A liberal Radio host accused of being Roger Stone’s back channel to WikiLeaks told a court today he feared being labeled as the ‘guy who helped Trump win the election’.
Comedian and New York radio host Randy Credico – an avowed left-winger and Bernie Sanders supporter – grew concerned when Stone told the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 that he was his conduit to Julian Assange.
When Credico threatened to contradict Stone’s sworn testimony before Congress, the long-time Trump confidante repeatedly told him to plead the Fifth or do a ‘Frank Pentangeli’, it is claimed.
Prosecutors say that is a reference to a character in Godfather Part II who lies to a congressional committee to help the Corleone family before committing suicide.
The rattled comic eventually did plead the Fifth but only after Stone peppered him with threats and insults, including ‘Prepare to die co**sucker. You are a rat,’ Stone’s trial heard.
Randy Credico carried his dog Bianca as he left court after giving two days of testimony in the Roger Stone trial. He told the court Friday he feared being labeled as the ‘guy who helped Trump win the election’ due to his connections with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, pictured arriving to court with his wife in a gray three-button suit jack and blue striped shirt with a cutaway collar and spotted tie, previously told Congress that Randy Credico was his back channel to WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrived at federal court Friday wearing two shirt and a casual jacket to testify in the trial of Roger Stone
Stone, who arrived to court Friday with his wife wearing a gray three-button suit jack and blue striped shirt with a cutaway collar and spotted tie, even threatened Credico’s therapy dog Bianca, a 13-year-old Coton de Tulear, writing in an text message read out to the trial: ‘I’m going to take that dog away from you.’
‘I have no wife, no kids, just a sister who is still alive,’ Credico testified Friday in court.
The satirist insisted he was a ‘spectator’ not a back channel, as Stone had told lawmakers. He told jurors he became increasingly worried Stone would make him his ‘patsy’.
Credico said he was fearful Stone would try to implicate a close lawyer friend named Margaret Ratner Kunstler, who was part of Assange’s legal team
Credico was also fearful Stone would try to implicate a close lawyer friend named Margaret Ratner Kunstler who was part of Assange’s legal team and had helped get the WikiLeaks boss on Credico’s radio show.
‘I didn’t know what to do. Do I protect myself being associated with Donald Trump?
‘If I do that I sacrifice Mrs Kunstler’s reputation, that’s the line I was walking,’ said Credico, who said he ‘hated’ Hillary Clinton despite his leftist leanings.
‘I certainly didn’t want to be stuck as the guy who helped Trump win the election,’ he said.
In cross examination, Credico was asked if he had tried to ‘play’ Stone by giving him the false impression he had a ‘special relationship’ with Assange.
‘There were exaggerations, there were lies, there were rebuffs, yes,’ he admitted.
Robert Buschel, defending, asked Credico whether he had introduced himself at a 2018 White House press function as ‘Roger Stone’s back channel’.
‘It was with a wink and a nod,’ the comic responded.
Credico conceded Stone was probably joking or adopting hyperbole when he threatened Bianca.
But he said of his erstwhile friend Stone, whom he had known for nearly two decades but fallen out with on numerous occasions: ‘He plays hard ball. He throws a lot of junk. I did not want to get hit.’
Stone’s trial had earlier heard this week how he ‘straight up lied’ to Congress about back-channel efforts to obtain Democratic Party emails hacked by Russia and disseminated by WikiLeaks on the eve of the 2016 election.
The self-proclaimed political dirty trickster wanted to cover his tracks because ‘the truth looked bad for the Trump campaign and the truth looked bad for Donald Trump,’ his trial has heard this week.
Stone not only mislead lawmakers about his attempts to reach WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, he also concealed conversations with high-ranking Trump Campaign officials who were eager to learn what dirt Assange had on their opponent, Hillary Clinton, it’s alleged.
Prosecutors say that Frank Pantangeli is a reference to a character in Godfather Part II who lies to a congressional committee to help the Corleone family before committing suicide (pictured is a photo from the filme)
Randy Credico told the court Friday that Stone told him to plead the Fifth or do a ‘Frank Pentangeli’ – in reference to a character in Godfather Part II who lies to congress (pictured leaving court Friday )
Stone sent a stream of texts to Randy Credico which prosecutors say threatened the DJ and his 13-year-old therapy dog, Bianca the Coton de Tulear
Julian Assange – now in a British prison fighting extradition to the U.S. – was the subject of an attempt to get him to let Roger Stone know what his plans were
Those conversations included email exchanges with jailed former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort as well as former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is due to testify in Stone’s trial along with another disgraced former Trump aide, Rick Gates.
Bannon was pictured arriving to the court in Washington, D.C., bundled up with three shirts, a blazer and a wax coat to brave the brisk 42-degree Fahrenheit temperatures.
THE CHARGES AGAINST ROGER STONE
Roger Stone is charged with:
1. Obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering by trying to get Randy Credico to lie to Congress
2. Lying to Congress that he did not have emails or texts about Julian Assange
3. Lying when he claimed his references to being in touch with Assange were actually about a ‘go-between’ – Randy Credico
4. Lying that he didn’t ask his ‘go-between’ to communicate with Assange
5. Lying that he didn’t text or email the ‘go-between’ about WikiLeaks
6. Lying that he had never discussed conversation with his ‘go-between’ with anyone in the Trump campaign
Stone also made several mysterious phone calls to Trump himself, one just hours after the DNC announced to the world it had been hacked, his Washington, D.C. District Court trial heard.
The silver-haired defendant, accompanied to proceedings this week by his wife Nydia and ‘spiritual advisor’ pastor Randy Short, denies obstructing justice, witness tampering and lying to the committee.
Jurors heard how the wily Republican operative and long-time confidante of Trump, seized upon the now-notorious hacking of Democratic National Committee emails as an opportunity to curry favor and help his friend get into the White House at Clinton’s expense.
He used two different associates to try to tease information from WikiLeaks about their plans to publish stolen emails embarrassing to the former Secretary of State, then contacted both Bannon and Manafort indicating that he could help swing the vote their way and ‘save Trump’s ass’.
But when asked to testify to the House Intelligence Committee one year later about Russian involvement in the DNC hack and attempts to interfere with the election, Stone mislead lawmakers and about his sources and hid a trove of emails, texts and documents, said prosecutor Aaron Zelinksy.
‘In a critical investigation of national importance, the defendant, Roger Stone, repeatedly lied under oath to a congressional committee and lied under oath to cover his tracks,’ he told the jury comprising nine women and three men.
The long-time GOP schemer was indicted by a grand jury as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia.
It’s alleged he told the author and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi in August 2016 to have a friend ‘go see Julian Assange’ and ‘get a hold of emails’ that the WikiLeaks boss had up had up his sleeve.
Stone would later try and hide Corsi’s involvement from lawmakers, however, telling them his sole conduit Credico, who says he first spoke with Assange in September 2016, the month after Stone had been bragging publicly about having a back channel to the Australian activist.
According to the government’s indictment, Stone – who briefly served on Trump’s campaign but was pushed out amid infighting with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski – is accused of telling five lies during his September 26 2017 testimony.
They say he lied that he did not have emails or texts about WikiLeaks and lied that he didn’t ask his ‘go-between’ to communicate with Assange.
It’s alleged he further lied that he only had one associate acting as a back channel when he allegedly had two, and both lied and tampered with a witness when he later tried to get Credico to mislead Congress.
Stone peppered Credico with threats and insults, including ‘Prepare to die co**sucker. You are a rat,’ the trial heard
Bannon is expected to be the star witness against Stone in his trial
Finally, Stone is accused of lying that he had never discussed conversations with his ‘go-between’ with anyone in the Trump campaign.
‘Now you’ll ask why didn’t Roger Stone just tell the truth?’ Zelinsky told 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 to the Trump campaign and the truth looked bad for Donald Trump.’
Bruce Rogow, Stone’s lead defense attorney, claims his client never meant to lie and was merely guilty of boasting and overstating the extent of his contacts.
‘He did brag about his ability to find out what was going on,’ Rogow said. ‘But he had no intermediary.’
That was because, in reality, Credico and Corse were merely ‘playing’ Stone by claiming to have inside knowledge they didn’t have, Rogow said.
And the former Nixon campaign adviser – who has the disgraced former president’s face permanently tattooed on his back – was ‘playing others’ by pretending to have direct contact with WikiLeaks.
‘We think the evidence will show that there was no corrupt intent in whatever was said or done by Mr Stone,’ Rogow said.
At several points during the trial Judge Amy Berman Jackson has criticized ‘irresponsible’ media speculation about the identity of jurors, an apparent reference to alt-right publications claiming an Obama administration official had made it onto the panel.
‘It’s inaccurate and untrue and it puts the safety of everyone involved in this trial, including the jury, at risk,’ she warned Friday.
She also gave jurors a direction they could not refuse: Not to download the Godfather movies on Netflix.