Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone allegedly called upon the memory of a fictional mobster when trying to cover his tracks of lying to Congress, prosecutors say.
Stone was arrested and indicted Friday on seven counts including obstruction, making false statements and witness tampering, according to the special counsel's office investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Stone's lawyer, who said Stone is innocent, called the charges “ridiculous" and said they're "all about a minor charge about lying to Congress about something that was apparently found later.” Stone himself said he would plead not guilty to the charges.
Stone, a renown political strategist who has also worked for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, is accused of telling Congress he had not exchanged texts or emails with associate Randy Credico during the 2016 campaign.
But prosecutors say Stone did text and email with Credico, who allegedly served as the middle man between Stone and WikiLeaks, the site allegedly used by Russia to publish Hillary Clinton's stolen emails, among others. Some of those texts between the associates, the special counsel says, were about WikiLeaks.
When Credico was called to testify to Congress, Stone allegedly invoked "The Godfather," telling Credico to do a "Frank Pentangeli" and not contradict his testimony, messages show, according to the special counsel's office. But prosecutors say Credico failed to head Stone's warning, telling Stone to "amend your testimony" and to "be honest." Credico told Congress in 2017 he would assert his Fifth Amendment right and not testify, according to CNBC. He later testified in the investigation in 2018 about his dealings with Stone. Credico has not been charged in connection with the special counsel's investigation, and he declined to comment to CNBC on Friday.
In "The Godfather, Part II," Frank Pentangeli is said to be one of the late mob boss Vito Corleone's most trusted associates. When Congress investigates the Corleones' crimes, Pentangeli is called to testify. He ultimately lies to Congress to protect the family and Vito's son Michael, now Don of the Corleone mafia. Pentangeli later kills himself.
Stone, who sports a back tattoo of a smiling Richard Nixon, allegedly continued sending threatening messages to Credico, prosecutors say. Stone allegedly called him a "rat." In an email, Stone allegedly wrote, "You backstab your friends-run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds," according to the indictment. Stone allegedly told Credico to "prepare to die" as well.
In another instance, Stone threatened to steal Credico's service animal, prosecutors say. He allegedly told Credico he would "take that dog away from you," referring to Credico's white Coton de Tuléar named Bianca, CNBC reported.