who took component in the assault.
The team chat’s membership record involves quite a few individuals who match that description.
Named on the record are activists like Marsha Lessard and Christina Skaggs, leaders of a team known as the Virginia Flexibility Keepers who served to arrange an anti-vaccine rally scheduled for the east facet of the Capitol on Jan. six. Ms. Lessard and Ms. Skaggs labored with a different anti-vaccine activist, Ty Bollinger, who was also on the record.
Associates of the team were being amongst all those who took component in a convention contact on Dec. thirty, 2020, when a social media pro who previously labored for Mr. Stone urged his listeners to “descend on the Capitol” a single 7 days afterwards, promising that Joseph R. Biden Jr. “will hardly ever be in that White Property.”
Ms. Lessard, Ms. Skaggs and Mr. Bollinger did not return telephone phone calls trying to find remark.
Ali Alexander, a single of the most popular Prevent the Steal organizers who prepared his personal occasion at the Capitol that working day, was on the record as effectively. His law firm did not return a telephone contact trying to find remark.
In the times main up to Jan. six, Mr. Stone was scheduled to converse at each Mr. Alexander’s occasion and the rally hosted by Ms. Lessard, Ms. Skaggs and many others, which include Bianca Gracia, the chief of a team known as Latinos for Trump, in accordance to permits and occasion fliers. Mr. Stone hardly ever spoke at all those situations, nonetheless, and hurried out of Washington even as the law enforcement were being even now securing the Capitol, in accordance to the movie footage cited by The Put up.
Mr. Stone’s connections to Mr. Rhodes and the Oath Keepers were being primarily based, at minimum in component, on the truth that the militia team presented safety for him on Jan. five and Jan. six. The Oath Keepers also safeguarded Mr. Alexander and his entourage on Jan. six and served as safety at the situations hosted by Ms. Skaggs, Ms. Lessard and Ms. Gracia, courtroom papers say.
At minimum a single of Mr. Stone’s Oath Keeper bodyguards, Joshua James, has pleaded responsible to seditious conspiracy expenses in the Capitol assault and is cooperating with the government’s inquiry. Kellye SoRelle, a law firm for the Oath Keepers, was component of the Pals of Stone chat as effectively and is also explained to be cooperating with prosecutors in the riot investigation.
Mr. Stone, a Florida resident, has very long managed near ties to the Happy Boys, particularly to Mr. Tarrio, who lived in Miami in advance of his arrest. Associates of the Happy Boys have acted as bodyguards for Mr. Stone and have served as some of his most vocal supporters.
In 2019, soon after Mr. Stone was indicted by Mr. Mueller on expenses which include obstruction and witness tampering, Mr. Tarrio responded by carrying a T-shirt reading through “Roger Stone Did Absolutely nothing Wrong” at a single of Mr. Trump’s political rallies. At a single issue, Mr. Tarrio’s own cellphone experienced a information recorded by Mr. Stone.
Nayib Hassan, Mr. Tarrio’s law firm, declined to remark on his client’s part in the chat.
All through his prosecution, Mr. Stone posted an picture on social media of the federal choose in his situation, Amy Berman Jackson, with cross hairs future to her head. When questioned in courtroom about the picture, he acknowledged that he experienced been despatched a collection of pictures by Mr. Tarrio and two other Florida Happy Boys whose names seem on the Pals of Stone membership record: Jacobs Engels and Tyler Ziolkowski.
Mr. Engels was with Mr. Stone in Washington on Jan. five and Jan. six. He in the beginning agreed to chat about the team chat but then did not return a telephone contact mainly because of what he afterwards explained as a household unexpected emergency.
An additional human being who appeared on the Pals of Stone record — below the identify “Ivan” — was Ivan Raiklin, an Military Reserve lieutenant colonel who promoted a strategy soon after the election to stress Vice President Mike Pence not to certify electors from quite a few disputed swing states. This strategy, which Mr. Raiklin known as the “Pence Card,” was finally taken up by Mr. Trump and some of his authorized advisers, like the law firm John Eastman.
Mr. Raiklin, who did not return telephone phone calls trying to find remark, was at the Capitol on Jan. six, but confirmed no indicator of coming into the constructing. Intently aligned with Mr. Flynn, he has ongoing to query the benefits of the 2020 vote, showing at so-known as election integrity situations and arguing that Mr. Trump was established up by associates of the “deep point out.”
Even though the authorities has collected 1000’s of internet pages of non-public messages in its wide investigation of the Capitol assault, it continues to be unclear if prosecutors have gotten entry to the Pals of Stone team chat. Together with the membership record, The Moments was provided photos of a number of snippets of discussions to validate the chat’s authenticity.
In a single of them, Ms. Skaggs informed the team that she experienced just spoken with the professional-Trump law firm L. Lin Wooden, who took component in the effort and hard work to overturn the election. Ms. Skaggs’s information, which does not bear a day, explained Mr. Wooden was professing that the Insurrection Act — a kind of martial regulation — experienced been invoked the evening in advance of.
Responding to her information, Mr. Rhodes, who experienced continuously urged Mr. Trump to use the Insurrection Act to remain in electrical power, answered incredulously.
“I’ll imagine it when I see it,” he wrote, dismissing the account with an obscenity.