At the time, Stone was trying to learn more about hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign that might tank her run against then-candidate Donald Trump. The emails were stolen by Russian agents and shared with the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which released them at critical points in the 2016 election cycle, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors say Stone, a longtime friend of then-candidate Donald Trump, lied to protect the president when lawmakers questioned Stone in 2017 about what he’d done during the campaign.
Credico on Friday said Stone influenced his decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination as the House Intelligence Committee investigated Russian campaign interference. “A lot of people played a role,” said Credico, “Mr. Stone amongst them.”
“You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends-run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds,” Stone texted Credico in April 2018, evidence shows. Stone later added, “I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die.”
Stone, 67, a longtime confidant of Trump, has pleaded not guilty, and his attorneys have said any misstatements he made to Congress were unintentional.
Credico, a comedian and former talk radio host, provided bursts of comic relief for jurors who sat through hours of testimony Thursday by a former FBI case agent reading aloud excerpts of dozens of emails, text messages and transcripts.
Trial judge Amy Berman Jackson chuckled along initially, before reminding Credico, “We know you’re a comedian, but this is serious business.”
Stone’s attorneys have signaled that they will attack Credico’s credibility.
On the stand, Credico said he’s been sober on and off “for the last 40 years” but was not like Ray Milland’s character in “The Lost Weekend” or Otis Campbell in “The Andy Griffith Show,” characters who were sloppy drunkards.
Prosecutors also said at the end of Thursday’s session that they may question up to two more government witnesses whom they did not name Friday, the third day of testimony in Stone’s trial in Washington.
Prosecutors in opening statements had told jurors they would hear from former Trump campaign chief executive Stephen K. Bannon and deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates about Stone’s contacts with the Trump campaign and his efforts to learn more about WikiLeaks’ releases of information that might help tank rival Hillary Clinton’s presidential run.
A longtime Trump adviser and political consultant, Stone told Trump campaign officials and associates that more damaging Clinton emails would be coming throughout the late summer and early fall of 2016.
After WikiLeaks began releasing hacked data in summer 2016, Stone emailed Bannon, writing that “Trump can still win, but time is running out,” according to a copy of the message shown to jurors. “I know how to win, but it ain’t pretty.”
Stone’s defense team has said in trial that their client was a braggard who touted contacts he didn’t really have and that he was being played by people close to him who also were boastful about connections and information they, too, lacked.
Prosecutors also have pointed to an email Stone sent to then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Aug. 3, 2016, seeking to speak to him.
“I have an idea,” Stone emailed, “To save Trump’s a–. Call me pls.” Manafort, who was among Mueller’s early targets, is in prison. He was convicted last year of financial crimes unrelated to Russia’s election interference.
Gates, Manafort’s campaign deputy and later co-defendant, entered a plea agreement and cooperated with Mueller prosecutors regarding the campaign’s inner operations. Gates awaits sentencing.