Jurors overseeing the trial of longtime President Trump confidant Roger Stone in connection to the 2016 Trump presidential campaign's ties to Russia were given unusual orders from the judge: don’t watch mob classic “The Godfather.”
Stone is accused, among other charges, of tampering with Randy Credico — a key witness — by trying to prevent him from contradicting Stone's testimony. During testimony on Thursday, Credico, a former talk show host and comedian, described how his once-friendly relationship with Stone deteriorated over time. Eventually, Stone was making threats and using references to Frank Pentangeli, a character in the movie "The Godfather: Part II,” to intimidate him.
In the 1974 film, mafia boss Pentangeli — played by Michael V. Gazzo — had planned to testify against the godfather, Michael Corleone, but ultimately changed his testimony and instead sabotaged the government.
In multiple instances, Stone urged Credico to "start practicing your pentangeli (sic)."
At day’s-end Thursday, the judge dismissed the jury by warning them against their own independent research on the topics that were discussed, including: "not even downloading 'The Godfather' on Netflix.”
Stone is standing trial in Washington in connection to allegations he lied to Congress to conceal his efforts to contact WikiLeaks for information on the Russian-hacked Democratic National Committee emails. He's also accused of tampering with a key witness — Randy Credico — by trying to prevent him from contradicting Stone's testimony. He denies wrongdoing.
The trial began with jury selection on Tuesday and Credico spent Thursday and Friday on the stand. Credico has said Stone pushed him to "go along" with a false account of the operative's contacts with WikiLeaks during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
Meanwhile, Stone's attorneys attempted to discredit Credico and noted his past alcohol addiction. During attorney Robert Buschel's cross-examination, Credico admitted he was the first person to bring up Pentangeli, and also acknowledged that he had referred to Hillary Clinton as "Luca Brasi" — the name of a hitman in "The Godfather."
Following the conclusion of Credico's testimony on Friday, Steve Bannon was expected to take the stand.