Prosecutors want to use ‘Godfather: Part II’ clip at Stone trial
In a filing Friday afternoon, prosecutors asked a judge for permission to show a four-minute clip from the 1974 classic mob film. Stone, a longtime friend and supporter of President Donald Trump, referred to a character while trying to convince an associate to stonewall a House committee that was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“Start practicing your Pantagele [sic],” Stone allegedly texted radio show host Randy Credico while discussing Credico’s potential testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, according to court filings. Prosecutors have said Stone made up a cover story involving Credico to hide his efforts in 2016 to reach WikiLeaks — and that he urged Credico to follow his lead under oath.
In the movie, mafia figure Frank Pentangeli lies to a Senate committee that was investigating organized crime. Prosecutors want to show that scene to jurors at Stone’s trial.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Stone earlier this year as part of the Russia probe. The trial is scheduled to begin on November 5, almost exactly three years after the 2016 election.
Prosecutors also want to exclude evidence and arguments about Russian hacks against Democratic targets and allegations that Russians coordinated with the Trump campaign.
Stone’s lawyers have said the Justice Department must prove at trial that Russia hacked the Democrats and transferred those files to WikiLeaks in order to prove that Stone committed a crime. Prosecutors disagree and are now trying to block this argument from coming up at trial.
“Stone is not charged with participating in Russia’s hacking activities or otherwise conspiring with the Russian government,” prosecutors wrote.
“Evidence and argument about these issues should be excluded from trial because it is irrelevant to the charges at issue in this case and also presents a serious risk of jury confusion, prejudice, and delay.”
The government says that argument will only serve as a distraction. It said it needs to show only that the House Intelligence Committee — which Stone allegedly lied to — was investigating possible Russian involvement in the hacks and potential links to the Trump campaign.
Stone faces charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering. He has not been accused of participating in the Russian hacks against Democrats or conspiring with the Kremlin.
Mueller brought the charges earlier this year before wrapping up the investigation and closing his office.