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Roger Stone Keeps Lying About the Willard Hotel—and Now We Know Why
Roger Stone wasn't where he told America he was on January 6th, which is why he keeps changing his story about his stay at the Willard Hotel—where Trump's secret war room was. And Stone's lies matter.
On January 29, 2021, Roger Stone threatened to sue Proof for accurately reporting on his actions before and during the January 6 insurrection.
Since—and including—then, every piece of reporting on Stone this publication has offered has (a) remained consistent over time, and (b) been confirmed. What has not been consistent or confirmed are any of Stone’s alibis for the day of the worst attack on American democracy since the Civil War. Stone’s alibis have drifted this way and that, always in response to some new piece of reporting that gives the lie to what Stone had previously sworn was the truth.
This is no real surprise, of course; Stone takes great pride in his reputation as a “dirty trickster” and, besides being a convicted felon, has a decades-long, carefully stoked reputation for dishonesty. Now that a lifetime of perfidy and misdeeds has caught up to him and Donald Trump is no longer resident in the White House to pardon him, Stone’s philosophy, once ably summarized by the late disgraced attorney Roy Cohn, is simple to understand and even simpler to execute: “Deny, deny, deny.” Fortunately, Proof is a publication dedicated to revealing the undeniable—and as to Stone and the January 6 insurrection, there’s much to unravel and even more that’s yet to be revealed.
This article unravels Stone’s shifting January 6 alibis and reveals the apparent reason for the shifts—a reason that is harrowing, and suggests a much larger role for Stone in the events of January 6 than he’s ever admitted or than major media has ever reported.
The Changing Locations of Roger Stone on January 6
Stone keeps changing his story about his movements on Insurrection Day. Below is a brief retrospective of how Stone’s January 6 alibis have shifted over time.
January 9, 2021
Stone tells Alex Jones, in an InfoWars interview, that he did not go to either Trump’s January 6 speech on the White House Ellipse, or even the “Wild Protest” on the U.S. Capitol steps that he had been slated to speak at following Trump’s speech, because he was advised by his many Oath Keeper bodyguards that it would be unsafe to leave the Willard Hotel, where he was then staying. According to Stone,
After my Tuesday night speech [at the Rally for Revival in Freedom Plaza], I awoke [on Wednesday], [and] because the situation at the White House and on the Ellipse was so disorganized and chaotic, my own [Oath Keeper] security detail told me that they could not guarantee my safety were I to go to the Ellipse, and therefore I elected not to go to the Ellipse. I watched the president’s speech, and the speech of others, on television—in my hotel room. And in fact I took photos and video [of myself in my hotel room] so it would be time-stamped. And I can prove that.
These claims are so implausible that Stone would thereafter abandon them completely. On the morning of January 6 there was no “situation” at the “White House” that was either “disorganized” or “chaotic,” nor was there any such situation at the “Ellipse,” where crowds were queueing in an orderly way to access the large space where Trump would soon be speaking. Moreover, Stone and his armed guards were slated to gain access to the “VIP area” at the Ellipse, which was one of the safest zones in DC on January 6—indeed far better guarded than the Willard Hotel, where Stone was staying.
At the VIP area in the Ellipse, Stone was due to meet up with not only Alex Jones but additional Oath Keeper bodyguards (and future federal defendants) Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl, who—despite, per federal indictments, being in regular radio contact with their Oath Keeper colleagues at the Willard—showed up to the VIP area expecting to find Stone there, suggesting that Stone’s non-appearance at the Ellipse was not, in fact, the result of advice to Stone from any Oath Keeper. While Washington would certainly become “disorganized” and “chaotic” later on in the day on January 6, the streets in no way answered to that description on the morning of Insurrection Day.
One possible reason Stone made a unilateral decision to abandon his carefully laid plans on the morning of January 6 was that he somehow had come to apprehend that Washington would soon become “disorganized” and “chaotic” based on information he’d received from Oath Keepers, members of Trump’s Willard “war room,” or both.
Of additional note, here, is the fact that the January 5 livestream of since-arrested white supremacist Tim Gionet (also known as “Baked Alaska”) reveals Stone exiting the Willard Hotel late on Insurrection Eve with only his friend Sal Greco by his side (see below). The two men walk into the darkness, toward Trump International Hotel.
Given how chaotic the evening of January 5 was—just minutes after Stone disappears from Gionet’s livestream, Alex Jones lieutenant Owen Shroyer orchestrates the setting of a fire in the exact spot Stone had just been—Stone’s lack of concern about chaos or disorganization on Insurrection Eve is remarkable and worth additional investigation.
January 13, 2021
On Instagram, Stone claimed, with seemingly deliberate ambiguity, that he skipped out on every obligation he’d taken upon himself for January 6 merely on a whim, saying, “While I was supposed to speak at the Ellipse [alongside Donald Trump] and lead a march from the Ellipse to the Capitol, or speak at the Capitol, or at least allegedly was so [sic], I decided that I wasn’t interested in doing any of those things and in fact I left town while demonstrators were still—to my astonishment—inside the Capitol.”
January 26, 2021
Stone texts VICE that “Since I never left my hotel room at all on January 6, and since I was not at the Capitol and know nothing about the events there, I urge you to be very, very careful [in your reporting].” (Emphasis supplied.)
February 25, 2021
ABC News reports that Stone has “repeatedly said” that “[I] had no role whatsoever in the January 6 events” and “[I] never left the site of my hotel until leaving for Dulles Airport [at 4:45PM on January 6, per a subsequent Stone interview with Alex Jones].”
Analysis: Stone makes two critical changes to his alibi here, just a month after he insisted that he never left his hotel “room” and “knew nothing” about the events at the Capitol as they were unfolding: now Stone says that he remained at “the site of [his] hotel” on January 6, and eliminates his claim of a lack of knowledge about what was happening at the Capitol. Readers of news about the insurrection might perpetually have missed the significance of this subtle shift in Stone’s alibi were it not for the stunning revelation, first reported by Proof, that “the site of [Stone’s] hotel” hosted a massive Trump “war room” and “command center” whose task, in part, was to ensure that everyone inside it had knowledge of what was going on at the Capitol in real time.
Whereas Stone’s second alibi—which saw him in his hotel “room,” with no knowledge of events at the Capitol besides what he watched on television (see here for a video of Stone at the Willard Hotel tweeted by his suite-mate, Kristin M. Davis)—precluded him from having entered Trump’s command center at the Willard, this one does not.
Some may imagine that Stone changed his story in late February 2021 because he had already been caught in a lie twenty days earlier. On February 5, ABC News released video of Stone outside the Willard on the morning of January 6, thereby busting at least one of Stone’s prior statements about that day—that he “never left [his] hotel room at all.” The ABC News video of Stone outside the Willard on January 6 is below:
Those who have followed Stone’s career in politics could easily have guessed that his fear, after February 5, was not merely that evidence of a brief constitutional to the front of his hotel to take selfies with fans would come back to haunt him. Rather, veteran Stone watchers—like this author, who wrote three books in which Stone features (Proof of Collusion, Simon & Schuster, 2018; Proof of Conspiracy, Macmillan, 2019; and Proof of Corruption, Macmillan 2020)—refused to credit his claim that he remained aloof from the greatest political shenanigan-cum-act of sedition in the history of post-Civil War American politics. The odds of an inveterate dirty trickster sitting alone on the sidelines as a Stop the Steal “movement” he founded in 2016 reached its apex were zero. And revelations that arrived subsequent to February 25 have now confirmed that.
Indeed, perhaps one reason Stone was so focused on entrenching his new alibi with ABC News on February 25 is because of an event that occurred on February 20, rather than one on February 5. On February 20, the Washington Post exclusively revealed that the “U.S. [is] investigating possible ties between Roger Stone, Alex Jones, and Capitol rioters”, adding that law enforcement is “principally seeking to understand what the [January 6] rioters were thinking, and who may have influenced [their] beliefs….investigators also want to determine whether anyone who influenced them bears enough responsibility to justify potential criminal charges, such as conspiracy or aiding the effort.” While this line of inquiry would of course cover Stone’s actions in December 2020 as well as before his arrival in Washington in January—for instance, his fundraising for the Oath Keepers headed to D.C. and his late December trip to Mar-a-Lago to discuss unknown subjects with Trump right before the then-president suddenly uprooted himself from Florida to return to the White House—it would also include any communications he had with the Oath Keepers who were protecting him (and who ultimately stormed the Capitol) at the Willard, any communications he had with insurrectionist leaders such as Alex Jones or Ali Alexander or Michael Flynn, and his dissemination of any information Trump’s Willard command center produced.
So is there evidence that Stone met with Jones at the Willard? Is there evidence that Stone met with Flynn at the Willard? Is there evidence that Stone was in possession of, or acquired possession of, critical documentary evidence while he was staying at the Willard? The answer to all of these questions is “yes” (see below).
March 24, 2021
In a late March interview with Alex Jones, Stone, speaking of his NYPD friend and apparent sometimes-bodyguard Sal Greco, said that “He [Greco] was with me the entire time [on January 6]. And we never left our hotel.” While this at first blush might appear to be a mere repeat of Stone’s earlier claim to have “never left the site of [my] hotel,” the essential new component in this case is Stone’s interviewer: Jones. By the time of this particular Stone-Jones interview—they’ve done many—which was broadcast, per usual, via Jones’s conspiracy-theory website, InfoWars, the Washington Post had suggested that, perhaps in conjunction with his Stop the Steal co-organizer, Stone would find himself on the wrong side of federal law enforcement. So in speaking with Jones, it was critical for Stone to extricate himself from a close association with Jones on January 6, and, likewise, for Jones to do so with respect to Stone. If they had never been together while they were both in Washington, DC in January, perhaps, they might have thought, the premise that they had conspired together while in the nation’s capital would evaporate.
Jones obliged Stone this regard, saying, of his association with Stone in DC in January,
I twisted your arm to go [to the Stop the Steal events in DC on January 5 and January 6]. I even gave you a little bit of money because I know you’re broke—to be able to fly up there [to Washington]—and I remember you saying, “I have no money for security. Are you gonna handle it [security for me]?” And I said, “Yeah, get with me [meet up with me in DC],” but you never ended up getting with me because the town was so mobbed you couldn’t even find me. And so Oath Keepers helped you out.
The above narrative is spectacularly disingenuous.
On the evening of January 5, Jones and Stone spoke from the same event stage. Before that, Stone spoke at a Stop the Steal event in front of the Supreme Court building that featured Ali Alexander, Stone and Jones’s fellow Stop the Steal co-organizer—and a man who would spend the entirety of the next day with Jones. Had Stone wanted to coordinate being with Jones and Alexander on January 6, he could have done so at any point either before or after Alexander led the crowd in a “Victory or death!” chant.
Later on in the day at the same general location—Freedom Plaza—Stone reappeared, this time emerging from a “VIP tent” on the plaza to speak to the very same crowd Jones would speak to shortly thereafter. While we don’t know if Stone and Jones were in the tent at the same time, they certainly had the option to be, as both were on the same speaking docket and the tent had been erected specifically so VIPs like Stone and Jones would be able to consort with one another if (say) “the town was mobbed”, as Jones observed to Stone in their March 24 conversation. What we do know is that, per this video, Stone arrived at the VIP tent with Alex Jones lieutenant Owen Shroyer (standing to the immediate left of Stone in the still image below):
Another figure we do know was in the VIP tent while Stone was speaking at Freedom Plaza on the evening of January 5 is Joe Oltmann, who was staying, like Stone, at the Willard Hotel, and would that day and the next day be a participant in Trump’s “war room” at the Willard. Oltmann was excited enough about Stone speaking that Stone is the only speaker from the event he chose to film. Two stills from that video—in which Oltmann and Trumpist “rapper” Forgiato Blow look and speak directly into Oltmann’s cellphone camera—are below:
Not long after this video by Oltmann of Stone’s speech, Jones took the stage for a fiery address now infamous for both its apocalyptic Biblical imagery and the words, shouted by Jones at the top of his lungs, “I DON’T KNOW HOW ALL THIS IS GOING TO END—BUT IF THEY WANT A FIGHT, THEY BETTER BELIEVE THEY’VE GOT ONE!” Yet despite having every opportunity to do so, Stone didn’t “get with” Jones at any point during the so-called Rally for Revival (sometimes known as the Rally to Save America) or so Jones would claim in March.
Had Stone really not had a chance, as Jones would later claim, to meet up with his longtime friend in DC—Stone and Jones are so close that PBS has reported that “the relationship between [Donald] Trump and Jones [was] brokered by Roger Stone”—outside the Willard Hotel, he also could have done so inside the hotel on January 5. How do we know? Because Jones was in the Willard on January 5 conducting an interview with Michael Flynn (see information on how we know the interview was at the Willard here), and photographic evidence suggests that Stone was present at that interview.
In the picture below, taken at the Willard on January 5, Flynn is wearing the same clothes he was wearing for his interview with Jones; Jones’s lieutenant, Owen Shroyer, is in the background; and there’s virtually no possibility that Flynn was at the Willard at any other point on January 5 because one of the recurring themes of his interview with Jones is that he is on a very tight schedule, and can only be at the Willard briefly.
Note also that Stone is wearing the same clothes in the photo above as he is in a photo of him speaking at the Supreme Court building earlier in the day on January 5. Note too the camera equipment—being used by Shroyer and Jones for the Flynn interview—in the lower left-hand corner of the Stone-Flynn photograph.
So perhaps Jones meant only that Stone was unable to “get with him” on January 6, as opposed to January 5?
But this doesn’t track either. As confirmed by aWillard Hotel guest whose Instagram account is screen-shotted below, Jones was at the Willard on the morning of January 6:
And guess who the same guest found in the Willard’s hallways around the same time?
So Jones’s claim that Stone couldn’t meet with him at any point on January 6 because the city outside the Willard was “mobbed” is nonsense; the two men were at the same hotel on both January 5 and January 6, and spoke at the same event at least once on January 5. Beyond this, both men had passes to the VIP area of Trump’s January 6 speech at the White House Ellipse, so there was no need for them to grope blindly for one another across the length and breadth of Washington, DC like two teens without cell phones: all they had to do was meet in the VIP section of a speech being given by the President of the United States. And yet Stone declined to do so.
But putting aside his association with—or ex post efforts at geographic disassociation from—Alex Jones, in the late March Stone-Jones interview Stone also, perhaps sensing himself in a safer space as an InfoWars interviewee (InfoWars being an entertainment program Stone often appears on) backtracked on a key portion of his January 6 alibi, specifically with respect to whether he had any special knowledge of the events at the Capitol. “I have no knowledge of [any plan to commit crimes at the Capitol], and wouldn’t have supported [it] had I known about it. I’d have turned whoever was involved in [to law enforcement].”
The plausibility of Stone’s claim is tested by the fact that six of Stone’s Oath Keeper bodyguards stormed the Capitol and were later arrested by the FBI, and that his suite-mate Kristin Davis observed to the New York Daily News, “There were literally 50 of us staying at the Willard Hotel. I think all the guys, when things were done, just kind of hung out a bit.” This would suggest—if true—that even if Stone didn’t know who planned to do what prior to the attack on the Capitol, he almost certainly knew details significant to law enforcement after the fact. Of course, the fact that Stone tells Jones that he left the Willard at 4:45PM on January 6 brings into significant doubt whether the “hangout” with “fifty” insurrectionists actually occurred “after” the attack on the Capitol (which would have been well “after” 4:45PM on January 6) or before it, indeed possibly on the evening of January 5—more than enough time for Stone to learn, from that hangout, what the Oath Keepers and others were planning for the following day.
Another unresolved question raised by the photographs above, which some sharp-eyed readers may already have caught, is this one: what the hell is the binder in Stone’s hand in that last photo? Was it information that he had provided to, or had received from, Trump’s communications center in Giuliani’s suite at the Willard? There is evidence to suggest that it was (see below).
We don’t know why Stone, who originally said he never left his room at the Willard and had no knowledge whatsoever of anything that was going on in Washington on January 6, was in fact motoring about the hotel with a binder of information in his hand and meeting with fellow insurrectionists (at a minimum) Alex Jones, Michael Flynn, and Owen Shroyer. Nor do we know why Stone spent January 6 using his social media in the way he did, hyping up, per a New York Times Visual Investigations Unit report, a speaking engagement at the U.S. Capitol that he had already decided to skip.
Why did Stone so desperately want the armed mob that had just listened to Trump at the Ellipse to believe that he (Stone) would be speaking at the Capitol, along with so many other MAGA celebrities? How does this synchronize with his claim that he had no involvement whatsoever in anything that happened at the Capitol on January 6, or his initial claim that he believed the “disorganization” and “chaos” in Washington as of the morning of January 6 was already too dangerous for people to venture into? And why did Stone’s strategy—urging Trumpist peons to the Capitol with no intention of going there himself—so perfectly mirror that of his longtime friend Donald Trump, who Stone had advised during a late December trip to Trump’s home in south Florida?
June 6, 2021
On June 6, Proof released a breaking-news report entitled “Team Trump Had a Second Pre-Insurrection War Room.” The report revealed that, during the Rally for Revival in Freedom Plaza on January 5, Ali Alexander made two critical errors while giving an apparently impromptu introduction of Stone from the event stage: (1) he revealed that he had spoken with Trump multiple times, and (2) he revealed that Stone had offered critical “counsel” to Trump’s “legal team”—the very legal team that spent January 5 and January 6 meeting in secret just steps away from Stone’s room at the Willard Hotel.
While Proof cannot yet confirm that Stone was in Giuliani’s suite, his proximity to Joe Oltmann, his odd possession of unknown (but well-organized) data outside his room at the Willard, and his history of providing “counsel” to Trump’s legal team argues in favor of the proposition. Moreover, we know that a friend of Stone’s—Robert Hyde—was in the war room, making it difficult to imagine Hyde not having informed Stone of its existence.
So why—besides a decades-long history of deceit that borders on the pathological—would Stone lie, as he clearly had, about every component of his stay at the Willard?
Could Stone failing to show up at the Ellipse on January 6 have anything to do with the fact that by the morning of Insurrection Day he had gotten—from any of Alexander, Jones, Oltmann, Giuliani, Oath Keeper conspirators, other guests at the Willard Hotel, members of the Trump war room at the Willard, or his own contacts inside the White House and Trump campaign—enough of a lay of the land to know what was going happen at the Capitol, and so could happen to him (legally speaking) if he went there?