An associate of Roger Stone on Monday defended the Justice Department prosecutors who quit Stone’s case last week after top officials at the department retracted their sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years in prison for the former informal adviser to President Donald Trump.
“I know these prosecutors, I’ve been around them maybe 100 hours over the last year and they’re good guys. They’re decent guys, they’re hard working guys, they’re civil servants,” Randy Credico, who testified against Stone last year, told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “At This Hour.”
Credico, a comedian and radio host who was a longtime Stone associate, had testified against Stone at trial and a jury convicted Stone for threatening Credico in an attempt to keep him from speaking to Congress. But since the trial, Credico has come out in support of Stone, writing a letter to the judge in the case that Stone doesn’t deserve prison time and that he didn’t feel threatened by Stone, even though the former Trump adviser used violent language with him.
Last week, all four federal prosecutors who took the case against Stone withdrew in response to the controversial and politically charged decision by Attorney General William Barr to reduce prosecutors’ recommended sentence, which came hours after Trump criticized it on Twitter. Stone was convicted on seven charges last year that came out of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, including lying to Congress and witness tampering.
Credico’s testimony and subsequent letter to the judge puts him in the middle of the two sentencing memos from the Justice Department.
The jury found Stone threatened Credico with obscenities, said he would steal Credico’s dog and made references to a scene from The Godfather where a mafia associate lies to Congress.
The prosecutors, in their original sentencing memo, even compared Stone’s witness tampering crime with convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s, saying Stone’s was “substantially more serious.” Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is set to sentence Stone on Thursday, gave Manafort a three-and-a-half year prison sentence following his plea on two charges – with 13 months of the sentence stemming from Manafort’s contact with a potential witness before his scheduled trial on lobbying charges. Manafort ultimately pleaded guilty to the witness tampering charge.
In his letter to the judge after the trial, Credico asked Jackson to not send Stone to prison, arguing that “a prison sentence is beyond what is required in this case” and that it would amount to “cruelty.”
“Indeed, with all of his talent and knowledge, Mr. Stone would be an ideal candidate for participation in an alternative to incarceration program that would serve and benefit needy organizations or distressed communities,” the letter read.
The prosecutors who originally recommended a seven-to-nine year sentence for Stone argued that even though Credico didn’t feel directly threatened by Stone, Stone should be punished for his harsh language, saying, “It is the threat itself, not the likelihood of carrying out the threat.”
When the Justice Department later controversially revised their recommendation, they leaned on Credico’s feeling that he wasn’t directly threatened. The revised sentencing memo for Stone, which did not recommend a specific amount of prison time and instead said the department would leave it up to the judge, noted that Credico “did not perceive a genuine threat from the defendant.”
But that reasoning wasn’t fair, Credico said on Monday.
“When they put this out and they used my name and my letter, they’re basically trying to rationalize the cleansing, the purging of the Justice Department and the judiciary. This is very dangerous. That’s a cynical move on their part,” he said.
Last Wednesday, Credico said on Twitter that Trump’s comments on the prosecutors were a “vile smear job.”
“As the son of a man who spent 10 years in prison, I have (consistently) opposed incarceration,” he wrote. “That being said, Trump’s vile smear job on the 4 DC prosecutors were appalling and ominous.”
Of the prosecutors in the case, Credico said in his tweet that “in my experience, I found them to be professional, moral, ethical and non-partisan.”
CNN’s David Shortell, Evan Perez, Kaitlan Collins and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.