King Con Roger Stone hasn’t been having the greatest 2019. After riding high throughout the 2016 election cycle and watching his wackiest ever play—the transformation of Donald Trump, billionaire TV tycoon, into a political figure—pay off beyond his wildest dreams, much of the shine has now come off Stone, who is eyeing the prospect of joining former partner in crime Paul Manafort behind bars on charges of making false statements and witness tampering later this year. Perhaps even worse for a publicity maven like Stone is the fact that his long swan dive from grace isn’t the talk of the town: Unlike the Manafort trial, where every twist and turn was scrutinized by a press anxious to know whether Manafort would flip against Trump for special counsel Robert Mueller, Stone’s case is playing out in the faint afterglow of the Mueller report and nobody really cares. The fall of Stone is back-page news.
But as Stone’s Rules decree: “Always keep the advantage.” So what if his two-bit mob boss routine is played out? An enterprising con knows there are also benefits to being the forlorn, pitiful underdog. Which might help explain the latest Stone gambit: an email fundraising plea from Roger’s wife, Nydia, to support the Stone Family Support Fund, sent out Thursday afternoon with subject line “I am embarrassed to write this.”
“Dear Friend,” begins the missive. “My husband and I have an urgent new problem and we need your help. I told my husband I was going to write you, one of his most valued supporters. I am embarrassed to write this, but I must.”
“Mrs. Roger Stone” tells a tale of woe: FBI agents swooping in on them at the crack of dawn to arrest her husband, a subsequent “fake news” feeding frenzy causing friends and fans to abandon the Stones.
“He laid off all our consultants, contractors and employees, and we have ‘pulled in our belts’ like so many Americans in ‘tight times,’” she wrote, sounding for all the world like a plucky working-class patriot, not the wife of a man who made and lost his fortune lying in the service of power.
Nydia Stone, seemingly unaware that the Mueller probe has ended and thus a “flip” from Roger wouldn’t mean beans, assures her readers that Stone remains tragically committed to bite the bullet himself rather than betray her readers’ favorite president: “My husband has refused to change his not-guilty plea and insists on fighting for exoneration. He will never bear false witness against the President, never.”
Of course, any Stone missive, even a plea to underwrite a legal fight, needs a little extra flair. So she assures her readers that “We are not asking for a donation—but an ADVANCE, repaid by our pledge to do our best to contribute a like amount to what you give to a charitable organization when this is all over… We should only need help in the seven months before my husband’s trial, when I know in my heart he will be exonerated and we can get back on our feet.”
This fund is separate, the reader should note, from Stone’s legal defense fund, which was launched months ago with a goal of raising $2 million to underwrite Roger’s legal woes. The Stone Family Support Fund, by contrast, is purportedly set up “to help pay for our rent, food, medical expenses, insurance, gasoline, and the most basic of living expenses.”
“I can assure you that every penny is dedicated strictly to our basic no frills living expenses as we face the greatest challenge of our lives and at the same time prepare for my husband’s trial,” Mrs. Stone wrote. “Won’t you please send an emergency contribution of $25, $50, $100, $200, $300, $500, $1,000 or even more to the Stone Family Support Fund today?”
Readers so inclined can donate to the Stone family here. They do after all have a certain standard of living to maintain.