Roger Stone will not testify as his criminal trial nears an end

National News

Roger Stone and his wife, Nydia, arrive at court in Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.Mark Wilson / Getty Images

(NBC News) — Roger Stone, the longtime confidant of President Donald Trump, will not testify in his criminal trial in Washington, his defense attorney Robert Buschel told the court Tuesday.

Stone is accused of lying to Congress and pressuring another person to do the same.

The prosecution rested Tuesday after former FBI agent Michelle Taylor was recalled to testify about Stone’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, specifically when he told the committee about his thoughts about the potential connection between Guccifer 2.0 and the Russian government.

Stone’s defense team told the court they plan to play a 50-minute clip of Stone’s testimony before the committee for the jury, after which they will rest their case. Federal District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said closing arguments are scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The defense team also plans to file a motion asking the judge to dismiss the case, asserting that the prosecution didn’t prove its argument.

A Trump friend for more than 30 years, Stone was arrested in January and charged with misleading the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 about his efforts to find out when WikiLeaks would be releasing emails hacked from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The charges, which include giving false statements, obstruction and witness tampering, were the last to be filed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team before their investigation ended.

Stone, 67, could face prison time if convicted. He has denied knowing about the WikiLeaks’ releases ahead of time.

Stone also served early on as an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign and has called himself the victim of a political prosecution. During the months leading up to the trial, he was repeatedly admonished by the judge to stop making public comments about the case that could influence the potential jury pool.

Prosecutors said Stone asked Randy Credico, a standup comedian turned radio talk show host, to be an intermediary between him and WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange. The charges say Stone urged Credico to lie to the Intelligence Committee about those contacts.

“Stonewall it. Plead the fifth,” Stone texted him, and even threatened to take away Credico’s dog, Mueller’s team said.

According to prosecutors, Stone also urged Credico to emulate a character from “The Godfather Part II,” Frank Pentangeli, who is called to testify against mob boss Michael Corleone. But Pentangeli changes his testimony when his brother from Italy enters the hearing room; he then claims to know nothing about Corleone, played by Al Pacino, saying, “I was in the olive oil business with his father, but that was a long time ago.”

Court documents said Stone urged Credico to tell the House committee: “Sure I know Roger Stone. He was in the olive oil business with my father. But that was a long time ago.” Prosecutors sought permission to show a clip from the movie during the trial, but the judge declined to allow it. The judge also informed the jury to not watch the film.

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