With his avant garde outfits and tattoo of Richard Nixon’s face, Roger Stone has long been considered one of America’s preeminent political characters. But federal prosecutors in his criminal case took that notion to new heights on Friday when they filed a motion with the court requesting that the government be permitted to show the jury a four-minute clip from the classic 1974 mob film, “The Godfather Part II,” as part of their case against the former advisor to President Donald Trump.
The excerpt the government intends to show the jury involves the character Frank Pentangeli, a member of the mafia who during the film lies to a Senate committee tasked with investigating organized crime.
Investigators allege that Stone, who is facing charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering, lied when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee regarding his communications with Wikileaks and radio host Randy Credico. In order to make sure their stories aligned, Stone is then alleged encouraged Credico to repeat the same false testimony prior to Credico’s testimony before the Committee. Stone’s encouragement came through several mediums, one of which was a text message that read, “Start practicing your Pantagele [sic],” a reference to the character from the film.
According to the motion, the scene is relevant to the government’s case because it would provide “important context for understanding Stone’s references—including what Stone intended to communicate to the witness and how Stone would have understood the witness’s likely understanding of those messages.”
The government then specifically details why the movie clip would be essential for jurors who may not know what Stone meant by the character reference. Per the motion:
“Frank Pentangeli is a character from the movie The Godfather Part II. In the movie, Pentangeli appears to testify before a congressional committee investigating organized crime. At the beginning of the hearing, Michael Corleone, the organized crime figure whom Pentangeli is about to implicate in his testimony, enters the hearing room accompanied by Pentangeli’s brother. In the film, Pentangeli sees the two men enter the hearing room. In the next scene, a member of Congress states that Pentangeli’s anticipated testimony can ‘corroborate our charges on enough counts for this committee to recommend a charge of perjury against Michael Corleone.’”
“Pentangeli is then asked a question about Corleone’s involvement in organized crime. 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.” Pentangeli then claims that he fabricated his prior testimony regarding Corleone: ‘I kept saying Michael Corleone did this, Michael Corleone did that, so I said, yeah, sure.’”
Roger Stone’s trial is currently set to begin November 5.
[image via ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images]