Notes to Self: Don’t Flip. Avoid Fishing Excursions on Lake Tahoe

Untitled, Watercolor, 12.5" x 14", Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**

Roger Stone is pining for his Nixon days. He privately imagines himself a major player in organized crime, a tough guy, while publicly mocking, attacking and scoffing at the notion and his accusers. Yes, he’s innocent until proven guilty. But when jurors see the many horrible things Stone said, in writing, to his declared go-between with Organization 1 [Wikileaks], “Person 2” aka radio host Randy Credico, in an effort to “knowingly and intentionally corruptly persuade[] and attempt[] to corruptly persuade another person, to wit: Person 2 [Randy Credico], with intent to influence, delay, and prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding,” one alleged threat in particular may be unforgivable. You don’t threaten someone’s dog, for any reason, including to “persuade” or “convince” that person to keep his mouth shut or to testify falsely. Even Credico recognized that by threatening to take his service animal, Stone had “crossed a red line.”

Bosco, the author’s service dog

Note to self: If you choose to “urge” someone to tell lies or keep his mouth shut to avoid exposing your own cover-up and false statements, avoid leaving an electronic trail of threats spelling out what the witness must do and not do and what will happen to him if he does not give into your threats.

If you haven’t read the Indictment, it’s worth a look.

Mr. Mueller left out of the Indictment some of the more offensive, scatological exchanges including Stone’s promise to “piss on” Credico’s grave, and that when Stone wipes his a$$, what’s on the paper is worth more than Credico.

Count 7 of the January 24, 2019 Indictment in United States v. Stone alleges witness tampering. The elements of witness tampering are set forth in quotes and italics above. The question isn’t so much why he allegedly tampered. After he embarked on his own under-oath cover-up, Stone had little choice. The question is why he engaged in the cover-up that thereafter necessitated the tampering. Count 7, witness tampering, in my opinion, will not go well for Mr. Stone. Statutorily, the maximum penalty for witness tampering under federal law is up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000.00 fine or both. More realistically and depending on a number of recognized sentencing factors including certain enhancements, the top end of the sentencing guideline range could be as high as 47–56 months in a federal correctional facility. I’m not opining on the other counts just yet, but on their face the evidence seems compelling.

The set up for Count 7 is that Stone made false statements to the United States House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (“HPSCI”) about five things, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001. Those five things make up Counts 2–6 of the Indictment. [Count 1, obstruction of justice, relates to and overlaps with Stone’s alleged efforts to mislead the HPSCI and influence Credico’s conduct and testimony.] After the 2016 election, the HPSCI began its faux investigation of alleged Russian interference. Mr. Stone claimed both publicly and privately to have communicated with Wikileaks, the organization responsible for the timely and seemingly coordinated release of substantial tranches of emails from the Clinton campaign and the candidate herself, emails the Russians had stolen through hacking and turned over to Wikileaks. Stone, it is alleged, falsely claimed his communications with Wikileaks “had occurred through a person STONE described as a ‘mutual friend,’ ‘go-between,’ and ‘intermediary.’”

The Indictment alleges:

“In the course of his testimony, STONE made deliberately false and misleading statements to the committee concerning, among other things, [1] his possession of documents pertinent to HPSCI’s investigation; [2] the source for his early August 2016 statements about Organization 1 [Wikileaks]; [3] requests he made for information from the head of Organization 1 [Wikileaks]; [4] his communications with his identified intermediary; and [5] his communications with the Trump Campaign about Organization 1 [Wikileaks].”

The Indictment goes into depth on each false statement count, then summarizes:

Count 2: “STONE testified falsely that he did not have emails with third parties about the head of Organization 1 [Wikileaks], and that he did not have any documents, emails, or text messages that refer to the head of Organization 1 [Wikileaks].”

Count 3: “STONE testified falsely that his August 2016 references to being in contact with the head of Organization 1 [Wikileaks] were references to communications with a single ‘go-between,’ ‘mutual friend,’ and ‘intermediary,’ who STONE identified as Person 2 [Randy Credico].” [“STONE also never disclosed his exchanges with Person 1 when answering the HPSCI’s question . . . .” Person 1 is Jerome Corsi.]

Count 4: “STONE testified falsely that he did not ask the person he referred to as his ‘go-between,’ ‘mutual friend,’ and ‘intermediary,’ to communicate anything to the head of Organization 1 [Wikileaks] and did not ask the intermediary to do anything on STONE’s behalf.”

Count 5: “STONE testified falsely that he and the person he referred to as his ‘go-between,’ ‘mutual friend,’ and ‘intermediary’ did not communicate via text message or email about Organization 1 [Wikileaks].”

Count 6: “STONE testified falsely that he had never discussed his conversations with the person he referred to as his ‘go-between,’ ‘mutual friend,’ and ‘intermediary’ with anyone involved in the Trump Campaign.”

Randy Credico was set to give information to the HPSCI. Having allegedly lied to the House committee about a number of things, Stone set out to “convince” Credico to “conform” his testimony to Stone’s, or to keep his mouth shut. “STONE urged Person 2, if asked by HPSCI, to falsely confirm what STONE has previously testified to . . . .” Person 2, however, pushed back, “repeatedly [telling] STONE that his testimony was false and told him to correct his testimony to HPSCI. STONE did not do so. STONE then engaged in a prolonged effort to prevent Person 2 from contradicting STONE’s false statements to HPSCI.”

Stone “urged” Person 2 to invoke the Fifth Amendment and decline to answer questions that would contradict Stone’s false representations. In a moment of nostalgia, Stone put in one text to Credico: “’Stonewall it. Plead the fifth. Anything to save the plan’ . . . Richard Nixon.” “STONE told Person 2 that Person 2 should do a ‘Frank Pentangeli’ before the HPSCI in order to avoid contradicting STONE’s testimony. Frank Pentangeli is a character in the film The Godfather: Part II, which both STONE and Person 2 had discussed, who testified before a congressional committee and in that testimony claims not to know critical information that he does in fact know.”

Credico in fact invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege before the HPSCI “in part to avoid providing evidence that would show STONE’s previous testimony to Congress was false.”

Investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election continued, however, so Stone and Credico continued their discussions about “what information Person 2 would provide to investigators.” Stone persisted in his efforts to “convince” Person 2 either to shut up, not speak with investigators or give false information, all to protect Stone.

Then Stone slipped into “mob-speak”:

“You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends-run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds.”

Stone then crossed even Credico’s red line: “STONE said he would ‘take that dog away from you,’ referring to Person 2’s dog.”

The same day, “STONE wrote to Person 2, ‘I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die [expletive].’”

Stone’s lawyers will likely do everything they can to eliminate dog lovers from the jury. They may also want to suggest that Mr. Stone bring a toothbrush to court.

*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to and

**My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father’s work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father’s art reproduced in and https://lastamendment.comare hers

Attorney engaged in criminal defense and First Amendment law. Board Member, local ACLU affiliate. Progressive.