It was all over the news last week.
Prosecutors for the US Department of Justice asked permission to show a video clip from the 1974 film, “The Godfather Part II”, at Roger Stone’s upcoming trial.
The judge has not ruled on the request.
Stone is charged with witness tampering, obstruction of an official proceeding and making false statements during his testimony before a House Committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Stone is not accused of collaborating with the Russians. His indictment stems from the Robert Mueller investigation.
Prosecutors allege Stone referred to a character in the Godfather while texting comedian and radio host, Randy Credico, who was subpoenaed to testify before the House Committee on Russian interference.
“Start practicing your Pentangeli,” Stone texted Credico in late 2017.
The Stone indictment reads, “Frank Pentangeli is a character in the film The Godfather: Part II, which both STONE and [Credico] had discussed, who testifies before a congressional committee and in that testimony claims not to know critical information that he does in fact know.”
In the clip, Pentangeli is testifying before a Senate committee about the Godfather, Michael Corleone, when Corleone surprises him by bringing Pentangeli,s brother, Vincenzo, to the hearing. Frank realizes he is putting his family at risk and suddenly testifies he doesn’t know anything about Corelone’s crimes.
What prosecutors in the Stone case may not know, or at least they may not care to mention to the jury, is that Credico is an impressionist.
He broke into comedy when he appeared on the Johnny Carson show decades ago. He does a raft of impressions from Bill Clinton, to Ronald Reagan, Al Sharpton, even Diogenes.
Credico also does Frank Pentangeli. He has done that scene in the Godfather for years and it is comedy gold.
In fact, he does a whole Godfather comedy routine changing names around to suit his audience.
A zealous prosecutor, Assistant US Attorney Jonathan Kravis will undoubtedly make a point of how serious and intimidating Stone was when he texted Credico saying, “Start practicing your Pentangeli.”
But it will likely come out in the trial that Credico never really took the character of Frank Pentangeli too seriously in his life.
Perhaps Stone’s lawyers will show the jury a clip of Credico’s impersonation of Pentangeli,, or ask Credico how many times he has “done Pentangali” in his long career.
Maybe Stone’s defense attorneys might even ask Credico to do his imitation of Pentangeli, before the jury.
I can see it now.
Credico mugging, “Look, the FBI guys, they promised me a deal. So, so I made up a lot of stuff about Roger Stone ’cause that’s what they wanted. But it was all lies. Uh, everything. And I kept saying Roger Stone did this and Roger Stone did that. So, I said yeah sure – why not?”
Credico might give the jury a good laugh and during serious trials, that’s usually good for the defense.
Yet, some jurors might think prosecutor Kravis was a little dishonest if he fails to mention that Credico does such a fine Pentangeli in his comic routine.
They might even think it makes Kravis look a little ridiculous.
And, as we all know, a man in prosecutor Kravis’s position can’t afford to be made to look ridiculous.
The trial is scheduled to begin on November 5.