Roger Stone, former campaign adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives beside his wife, Nydia Stone, for his criminal…
Roger Stone, former campaign adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives with his wife, Nydia Stone, for his criminal trial on charges of lying to Congress, obstructing justice and witness tampering at U.S. District Court in Washington, Nov. 6, 2019.

WASHINGTON - The prosecution in the trial of Roger Stone on Wednesday painted President Donald Trump's longtime adviser as a liar in a criminal case stemming from former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe that detailed Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. 

After a 12-member jury was selected, opening statements began in the trial in federal court in Washington, with U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson presiding.  

Stone, 67, a veteran Republican political operative, self-described "dirty trickster" and "agent provocateur," has pleaded not guilty to charges of obstructing justice, witness tampering and lying to the House Intelligence Committee. 

Stone has been a friend and ally of Trump for 40 years. 

"Now you'll ask: Why didn't Roger Stone just tell the truth?" prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky asked the jurors. "The evidence in this case will show that Roger Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee because the truth looked bad." 

"The truth looked bad for the Trump campaign, and the truth looked bad for Donald Trump," Zelinsky added. 

FILE - Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs from the U.S. Capitol following his testimony before the House of Representatives, on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 24, 2019.

Zelinsky accused Stone of five categories of lies. Zelinsky also told the jurors the case was not about politics nor was it about who hacked the Democratic National Committee in 2016. U.S. intelligence agencies and Mueller concluded the hacking was done by Russia. 

The defense’s opening statement was to follow. 

Stone is accused of lying to the Intelligence Committee about the Trump campaign's efforts to obtain emails hacked by Russia that were published by the WikiLeaks website to harm Democrat Hillary Clinton's candidacy. The Democrat-led panel is now spearheading the House impeachment inquiry against Trump over his request that Ukraine investigate a Democratic rival, Joe Biden. 

"Stone regularly updated people on the Trump campaign at the senior levels about whatever information he thought he had about WikiLeaks," Zelinsky said, adding that Stone "was going to the very top of the Trump campaign — the CEO of the Trump campaign —  a man named Steve Bannon." 

The charges against Stone stem from Mueller's investigation, although the case is now being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia. Mueller wrapped up his 22-month investigation in March. 

Mueller documented Russian efforts to boost Trump's candidacy, and his probe led to criminal charges against several Trump advisers and campaign aides. Stone and Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager and a former business partner of Stone, were the only two from this group not to plead guilty. 

FILE - Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the Federal District Court after a hearing in Washington, May 23, 2018.

Manafort was convicted by a Virginia jury last year and is currently incarcerated after being sentenced to 7½ years in prison. 

Many of the prospective jurors who were questioned by the judge, prosecutors and defense lawyers during the selection process on Tuesday expressed dislike for Trump — not surprising given that more than 90 percent of voters in the U.S. capital cast their ballots for Clinton in 2016. 

The judge said negative views on the Republican president or working for the government could not be used to justify striking prospective jurors from serving in the trial unless they felt those views might taint their ability to review the evidence fairly and impartially.