WASHINGTON (CN) —Federal attorneys want to screen a clip from the “The Godfather Part II” at Roger Stone’s trial in November, claiming that it will grant insight into Stone’s alleged witness tampering.
The Department of Justice filed a motion Friday requesting approval from U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to submit a four-minute scene as evidence.
In communications with Randy Credico, a witness in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Stone makes repeated reference to the mafia film character Frank Pentangeli.
The government argues familiarity with Pentangeli’s character is key to grasp the nature of Stone’s alleged witness tampering in communication with Credico.
In the scene, Pentangeli appears to give witness testimony before a congressional committee investigating organized crime leader Michael Corleone. When Corleone enters the room, Pentangeli suddenly claims he fabricated his prior testimony.
“Pentangeli looks behind him, sees Corleone and his brother sitting together, and then claims not to know anything about organized crime. In a dramatic moment, Pentangeli is asked a question about Michael Corleone’s connections to organized crime, and answers, ‘I don’t know nothing about that. Oh—I was in the olive oil business with his father but that was a long time ago,’” the DOJ motion to submit evidence describes.
Stone’s repeated references to the scene in text messages with Credico were clearly a tactic to persuade him to follow Pentangeli’s example, the government argues.
The Friday motion also notes that movie clips have been provided as evidence in prior federal court trials and further argues that to not show the clip would “deprive jurors of significant context.”
“To be sure, the scene depicted in the clip is dramatic, and it bears a similarity to some of the facts in this case—a witness in a congressional investigation pressured to give false testimony to scuttle a potential perjury referral. But that is not prejudicial or confusing—it is what explains Stone’s references to the scene in his messages to Person 2 [Credico],” the DOJ motion states.
The government also requested in motions filed Friday for the judge to block arguments during the trial that relate to Russia providing WikiLeaks stolen data from the Democratic National Committee or the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, or relating to government misconduct in investigating Stone.
Earlier this month, Stone’s attorney Robert Buschel argued in the U.S. District Court in D.C. that the federal agents who launched the investigation on Stone were “reckless” for relying on information from the U.S. intelligence community.
Buschel said the government did not in fact have “high confidence” in the assumption that Russia provided stolen data to WikiLeaks at the time warrants were issued.
But the government argued Friday this does not relate to the charges Stone faces, witness tampering along with obstruction of official proceedings and lying to Congress about his work pursuing information on the hacked WikiLeaks emails.
Meanwhile, Stone on Friday filed a motion to submit evidence in the form of witness testimony and trial exhibits that WikiLeaks did not receive the data from Russia.
“Perhaps most importantly is the fact that WikiLeaks is not the same as Russia – they are two completely separate entities: one is an international non-profit organization and the other is a hostile foreign nation – nor is WikiLeaks a Russian agent, nor has it been so in the past,” the motion states.