Stone's lawyer clashes with key witness

Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneMatt Gaetz, Roger Stone back far-right activist Laura Loomer in congressional bid Barr: The left 'believes in tearing down the system' New HBO documentary lets Gaetz, Massie, Buck offer their take on how to 'drain the swamp' MORE's lawyer on Friday clashed with a key witness in the longtime Trump adviser's trial over charges of lying to Congress.

During a heated cross-examination, Stone's lawyer questioned the credibility of radio host and political activist Randy Credico, with the judge at numerous times intervening.

ADVERTISEMENT

Stone is accused of lying to lawmakers about his claims of having an intermediary with WikiLeaks as the organization was preparing to release stolen emails from Democratic presidential nominee  Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states California Dems back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden picks Harris as running mate MORE's campaign in 2016.

He told the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 that Credico was his back channel to WikiLeaks. Credico has denied having any inside knowledge about WikiLeaks or feeding any information about the group to Stone.

But in the courtroom on Friday, Robert Buschel, an attorney on Stone's legal team, repeatedly pressed Credico about his ties to Margaret Ratner Kunstler, a lawyer who helped him arrange a radio interview with WikiLeaks publisher Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangeGlenn Greenwald calls charges against Assange a threat to journalistic freedoms Hillicon Valley: Justice Department announces superseding indictment against WikiLeaks' Assange | Facebook ad boycott gains momentum | FBI sees spike in coronavirus-related cyber threats | Boston city government bans facial recognition technology Justice Department announces superseding indictment against Wikileaks' Assange MORE.

Stone's lawyers argued that Credico had portrayed himself as an intermediary to WikiLeaks in the past.

Credico admitted that he once claimed with what he said was "a wink and a nod" to being Stone's back channel to Assange. But he insisted those remarks made at a party in 2018 were not intended to be taken seriously.

Buschel's line of questioning appeared to get under Credico's skin, and the witness responded angrily throughout the cross-examination. Those exchanges promoted Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee, to step in multiple times in to calm tempers.

At one point, an exasperated Credico sarcastically responded, "OK, I'm the back channel, I’m the big back channel, I went to Julian Assange. ... Come on, buddy."

Stone is facing a charge of witness tampering over texts and emails that show him pressuring Credico to not cooperate with a House Intelligence Committee investigation.

Evidence introduced by the prosecution shows Stone hurling crude insults at Credico and, in an apparent reference to Credico's therapy dog Bianca, threatening to "take that dog away from you."

But Credico dealt a blow to the prosecution's case when he said he did not take that threat seriously.

"I know that he would never touch that dog. It was hyperbole by him," he said.

But he also said he was worried about antagonizing Stone, a self-described "dirty trickster."

"I did not want to rile him up," Credico said. "I can’t play on his level. He plays hardball — he throws a lot of junk — I didn’t want to get hit."