Stone associate denies being 'backchannel' to WikiLeaks

Stone associate denies being 'backchannel' to WikiLeaks
© Aaron Schwartz

Radio host and political activist Randy Credico denied in court on Thursday that he had ever served as an intermediary between Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneAuthorities prepared to hand over Roger Stone records to media: report Bannon: 'We need the Republican establishment on board' to reelect Trump 2019 in Photos: 35 pictures in politics MORE and WikiLeaks, as Stone told Congress.

Credico appeared on the stand Thursday in Stone's trial over charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering to say that he did not have any inside knowledge about WikiLeaks's plans to release emails stolen from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Sanders v. Warren is just for insiders Alan Dershowitz: Argument president cannot be impeached for abusing power a 'strong one' MORE's top campaign aide just ahead of the 2016 election.

Credico said that although he interviewed Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangeWill alleged CIA misbehavior set Julian Assange free? UN official says US is torturing Chelsea Manning with detention Six ways we were blind to screaming red flags about government surveillance MORE, the head of WikiLeaks, on his radio show in August 2016, he did not ask him about any unreleased documents.

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"I never asked him about what he was going to deliver, and I never asked him about his business,” Credico said on the stand. “Julian Assange is not going to tell me about future releases.”

In keeping with the character of Stone's case, the energetic radio host's testimony was unconventional at times and injected some levity after prosecutors spent much of the day walking jurors through a large trove of documents and communications.

Credico detailed a bizarre relationship between him and Stone. Credico, who's also a comedian and voice actor, admitted that he has struggled with alcoholism over the past three decades.

He said that Stone had once spread a rumor that Credico had died suddenly of an overdose, shocking his family and friends.

Credico said on the stand that he had at times led Stone to believe he had closer ties to Assange than was really the case.

Stone is accused of witness tampering for allegedly pressuring Credico into not cooperating with a congressional investigation in which Stone had testified that he didn't have any records about communications regarding Assange and WikiLeaks.

The prosecution revealed extensive records of those communications earlier on Thursday in which Stone repeatedly attacks Credico. And when the House Intelligence Committee started to express an interest in getting testimony from Credico, Stone urged him to imitate Frank Pentangeli, a character in the film "The Godfather II" who lies to Congress about his ties to organized crime.

The prosecution asked Credico if Pentangeli was among the many impressions that he liked to do. Credico said he used to do it for a friend as an inside joke but couldn't remember if he had done it for Stone.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson scolded Credico after he offered to do one of his many impressions on the stand.

"We know you’re a comedian but this is serious business," Jackson said.

Jackson's upbraiding prompted an apology from Credico.

He's expected to return to the stand on Friday morning to finish his testimony.