A Discussion of a Pardon for Assange Is Why Stone’s Threats against Credico Worked
Given events of the last several days, I want to return to an exchange from Roger Stone trial. It came during Aaron Zelinksy’s questioning of Randy Credico. The exchange started with a discussion of a May 21, 2018 email exchange between Stone and Credico.
It started when Credico told Stone “you should have just been honest with the house intel committee… you opened yourself up to perjury charges like an idiot…”
Stone responded by threatening Margaret Kunstler.
You are so full of shit. You got nothing. Keep running your mouth and I’ll file a bar complaint against your friend Margaret.
Without any more context, Credico responded,
Go right ahead she’s no Assange lawyer never has been…
Several months earlier, Stone had threatened to expose that, in September 2016, Credico had forwarded a Stone request to find out of Assange had any emails relating to Libya and R.K. Paul to Kunstler.
But the questioning in the trial suggested this May 2018 threat related to something else. After getting Credico to read through the May 2018 email, Zelisnky immediately pivoted to something else: how Credico put Stone in touch with Kunstler in 2016 to discuss a pardon for Assange.
Q. What did you write to Mr. Stone on May 21st, 2018?
A. “Go right ahead. She’s not Assange’s lawyer.”
Q. I’m sorry. Below that. Let’s start at the first message, “You should have.” All the way at the bottom.
A. Where? Where am I? Here, “You should have.”
“You should have just been honest with the House Intel Committee. You’ve opened yourself up to perjury charges like an idiot. You have different versions. Maybe you need to get into rehab and get that memory straight.”
Q. What did Mr. Stone respond?
A. I don’t see it here.
Q. Just above that, do you see —
A. Oh, yes. “You are so full of S-H-I-T. You got nothing. Keep running your mouth and I’ll file a bar complaint against your friend Margaret.”
Q. And when he says “your friend Margaret,” who is he referring to?
A. Margaret Ratner Kunstler.
Q. Had you put Mr. Stone directly in touch with Ms. Kunstler after the election?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. And why had you done that?
A. Well, sometime after the election, he wanted me to contact Mrs. Kunstler. He called me up and said that he had spoken to Judge Napolitano about getting Julian Assange a pardon and needed to talk to Mrs. Kunstler about it. So I said, Okay. And I sat on it. And I told her–I told her–she didn’t act on it. And then, eventually, she did, and they had a conversation.
Q. And at this time period, in May of 2018, how did you feel about having put Ms. Kunstler directly in touch with Mr. Stone?
A. I was — I was ashamed of myself that I had done that. I should have never done that, you know. I don’t blame him; I blame me for doing that.
Q. For the remainder of 2018, did you continue to be concerned about Mr. Stone?
A. Remainder of 2018?
Q. Yes, sir.
A. Well, yes, I did.
Q. Why were you concerned about Mr. Stone?
A. Well, this is it, right here. This is the crux of it, is bringing Margaret into this, Mrs. Kunstler into it. That was the crux of it.
The suggestion — at least in the context of this particularly threat — is that it was the late 2016 contact, not the September 2016 one, that Credico primarily worried about.
For what it’s worth, this is not the only time Credico denied that Kunstler was Assange’s lawyer (even though he bragged about that colloquially during the election). During cross-examination from Robert Buschel, Credico dodged mightily, even claiming — in a statement that might put complaints about surveillance of Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in a different light — that Assange has “about 1,000 lawyers.” Though ultimately Credico said that Kunstler represented Sarah Harrison, not Assange.
Q. Margaret Kunstler is one of WikiLeaks’s lawyers?
A. You’ll let — she’s going to have to describe her role as a — what her role is with WikiLeaks. You know, I don’t — he has — Julian Assange has about 1,000 lawyers. You know, Michael Ratner was one of his lawyers. Alan Dershowitz was one of his lawyers.
Q. Thank you.
A. There are a lot of lawyers. All right? But, that — you know, who’s a lawyer —
THE COURT: The question is, do you know —
THE WITNESS: I don’t consider —
THE COURT: — do you have personal —
THE WITNESS: — her to be his lawyer. I consider her to be — to know people, be part of a team.
BY MR. BUSCHEL: Q. That was —
Q. — giving legal advice to WikiLeaks?
A. I don’t know if they gave to WikiLeaks or somebody else. I think it was somebody else, Sarah Harrison, maybe, but not — I don’t think she was giving legal advice.
That’s consistent with what Kunstler herself testified, though she also said that she “sometimes represented WikiLeaks.”
Q. Who have you represented who is connected to WikiLeaks?
A. I have represented Sarah Harrison. I still represent Sarah Harrison. She was — did work at WikiLeaks, but she no longer does.
Q. How long had you represented her?
A. For about four and a half years.
Q. How did Ms. Harrison become your client?
A. She became my client because the lawyers representing Mr. Assange decided that it would be helpful to have a second lawyer for Ms. Harrison, and I was asked to do that.
Q. Do you know who the founder of WikiLeaks is?
Q. Who is it?
A. Julian Assange.
Q. Have you, as an attorney, ever represented Mr. Assange?
A. Only to the extent that I sometimes represented WikiLeaks, so it kind of overlaps. But technically, I don’t know.
Q. Have you ever spoken with Mr. Assange?
Q. How often have you spoken with him?
A. I think about a total of under ten times.
Q. When is the last time that you have spoken with Mr. Assange, if you can remember?
A. Probably the end of 1918.
Q. I’m sorry, do you mean 2018?
A. Yes, I’m sorry, 2018.
So something about what happened in late 2016 served as a point of leverage over Credico.
As I have noted, Stone used Credico’s shared support for a pardon for Assange as leverage through early January 2018, by which point Stone’s buddy’s government had charged Assange as part of a bid to stave off an Ecuadorian-Russian exfiltration attempt.
Right in the middle of Credico’s claims about what WikiLeaks was up to in early October 2016, for example, on October 3, he pushed Stone to get Trump to back asylum for Assange.
Then there are the exchanges on the topic that MoJo reported on a year ago from early January 2018.
In the wake of Stone’s successful effort to get Credico to plead the Fifth, the President’s rat-fucker suggested that if Credico publicly revealed that he couldn’t be Stone’s back channel, it might screw up efforts he claimed he was making to get Assange a pardon.
They resumed the discussion about a pardon several days later, when Stone sent Credico Jerome Corsi’s story on Ecuador’s grant of a diplomatic passport to Assange.
Remarkably, given what has transpired since, Credico informed Stone that the British government was not honoring the diplomatic passport, observed that “Infowars ” — which in this case would be Corsi — “doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” then taunted, ‘Maybe your back Channel knows more than I do.”
The current operative story, of course, is that Corsi was the backchannel, though Credico wouldn’t have known that at the time.
It’s certainly possible that Stone was blowing smoke, raising something he knew Credico cared deeply about, pardoning Assange, to get him to toe the line. It’s likely, too, he was just taking reporting on efforts made in late 2017 to liberate Assange and claiming credit for it.
But at the very least, it shows that Stone used a pardon for Assange — something Credico still spends a lot of time pushing — as leverage to try to get Credico to sustain his cover story. It doesn’t explain why that point of leverage was so effective, though.