'Prepare to die' Trump adviser Stone texted witness, trial jury hears

10 Novembre, 2019, 22:21 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives to testify for the federal trial of Roger Stone at federal court in Washington Friday Nov. 8 2019

Bannon's testimony came after comedian and radio talk show Randy Credico told jurors that Stone pressured him into backing up lies he told Congress, threatening to take away his dog at one point.

Bannon, appearing on the third day of testimony in the trial, said he and Stone had discussed WikiLeaks on several occasions before and after Bannon joined Trump's campaign in August 2016.

"He told me he had a relationship" with Assange, Bannon said, when asked by the prosecution why he chose to email Stone to ask why the news conference had been a dud.

It was the first time in Stone's criminal trial a senior campaign official testified that Stone, accused of lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks, touted his "relationship" with the organization and its founder Julian Assange and implied he could get dirt on Clinton from them.

Under cross examination by Stone's attorney, Robert Buschel, Bannon stated that the Trump campaign had no official "access point", per se.

Comedian Randy Credico testified on Friday he did not believe that President Donald Trump's adviser Roger Stone truly meant to harm Credico's dog when he threatened to do so, which could undercut the government's witness-tampering case against Stone.

U.S. intelligence agencies and former Special Counsel Robert Mueller determined that the emails were stolen by Russian state-backed hackers as part of Moscow's efforts to meddle in the election and boost Trump's candidacy. Stone's lawyers argued that the former Trump adviser did not appear before the House Intelligence Committee with the intention of lying.

In 2016, WikiLeaks released damaging stolen emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign.

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Credico is a key witness in the government's case against Stone, a long-time Republican operative who is charged with obstructing justice, witness tampering and lying to the House of Representatives intelligence committee in its investigation into Russian Federation interference in the 2016 election.

Stone, in sworn testimony to the House committee in its investigation of Russian Federation election meddling, told lawmakers that he had never communicated with any members of Trump's campaign about WikiLeaks or Julian Assange.

On the witness stand, Bannon said Stone boasted about connections to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, regularly implying he had an inside track on WikiLeaks. His discussions with Stone occurred "every couple of weeks", he said.

Stone also is accused of denying the existence of certain emails and texts related to Assange or Wikileaks, and falsely telling the committee that a radio host and comedian named Randy Credico was his "intermediary" with Assange in July 2016.

Credico, who finished his testimony earlier in the day, denied that he was an intermediary with WikiLeaks. "I am going to take that dog away from you". And while Credico testified he considered the threat "hyperbole", he also said that Stone "plays hardball" and "I did not want to rile the guy".

Credico's statement that he did not view Stone's threat against the dog as honest may undercut the government's claim of criminal intent, but the jury will also weigh many other comments and threats by Stone including one in which he said, "Prepare to die". He says Stone used repeated references from the movie "The Godfather Part II" to intimidate him into either backing up Stone's testimony to Congress or refusing to testify. Despite their political differences, Stone was a regular guest on Credico's radio show.

Under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Marando, Bannon began his testimony by briefly recounting his stint as CEO of Trump's campaign, working from the 14th floor of Trump Tower. From the stand, Credico conceded that he was "probably" trying to present himself as having a connection to Assange, but ultimately only knew what was publicly known.

Credico testified on Friday he did not believe that Stone's threats to kidnap his dog were honest, saying under cross-examination by Stone's defense attorney, Robert Buschel, that "it was hyperbole by him". "I'm the bystander, [Stone] is driving the vehicle - I got hit on the side of the road".

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