November 28, 2018 / by emptywheel


Jerome Corsi Prepared the Lies He told Special Counsel

I noted several times that Jerome Corsi’s lawyer, David Gray, claimed on the record in an interview with the WaPo that Corsi was offered, but declined, to engage in criminal behavior with Roger Stone.

Gray said he was confident that Corsi has done nothing wrong. “Jerry Corsi made decisions that he would not take actions that would give him criminal liability,” he added, declining to elaborate.

Asked if Corsi had opportunities to take such actions, Gray said, “I wouldn’t say he was offered those opportunities. I would say he had communications with Roger Stone. We’ll supply those communications and be cooperative. My client didn’t act further that would give rise to any criminal liability.”

That story was published on October 5, the day before he his first interview with Mueller’s team. We now know some of what Corsi said at that interview. He admitted that Roger Stone had asked him to reach out to WikiLeaks to find out what it had.

CORSI said that in the summer of 2016 an associate (“Person 1”) who CORSI understood to be in regular contact with senior members of the Trump Campaign, including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump, asked CORSI to get in touch with Organization 1 about materials it possessed relevant to the presidential campaign that had not already been released.

But, Corsi claimed in an interview the day after his lawyer had told the press he declined to engage in criminal behavior, he had declined Stone’s request.

CORSI said he declined the request from Person 1 and made clear to Person 1 that trying to contact Organization 1 could be subject to investigation. CORSI also stated that Person 1 never asked CORSI to have another person try to get in contact with Organization 1, and that CORSI told Person 1 that they should just wait until Organization 1 released any materials.

That seems to suggest that Corsi denied he had reached out to Ted Malloch, somehow obtained information on what WikiLeaks had planned, and shared that with Stone because he believed it would involve criminal liability — and his lawyer agreed.

But his plea agreement doesn’t include reaching out to WikiLeaks among the crimes it says would be covered if he took the plea deal. That plea deal only envisioned Corsi’s risk to include lying, more lying, and conspiring to lie.

In consideration of your client’s guilty plea to the above offense, your client will not be further prosecuted criminally by this Office for the conduct set forth in the attached Statement of the Offense; for any other false statements made by him to this Office or to the grand jury between September 6, 2018 and November 2, 2018; and for obstructing, aiding or abetting in the obstruction of, or conspiring to obstruct or commit perjury before congressional or grand jury investigations in connection with the conduct described in the Statement of Offense.

Now, Corsi claims that he told those lies because he didn’t remember what really happened, and because he had deleted all his emails (in a very curiously specific period, January 13 to March 1, which means the government is somehow sure he did it weeks before he first rolled out the public cover story he had worked on with Stone), couldn’t refresh his memory until the FBI obtained the deleted emails from his computer. So it’s possible that Gray really believed Corsi’s claim to have declined Stone’s requests (though it’s unclear why he would have thought that responding to them would involve criminal liability — as I keep saying, speaking to Guccifer 2.0 or WikiLeaks is not, by itself, a crime, and Corsi would have the added protection of being able to claim he was acting as a journalist).

Still, all this seems to suggest that Corsi prepared the lie he told prosecutors, believing that telling the truth would expose him to criminal liability.

That’s going to make it a lot harder to claim this was all an accident brought on by poor memory once he does get charged.

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