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

New York radio host Randy Credico departs federal court following his appearance at the federal trial of Roger Stone in Washington Friday Nov. 8 2019

New York radio host Randy Credico departs federal court following his appearance at the federal trial of Roger Stone in Washington Friday Nov. 8 2019

Bannon testified that he had viewed Stone as the "access point" between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, which disclosed numerous stolen Democratic emails in the months before the 2016 election that were damaging to Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton. The U.S. intelligence community determined the hack was the work of a sophisticated campaign by Russian intelligence operatives to boost Mr. Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.

Bannon said: "The campaign had no official access to WikiLeaks or to Julian Assange".

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

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.

Credico said he never had any inside information about when Wikileaks might release emails nor did he discuss the topic with Stone prior to August 2016 as Stone testified. Bannon appeared to balk."I don't think we had one", he said.At that point, Marando confronted Bannon with his earlier testimony to the grand jury convened by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe of Russian meddling in the election. For almost 90 minutes, defense attorney Robert Buschel challenged earlier testimony by Credico to show that Stone had reason to tell the House panel that the comic had been his source for public statements he made about WikiLeaks as it was releasing the documents.

Randy Credico said Stone pressed him to "go along" with a false account of the operative's contacts with WikiLeaks during the 2016 USA presidential campaign.

"I didn't want to rile the guy", Credico said.

Buschel also referred to Credico's comment on stage in 2018 that he was Stone's back channel - a remark that Credico said he made in jest as a sarcastic joke. A stoolie. My lawyers are dying to rip you to shreds. "I'm going to take that dog away from you", he said in the email, which Credico read aloud in court.

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".

The radio host told the court he's had his dog Bianca, a small breed known as a coton de tulear, since 2006.

"I'm not sure they understood the political ramifications and political nature of this case", said Stone.

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Credico has occasionally provoked laughter in court and warnings from the judge. He says Stone, who had already claimed in interviews to have a back-channel link to Assange, immediately started asking Credico to put him in touch with Assange.

Thursday's testimony detailed the acrimonious collapse of the relationship between the liberal Credico and Stone, a longtime conservative operative who revered Richard Nixon so much that he has the disgraced former president's face tattooed on his back. By then, he told the jury, he knew Stone as a political operative and author he'd met years earlier when Bannon was executive chairman of the right-wing website Breitbart News.

Credico testified he promised to help get Assange to appear on Stone's radio show and pass along messages, but he never followed through.

During a testy cross-examination on Friday, defense counsel accused Credico of attempting to imply both publicly and privately in discussions with Stone that he had a "special relationship" with Assange. "He's a good guest to have on".

Stone also allegedly pressured Credico to plead the 5th and not cooperate with Congress and the Mueller investigation.

Credico did manage to contact Assange through mutual acquaintance Margaret Kunstler, and hosted Assange on his radio show on August 25, 2016.

Prosecutors have said Stone lied about his efforts to learn more about the WikiLeaks releases because the truth about his efforts would "look bad" for Trump.

They went through the pair's text exchanges before Credico's September 2016 trip to London.

Prosecutors are presenting evidence that Stone tried to get information to and from Assange and use the hacked emails and information from Assange to influence the 2016 election.

This specific charade earned him a swift reprimand from the judge: "I know you're a comedian ... but this is serious".

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