It may be too late to say that future political developments will be born in movie scenarios. It’s already happening.
If it hasn’t been used so far, we would predict that the famous line, “You can’t handle the truth,” may be echoed in a future trial.
Politico writer Darren Samuelsohn wrote, “Coming soon to Roger Stone’s upcoming trial: A scene from “The Godfather Part II.”
This is a real possibility after federal prosecutors in late July made the unusual request to show a short clip from the famous mafia movie to help bolster their case that the longtime Donald Trump associate Roger Stone tried to tamper with a witness.
At issue is a four-minute scene in which a character named Frank Pentangeli backtracks on blockbuster testimony he’s delivering to Congress about the Corleone crime family.
Stone allegedly referenced the movie scene in text messages to Randy Credico, a witness in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Credico was questioned about his communications with Stone and WikiLeaks, the online platform that published stolen Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The government’s request to show jurors the movie clip came in one of several pleadings made in rapid succession as the government and Stone prepare for the trial, which is scheduled to start Nov. 5, in Washington.
According to the indictment against Stone, he threatened Credico and his pet dog Bianca in an April 2018 text message, telling him he would “take that dog away from you.” Stone also urged Credico to “do a Frank Pentangeli” — a reference to the character who ultimately lies under oath to Congress under pressure from the Corleone family.
“The relevant scene is important context for understanding Stone’s references — including what Stone intended to communicate to the witness and how Stone would have understood the witness’s likely understanding of those messages,” the federal prosecutors wrote regarding the 1974 film.
Stone’s lawyers also asked U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to allow them to present evidence at the trial that WikiLeaks didn’t receive the tranches of stolen Democratic emails from Russia during the 2016 campaign.
Their argument centers around the idea that the entire House investigation that required Stone’s testimony, where he is accused of lying, “was premised on the assumption that the Russian state transferred the stolen data to WikiLeaks.”
The federal prosecutors took a different tact on the same topic. They asked Judge Jackson to block Stone’s lawyers from introducing any evidence on the subject, discussing Russia’s role in the Democratic hacks with the jury, or raising the allegations that Russia coordinated with people tied to the Trump campaign.
Jackson, an appointee of President Barack Obama, banned Stone in July from using any form of social media after ruling he had defied a court-imposed gag order not to comment on anything related to his case.