BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Updated Mon., Jan. 28, 12:15 p.m.: The F.B.I. stormed Roger Stone’s Florida home early last Friday morning, arresting him on federal charges, in connection with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s “Russiagate” investigation.
But that hasn’t stopped Stone, who was freed mere hours later on $250,000 bond, from since making the rounds of the TV news shows and proclaiming his innocence.
The arrest came after Stone was indicted by Mueller’s grand jury. The self-described G.O.P. “dirty trickster” is accused of testifying falsely and misleadingly before the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence about his possible communications with WikiLeaks, plus his documented communications with persons he called “go-betweens” to WikiLeaks, in regards to anti-Hillary Clinton e-mail “dumps” by WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election. He is also accused of telling a Trump campaign official about some of these conversations.
Stone is further accused — in a “witness tampering” charge — of trying to influence one of the purported “go-betweens,” namely, comedian-turned-radio host Randy Credico, not to testify before the committee, or to testify falsely.
For his part, Credico has maintained that he was not a “go-between” or so-called “backchannel” for Stone to WikiLeaks. Credico is not named in the indictment, which refers to him only as “Person 2.”
In a part of the indictment that the media have played up, Stone is accused of threatening, in an e-mail on April 9, 2018, to kidnap Credico’s beloved little therapy dog, Bianca.
“You are a rat. A stoolie you backstab your friends — run your mouth…,” Stone wrote, adding, he was going to “take that dog away from you.” Soon after, Stone e-mailed Credico again, “I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die [expletive].”
The Villager previously reported on these and other e-mails that Credico called threatening.
Meanwhile, for his part, Credico has now been lying low and not talking to the press. However, breaking his silence, he did communicate with The Villager on Sunday night via Facebook messages.
Following Stone’s arrest, Credico had been sporadically posting photos of Bianca on Facebook and Twitter. Asked how he and his canine sidekick were holding up, he sent two big thumbs-up emojis.
Kristin Davis, the so-called “Manhattan Madam,” was on Chris Cuomo’s show on CNN Friday night and said Stone’s comment about wanting to take Bianca away from Credico actually referred to Credico’s poor care of his pet.
In short, she claimed Stone said that “because Randy doesn’t treat his dog well and Stone’s an animal advocate.”
Stone managed Davis’s 2010 campaign for governor, and the two have since remained friends. Davis, speaking on Cuomo’s show, noted that Stone and Credico are “frenemies — they’ve had a horrible, off-and-on relationship for 20-plus years. They threaten each other all the time, and then the next month, they’re going out to dinner.”
Asked for a response to Davis’s trashing his care for Bianca, Credico sent The Villager a photo of Bianca chowing down on a bowl of what resembled some tasty Chinese stir-fry.
“Yeah! It’s broiled chicken on mixed green salad,” Credico said. “I spend more in [sic] her than I do on myself. She’s never had dog food.”
As for Davis, he scoffed, “You think she has any credibility? She hangs with Roger Stone. Isn’t that enough for you?”
Continuing to communicate via Facebook messages, Credico told The Villager, “I’m in a remote area [in] the outer boroughs. … I don’t want anyone to know where the location is.
“I never go out,” he said. “I haven’t left this room. I’m doing voice-overs.”
He said he’s sending files of his voice-over work to producers, “so I don’t need to go out. … I don’t want to talk about it,” he said. “It’s for some pilot.”
Meanwhile, he said he’s been getting ominous phone calls and online messages from Stone supporters. He provided screenshots of some of these e-mails to The Villager.
“The phone calls are worse,” he said, adding, “I had to disable my Web site.”
Ironically, now that he’s in self-imposed seclusion, all the TV news shows are desperate to have him come on. Asked who has been reaching out to him, he said, “Jake Tapper, Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, Erin Burnett and Ari Melber. I may do Melber and Burnett on Wednesday if I feel better.”
Stone, meanwhile — who has been all over the TV — did not respond to requests for an interview. Speaking on Cuomo’s show on Friday night, he stated, “I don’t expect to be convicted… . I know I am innocent. My intention is to plead not guilty and fight the charges. And I have had no discussion about…a pardon [from President Trump].”
Stone was an early campaign adviser to Trump, but left the campaign in 2015, though remains a staunch supporter.
As for the dramatic predawn F.B.I. raid on his home — in which more than two-dozen G-men in bulletproof vests and toting automatic weapons swarmed onto his property — he shrugged, “When you don’t have evidence you use theatrics.”
Stone continues to maintain that Mueller’s investigation still has not turned up evidence of any Russian collusion into the 2016 election, and that what Mueller has on him is a “nothing burger.”
Mueller’s indictment of Stone also refers to an attorney, who may well be Margaret Ratner, widow of the late Bill Kunstler, the famed radical attorney. Credico was friends with Kunstler and Ratner and lived in their Gay St. townhouse in Greenwich Village off and on over the years. Credico also headed the William Moses Kunstler Foundation for Racial Justice.
Again, “Person 2” in the indictment refers to Credico. “Organization 1” refers to WikiLeaks.
The indictment states, “On or about September 19, 2016, STONE texted Person 2 again, writing, ‘Pass my message…to [the head of Organization 1].’ Person 2 responded, ‘I did.’ On or about September 20, 2016, Person 2 forwarded the request to a friend who was an attorney with the ability to contact the head of Organization 1. …”
The “head of Organization 1” is presumably Julian Assange.
Martin Stolar is Credico’s primary attorney on the case. Last month, The Villager first reported that Stolar confirmed that Credico was being — or would be — prepared, or “prepped,” to be a witness in the case, presumably against Stone. Credico had gone down, or would be going, to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal prosecutors, Stolar said last month.
“Randy is clearly a featured player,” Stolar told The Villager last Friday. “He’s known as ‘Person 2.’ … He’s available to testify. I assume that Randy would be a witness that they would like to call.”
For the meantime, Stolar said he has counseled Credico not to talk to the press right now.
While Stone pegged Credico as his “backchannel” to WikiLeaks, Credico has denied that he was. The grand jury’s indictment notes that Stone also described Credico as his “intermediary” with WikiLeaks, and also as a “mutual friend” with “the head of Organization 1,” a.k.a. Assange. Credico, who formerly had a radio show on WBAI, had Assange on the show before the 2016 presidential election, and does consider the WikiLeaks leader a friend.
However, Stolar reiterated last week, “Randy has consistently said he wasn’t the backchannel.”
The indictment notes that Stone’s timeline of when he claims Credico was in communication with WikiLeaks for him doesn’t always stack up. And, in fact, over this past weekend, Stone admitted that he may have forgotten certain communications he had — presumably with persons other than Credico — regarding the dumps of e-mails by John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager.
Stolar added he predicts the indictment of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairperson, will prove more significant than Stone’s.
“Stone was more of a peripheral player and Manafort was right in the middle of it,” he noted.
Former East Village activist John Penley was following the Stone-Credico-Assange story early on and at that time encouraged The Villager to delve into it, leading to an ongoing series of Villager articles, plus Scoopy’s Notebook items, over the past two years.
“If I was him, I’d get that Nixon tattoo covered up on his back,” Penley advised Stone, intimating he could well be doing jail time sometime soon. “And also, since he’s so fashion conscious, and even does a list of the worst-dressed people every year, I’m wondering what he thinks about how he’s going to look in an orange jumpsuit,” he quipped.
“I think it would be fair to say that The Villager was one of the first publications in the country to get quotes from both Credico and Stolar, his lawyer, and Roger Stone himself about this whole thing,” Penley added. “And it’s pretty clear that, as you progressed with the story, the wedge that developed between Stone and Credico — one of the first places that it was highlighted was in The Villager’s coverage. The crack and the rift between Stone and Credico was definitely contributed to by the quotes you had in the early reporting on this. You can see the rift develop in your reporting.”
Told about Penley’s saying The Villager’s coverage started the split between Stone and Credico, attorney Stolar bristled, “I don’t give a s—. I don’t really care where it began or where it led.”
On second thought, he fumed, “Where it begins is Donald Trump — the moron that currently occupies the White House!”
Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly said that F.B.I. agents forcibly entered Roger Stone’s house to arrest him.