BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | This is no joke!
Local political comedian and activist Randy Credico has suddenly found himself allegedly “identified as the link” between WikiLeaks and Roger Stone, an adviser to Donald Trump who may have had advance knowledge about hacked e-mails related to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Credico, a longtime fixture on the Downtown scene, has been subpoenaed to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Dec. 15.
On Nov. 9, Representative Adam Schiff, the committee’s ranking Democrat, sent Credico a two-page letter inviting him to appear before the government body as part of its “bipartisan investigation into Russian active measures directed at the 2016 U.S. election.”
Through his lawyer, Martin Stolar, Credico declined to attend.
Hence the subpoena, which Credico received this Tues., Nov. 28 — and promptly tweeted out for all to see.
Over the years, The Villager has frequently reported on Credico’s doings. For 20 years off and on he lived at famed civil-rights attorney Bill Kunstler’s Greenwich Village home on Gay St., and, after Kunstler’s death, headed the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice.
Credico, 63, was an outspoken advocate for the repeal of New York State’s harsh Rockefeller Drug laws. At the same time, he has been open about his own struggles with addiction.
As a fringe candidate, he has run for political office a number of times, including for U.S. Senate versus Chuck Schumer in 2010, for New York City mayor in 2013 and New York governor in 2014. (To read a humorous profile of him by The Villager during his Senate run, click here.)
Currently, he has a Facebook page up called “Randy Credico for Governor of New York 2018.”
During last year’s presidential election, he hosted a regular political comedy night at Theatre 80 St. Mark’s in the East Village.
Credico was a good friend of the late stand-up legend “Professor” Irwin Corey, and in his younger days dated actress and singer Joey Heatherton.
As for why he is now being tied to “Russiagate,” it starts with Credico having had a radio show on WBAI for 18 months, and having both Stone and WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on as guests. Although he no longer has a program on WBAI, he still has one on another Pacifica station.
“I have everybody on my show. I have a very controversial show,” Credico said on Errol Lewis’s “Road to City Hall” on NY1, the day before receiving the subpoena.
Credico said Assange was on his show in August 2016, and that, more recently, he met him in London in the Ecuadoran embassy, where Assange has been holed up the past six years.
“I didn’t actually meet him until eight weeks ago,” Credico told Lewis of the WikiLeaks leader. “I spent two days with him, I got to know him very well.”
He also did a 10-part series on his show, “Assange: Countdown to Freedom.”
Lewis noted that the timing of Credico’s interactions with Assange has raised the suspicion Credico was the supposed “back channel” between Stone and the WikiLeaks founder.
But Credico countered, “I’m no Trump supporter… . I didn’t want him to win. I supported Jill Stein,” referring to the Green Party’s presidential candidate.
Speaking on Wed., Nov. 30, his attorney Stolar scoffed at the accusations against Credico and said he and his client still don’t know whether Credico will talk to the federal committee in D.C. next month.
“The suggestion that Credico is the go-between between Roger Stone and the Trump campaign or some shit like that — it’s absurd,” Stolar told The Villager.
Stolar said he assumes the committee wants to talk to Credico about conversations he had with Stone and Assange that were not publicly aired. The attorney said that, “if that’s where they want to go,” then he is not sure Credico is going to cooperate.
“It’s still under consideration,” he said. “We’re not sure yet.”
He cited “reporter’s privilege,” specifically, “the shielding of sources.”
While New York State does offer journalists some immunity from testifying under “reporter’s privilege,” there is no such federal statute, Stolar noted.
“This is developing law,” he added, noting the legal situation is not clear-cut.
“It’s annoying,” he said. “Look, Randy’s a comic, a satirist. It’s the ultimate satire that he’s being subpoenaed.”
Stolar denied that Credico is enjoying the attention he’s getting over the whole affair.
“He’s not,” Stolar said. “He’s in agony.”
In 2010, Albany political reporter Fred Dicker told The Villager of Credico, “He’s got the comedian’s dark side of loving the limelight.”
Credico does political comedy on Dicker’s radio show.
Credico could not immediately be reached for comment for this article. After attempts to reach him the previous week did not pan out, on Mon., Dec. 4, he e-mailed The Villager saying he was not feeling well and referred questions to Stolar.
Speaking to NY1’s Lewis the day before receiving the subpoena, Credico told him, “I’m going to have to appear before [the committee]. Whether I talk or not…
“I am a journalist, in the sense that I had a radio show for 18 months. I still do reportage for KPFA. And I consider this to be confidential First Amendment protection. So, I’m not sure I’m going to talk to them.
“This is a very important case,” he stressed.
In 2005, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller famously refused to reveal her sources regarding the leaked identity of a C.I.A. officer. She was found in contempt of court and jailed for 85 days.
Stolar noted that Credico’s situation is different since, again, he will probably be asked not to divulge sources but about conversations he had.
On Lewis’s show, Credico, after citing Miller’s name, noted he had “gone to jail” numerous times for protesting stop-and-frisk in New York City — though those were presumably very brief stints in The Tombs awaiting arraignment on his charges.
It’s not disputed that Stone, an infamous G.O.P. operative who worked in Richard Nixon’s administration and on his re-election campaign, was a Trump campaign adviser and supporter.
As the Daily News reported on Wednesday: “Stone repeatedly alluded to an ‘October surprise’ in 2016 just days before Wikileaks published Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s hacked e-mails, raising questions about how he appeared to have prior knowledge of the dumps.”
For his part, Assange, in a recent New Yorker magazine interview, admitted he didn’t want Hillary Clinton to win the presidency, feeling she was the epitome of the entrenched establishment. He indicated he was more willing to roll the dice on a political outsider like Trump and hope for the best.
As for those who might think Credico similarly wanted Trump to win, though, Stolar said it’s nonsense.
“I know, for a fact, he’s a Jill Stein supporter,” he said. “Everyone who knows Randy knows he throws up at the mention of Donald Trump.”
Assuming Credico actually were to talk to the congressional committee, would he do any of his trademark political impressions or other shtick? The Villager asked Stolar.
“You got me,” the attorney laughed. “You think anyone tells Randy what to say?”
As for Stone, Stolar said, “The guy’s probably the dirtiest political operative in American history.”
Stone has already gone before the Intel Committee once, during which he initially refused to name Credico. But he reportedly later privately disclosed — after being threatened with a subpoena — that Credico was the alleged intermediary or back channel between him and Assange.
Meanwhile, former East Village activist John Penley put his own spin on the wild story.
“Credico, for whatever reason, got into bed with Roger Stone, who’s a Nixon hit man,” he told The Villager. “He wanted to help Assange get a pardon from Trump, but he hated Hillary.”
Yet, while Trump did win the election, he and his administration don’t appear interested in letting Assange off the hook for having dumped tons of sensitive U.S. military and diplomatic information on the Internet.
In a statement, Penley said, “As a longtime supporter and listener who has been on the station many times over the years and who knows many people who have shows and listen to WBAI, I can tell you that, while Randy Credico had every right to put anyone on his show he wanted to, many WBAI people have hated Roger Stone since his Nixon days and now associate both Stone and Assange with the alt-right and the campaign that got Trump elected, and wonder why Credico got involved with them in the first place?
“Roger Stone is a mentor to the new generation of alt-right Trump-loving neo-nazis and David Duke followers, and by associating with him, Credico went over to the dark side,” Penley said. “Credico went to bed with Roger Stone, and many of us, especially Vietnam-era vets like me who protested to stop the war, will never forgive him for it.”
According to Aron Kay, Credico sponsored a comedy night at the former Yippie Cafe, at 9 Bleecker St., in 2008 and Stone attended.
In a brief 4-minute stint at the microphone that night, Stone said, “I obviously philosophically come from a different place” than the Yippies. He went on to blast New York’s harsh Rockefeller Drug Laws that have sent low-level offenders to jail for many years, calling them discriminatory, and he praised Credico for his advocacy on reforming the laws. David Patterson had just become New York’s governor a few months earlier and would eventually go on to remove mandatory minimum sentencing from the state’s drug laws.
Kay a.k.a. “The Yippie Pie Man” said he later rebuffed the gonzo conservative politico when he tried to buy some pot from him.
“Roger Stone was there with Credico at No. 9,” recalled Kay, who said he was working the cafe’s front desk that night. “A few days later, Stone called the Yippie office and asked if he could score. He was nixed. He was told, ‘No.’”
Kay said he was not comfortable selling to Stone because, as he told him, “I don’t know you.”
(For a video clip of Stone speaking at the Yippie Cafe, click here.)
Penley mused, “There’s always been love and hate between Roger Stone and the Yippies, all the way back to the Nixon days.”
East Village journalist Paul DeRienzo said it’s well-established that Stone is a big pot smoker.
“I have never met the guy,” he said. “I just know he models himself on Roy Cohn. He likes Trump and Bannon. He loves Nixon, he’s a pothead, and he has Nixon’s face tattooed on his back. And he has no morals.”
Note: The original version of this article did not identify Aron Kay as the Yippie who allegedly refused to sell pot to Roger Stone. Kay, however, subsequently said, on second thought, he did want to be identified.