It seems likely that Roger Stone will end up facing further charges if he refuses to cooperate with Robert Mueller after being indicted for obstruction and witness tampering on Friday.
After all, that’s what happened to Rick Gates and Paul Manafort when their plea deals started to go off the rails. Gates cracked. Manafort, not so much – or at least not yet.
Stone will appear on Friday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, where he was arrested in a predawn “raid” that, according to media reports, included “about a dozen officers with heavy weapons and tactical vests fann[ing] out across [his] lawn.”
His penchant for stonewalling and belligerence will now be put to the test and so will his pretensions to cinematic glory. The indictment itself is an unmitigated disaster for the White House and hilariously includes a reference to the Godfather II and specifically to Frank Pentangeli.
Specifically, several passages find Stone advising “Person 2” (believed to be radio host Randy Credico) to do a “Frank Pentangeli” when testifying before the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. To wit:
On multiple occasions, including on or about December 1, 2017, STONE told Person 2 that Person 2 should do a “Frank Pentangeli” before HPSCI in order to avoid contradicting STONE’s testimony. Frank Pentangeli is a character in the film The Godfather: Part II, which both STONE and Person 2 had discussed, who testifies before a congressional committee and in that testimony claims not to know critical information that he does in fact know. On or about December 1, 2017, STONE texted Person 2, “And if you turned over anything to the FBI you’re a fool.” Later that day, Person 2 texted STONE, “You need to amend your testimony before I testify on the 15th.” STONE responded, “If you testify you’re a fool. Because of tromp [sic] I could never get away with a certain [sic] my Fifth Amendment rights but you can. I guarantee you you are the one who gets indicted for perjury if you’re stupid enough to testify.”
Here is the scene Stone was referencing for anyone unfortunate enough to have never seen the Godfather II.
So there’s that. I don’t know if Credico had a brother anybody could leverage, but what we do know is what happened to Frank in the film.
He got a visit in prison from Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) who made it clear what Michael (Al Pacino) expected. Here’s that scene:
Frank would make good on his promise, slitting his wrists in the interest of preserving some shred of dignity and protecting his family.
Needless to say, all of this is a public relations nightmare for the White House. The allusions to mob-like behavior out of Trump and his associates (and, of course, actual connections to the Russian underworld) have served as the anchor for any number of media stories about the administration.
Now, we have a literal allusion to the most famous mafia movie in history (and, for what it’s worth, I’m squarely in the camp who thinks Part II is better than Part I – everyone knows you don’t talk about Part III).