Roger Stone says an attempt by prosecutors to show his jury a clip from the film “The Godfather: Part II” – that could suggest he’s a mob boss – is out of bounds.
Showing the clip to the jury would imply that Stone is Michael Corleone – the trilogy’s protagonist and antihero, his legal team argued in a court filing Friday.
“It makes Roger Stone the Michael Corleone character in this analogy – an iconic violent godfather of the Mafia,” Stone’s lawyers wrote.
The four-minute scene shows a mobster, Frank Pentangeli, lying to a Senate committee that was investigating organized crime as Corleone watched.
Stone had referenced the scene and the mobster character as he allegedly threatened a witness in the Russia investigation about what the witness, Randy Credico, might say about Stone to Congress. Stone pleaded not guilty to witness tampering, among other charges.
“Start practicing your Pantagele [sic],” Stone allegedly texted radio show host Credico while discussing Credico’s potential testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, according to court filings.
Stone is also accused of lying to Congress and obstructing justice about his attempts to reach WikiLeaks in 2016 for information the organization had that could help with Donald Trump’s campaign. Stone had attempted to use Credico as a go-between for the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, according to prosecutors, and wanted Credico to change his testimony to Congress so Credico wouldn’t contradict Stone or give the FBI information.
Stone’s legal team on Friday said that he wasn’t threatening Credico – he was merely making a joke to Credico about a fictional character whom Credico can impersonate.
He also argues that the jury shouldn’t be guided to believe Credico and Stone have mafia ties.
“The introduction of the movie clip is meant to inflame and over-sensationalize Stone’s alleged behavior,” Stone said. “It is a stunt. It does way more than what the government should be permitted to prove.”
Stone also objected to any comparisons to the type of crimes committed in the film.
“The context of the clip is regarding murder – a violent felony – which is not remotely similar to any of the crimes Stone was charged with,” the filing states. “It is akin to comparing apples and broccoli, except with the crucial fact that a mischaracterization could result in a loss of liberty and freedom.”
Credico is likely to testify at the trial against Stone. The trial is set to begin in November.