Special Counsel: Roger Stone Told Witness to Pull a ‘Frank Pentangeli’ to Congress

godfather-ii-Frank-Pentangeli
Paramount Pictures

Longtime political operative Roger Stone was arrested Friday morning in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and was charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements to Congress.

In a statement, the special counsel said the seven-count indictment, which was unsealed following Stone’s arrest, contains one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and a single count of witness tampering. Several of the false statements were made before the House Intelligence Committee, the indictment reads.

The indictment lays out in detail Stone’s conversations about Democratic National Committee emails published by WikiLeaks in the weeks before then-candidate Donald Trump defeat his presidential rival Hillary Clinton. Mueller’s office has said those emails, belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, were hacked by Russian intelligence officers.

Further, the indictment states the Trump campaign directed a senior campaign official to contact Stone after the July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from the DNC and other groups. That official, who is not named in court papers, asked Stone about additional releases and “what other damaging information” WikiLeaks had “regarding the Clinton campaign,” the indictment says.

One section of the indictment says Stone asked a witness to emulate a The Godfather: Part II character who “claims not to know critical information” that he indeed knows, during their testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. “On multiple occasions, including on or about December 1, 2017, STONE told Person 2 that Person 2 should do a “Frank Pentangeli” before 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 testifies before a congressional committee and in that testimony claims not to know critical information that he does in fact know,” according to the indictment.

Below is the scene of Pentangeli’s testimony before lawmakers:

Stone has long attracted investigators’ attention, especially in light of a 2016 tweet that appeared to presage knowledge that emails stolen from Podesta would soon be released. Stone has said he had no inside information about the contents of the emails in WikiLeaks’ possession or the timing of when they would be released.

The longtime political operative has said he learned from Randy Credico, a New York radio host, that WikiLeaks had the emails and planned to disclose them. Stone has released emails that he says support that assertion.

Prosecutors had offered a plea agreement to Stone associate, former InforWars D.C. bureau chief Jerome Corsi that would have required conservative author to admit that he intentionally lied to investigators about a discussion with Stone about WikiLeaks. Corsi rejected the offer and has filed a criminal complaint against the special counsel with the Department of Justice.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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