By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org
Days before shutting down at the end of 2022, the January 6th Committee made public a copy of Fort Lauderdale resident Roger Stone’s December 2021 deposition. Not much was reported about it because the longtime confidante of former President Donald Trump previously announced he’d invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer any questions.
While news of the committee’s interest in Stone wasn’t getable from 32-pages of Stone’s non-answers, it is apparent in the questions the committee asked him – and others. That includes his secretary/scheduler Kristin Davis, perhaps best remembered as the “Manhattan Madam” who ran a high-end prostitution service whose clients, she claimed, included then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
The committee’s questions, likely also of interest to Department of Justice prosecutors, focus largely on what happened to the money Stone raised to pay for “reasonable private security” and other costs of the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on Jan. 5-6, 2021.
“Mr. Stone, the select committee would like to ask you questions about your fundraising efforts for January 6th events, including who had control over the money; how much money was raised, how, if at all, it was spent; and whether it actually, in fact, went to staging, transportation and security,” said a U.S. House committee staffer whose name, like all staff members, was redacted. “Is it your intention to assert the Fifth Amendment privilege to all those questions because your honest answers might expose you to possible criminal prosecution?”
Stone, accompanied by Fort Lauderdale lawyer Grant J. Smith, replied he was taking the Fifth “on advice of counsel.”
STOP THE STEAL FUNDRAISING
Stop the Steal is a slogan used by Roger Stone during the 2016 election. That same year, the domain stopthesteal.org was created. Shortly after President Biden defeated Trump in November 2020, Stone began using that website to raise money “To Support The Stop The Steal Security Project” for what he said would be “the massive peaceful protests planned for Washington DC on January 5th and 6th, which were based on the discredited claims of electoral fraud.
The website suggested recurring donations of up to $2,500. The Washington Post quoted an unidentified source as saying the effort raised about $40,000.
Kristin Davis, who served four months at Rikers prison in 2008 for promoting prostitution and got two more years in 2014 for illegally peddling prescription pills, was interviewed by the committee, voluntarily and not under oath, on Aug. 2, 2022. She said she’s been head of Media strategy and PR for Stone for “14 and a half years, off and on.”
Davis told the committee she was aware that Stone had set up his “stop the steal website to receive support in connection with the rallies,” but didn’t know if the $40,000 figure was correct because she wasn’t involved with that effort.
Davis was more familiar with another of Stone’s fundraising schemes. She told the committee he raised “a few million dollars for [the] Roger Stone defense fund, I think is the website.”
At the bottom of that website is the caution: “Contributions are not deductible for federal income tax purposes. Under the Internal Revenue Code, all contributions to the Roger Stone Legal Defense Fund are considered gifts to Roger Stone.”
DID STONE DEFENSE FUND PAY IRS TAX BILL?
If Davis is correct about the defense fund’s take, that could explain how Stone managed to come up with $2.1 million last summer to settle the IRS’s tax case against him and his wife, Nydia.
While Davis’s answers mostly sought to exonerate Stone of any wrongdoing – For example, when asked if Stone had a role in the attack on the Capitol or had any advance knowledge of the far-right Oath Keepers plan to cause trouble, she said “No” – some of her answers could be more problematic for Stone.
Stone took the Fifth when asked by the committee if Stop the Steal had received any donations, who controlled any donations, and whether he’d hired private security for Jan. 6th. When the committee asked Davis if Stone hired private security for the rallies, she answered straight up, “We did not.”
In fact, testimony clearly established that Stone was guarded by “volunteer” members of the Oath Keepers.
Davis added that she was not aware of any payments made by Stone for permits, staging or transportation involving events on Jan. 5th or 6th. So from her answers, it appears that none of the funds that were raised was spent on the items Stone had listed.
So, what happened to the “Stop the Steal” money?
“I don’t know. I have no idea what was raised. I don’t know, you know, where it went. I don’t know anything about it,” Davis replied.
ROGER STONE TAKES A NAP
It is noteworthy that Davis was represented by Washington lawyer and Federalist Society member Paul Kamenar.
Kamenar, who serves as counsel to the right-wing National Legal and Policy Center, also represented Stone “wingman” Andrew Miller as Miller unsuccessfully resisted testifying as a witness in the investigation of Stone by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The probe focused on Russian attempts to disrupt the 2016 election. Stone was found guilty of obstruction and lying under oath, but was later pardoned by President Trump.
Before the Jan. 6 Committee, Kamenar also represented Stone associate Ali Alexander, the far-right Jan. 6 Stop the Steal organizer. Alexander, whose given name is Ali Akbar, said under oath during his Dec. 9, 2021 deposition that he has a “gentleman’s agreement” with Stone that perpetually allows him to use the phrase Stop the Steal. Alexander was among those who encouraged Trump supporters to rally outside the Capitol building, but told the committee he had sought to “deescalate” things when they turned violent.
Kristin Davis’s testimony provided the committee with some new details about Stone’s presence in Washington on the day of the insurrection. She said that the day before she’d accompanied him on a private jet flight from West Palm Beach that was supplied by Publix supermarkets heiress Julie Fancelli. Fancelli, who Davis described as a “fan” of both Stone and right-wing radio host Alex Jones, also supplied the funds to pay for rooms for Stone, Davis and several others at the luxurious Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, Davis said.
The next day, Davis and Stone flew back to South Florida on another private jet along with owner David Centner. Centner, a Miami philanthropist and co-founder of Centner Academy, and his wife, Leila, contributed $1 million to Trump Victory in 2020.
She said that Stone, a self-proclaimed dirty trickster from his days working for Richard Nixon, had the tables turned on him when he was kept off the speaking stage at the ellipse on Jan. 6 – where President Trump exhorted his supporters to converge on the Capitol.
“He did not think he was going to get on that stage because he felt like it was a dirty trick,” said Davis. “And he felt like Katrina Pierson was behind everything and that, for whatever reason, he wasn’t gonna get on the stage.” Pierson was the spokeswoman for Trump’s 2016 campaign and the liaison between the White House and the rally organizers.
So instead of speaking to a crowd, Stone watched on TV from his Willard Hotel room as events unfolded on TV.
“Shortly after the violence was occurring or whatever it was, was occurring, Roger was like: I’m going to take a nap,” Davis said. “He went into his room. I laid down on the couch.”