FBI investigating Roger Stone and Alex Jones’ potential ties to Capitol rioters: report

Justice Department investigators are looking at whether Capitol rioters were "radicalized" before the attack

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published February 22, 2021 11:55AM (EST)

Roger Stone and Alex Jones (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Roger Stone and Alex Jones (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The FBI and the Justice Department are investigating longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone and InfoWars founder Alex Jones' potential ties to the deadly Capitol riot, according to The Washington Post.

Investigators are looking at whether the two Trump allies and "Stop the Steal" organizer Ali Alexander played a role in inciting the January 6 violence as part of a larger investigation into the "radicalization" of the rioters, according to the report.

"We are investigating potential ties between those physically involved in the attack on the Capitol and individuals who may have influenced them, such as Roger Stone, Alex Jones and Ali Alexander," a U.S. official told the outlet.

A law enforcement source told NBC News that "charges were unlikely," though the Post report noted that investigators want to determine "whether anyone who influenced [the rioters] bears enough responsibility to justify potential criminal charges, such as conspiracy or aiding the effort."

All three men pushed former President Donald Trump's false claims about the election ahead of the riot. Stone and Alexander have credited each other with leading and organizing the "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the Capitol attack.

Stone and Jones also have extensive ties to the Proud Boys, whose members were seen in videos leading the invasion of the Capitol and face conspiracy charges for their alleged role in the siege. Stone, who was pardoned by Trump for seven felonies related to the Trump-Russia investigation, testified that he worked closely with Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who later urged members to "turn out in record numbers" on January 6. Tarrio and Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs were also frequent guests on Jones' show. At least 18 members and associates of the group have been charged in connection to the Capitol attack, some of whom appeared to be using communications devices to coordinate, according to prosecutors.

Another video taken on January 6 showed Stone surrounded by members of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government extremist militia group whose members also face conspiracy charges for their alleged role in the riot. Members of the militia acted as security for Stone while he was in town, according to Vice News.

"This is nothing less than an epic struggle for the future of this country between Dark and Light, between the godly and the godless, between Good and Evil," Stone declared at a rally on January 5 in DC, adding, "I will be with you tomorrow—shoulder to shoulder!"

Stone, who helped lead the infamous "Brooks Brothers riot" to oppose the 2000 presidential recount in Florida, has denied any "advance knowledge" of the January 6 riot and said he played "no role whatsoever" in the events of that day. He told the Russian-funded outlet RT that he was invited to lead the march but "declined."

"There is no evidence whatsoever that Roger Stone was involved in any way, or had advance knowledge about the shocking attack that took place at the US Capitol on January 6th. Any implication to the contrary using 'guilt by association' is both dishonest and inaccurate," Stone's attorney Grant Smith told the Post.

Jones has said that he was invited by the White House to "lead the march" from the Ellipse to the Capitol and paid nearly $500,000 to organize the event.

"Roger Stone spent some substantial time with Trump in Florida just a few days ago, and I'm told big things are afoot and Trump's got major actions up his sleeve," he said on his show on January 1.

Jones later said that he didn't lead the march but followed the crowd to the Capitol. His attorney cited a video in which Jones urges the mob not to fight with police.

"If you wish to know what Alex Jones' role was [on Jan. 6] you need look no further than the video," attorney Marc Randazza told the Post.

Alexander said in a now-deleted video that he "schemed up" the event with Reps. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.; Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.; and Mo Brooks, R-Ala., to put "maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting." Brooks and Biggs denied the allegation. Biggs and Gosar later sought pardons from Trump for their role in the event, according to CNN, but Trump turned them down.

Alexander later told the Post last month that he "remained peaceful" during the riot.

"Conflating our legally, peaceful permitted events with the breach of the U.S. Capitol building is defamatory and false," he told the outlet.

Prosecutors have launched an extensive probe into the radicalization of those that took part in the riot, some of whom have blamed Trump and his conservative media allies for stoking lies about the election in court documents.

"Every terrorism case I've ever worked on . . . has shown something about the radicalization process, or how a person came to harbor the views, animosity and intent to commit a crime of violence," Mary McCord, a former top national security official at the Justice Department, told the Post.

But prosecutors would have to clear a high bar to bring charges for incitement.

"It's incredibly hard under current law to say that someone like Alex Jones saying something a day or a week before is going to meet that standard as the law has been interpreted," First Amendment attorney Ken White told the outlet. "I anticipate that you will see increasingly creative alternative approaches by federal prosecutors, like conspiracy."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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