WASHINGTON -- Over four decades, Randy Credico has been a comedian, an impressionist, a social justice warrior and a talk show host.
On Thursday he played the part of government witness, breaking up the criminal trial of his nemesis, Roger Stone, with off-the-cuff comments that left jurors laughing and the judge battling to maintain courtroom decorum.
Prosecutors sought Credico's testimony to prove that Stone -- a longtime Republican operative and sometime adviser to President Donald Trump -- lied to a congressional committee about his communications with WikiLeaks during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, hampering its investigation into Russian interference in the race and potential campaign involvement.
Stone is also accused of berating and threatening Credico to prevent the comic from contradicting his House Intelligence Committee testimony in September 2017.
Moments after taking the stand, Credico was asked by prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky what he did for a living.
"It seems like I'm a professional witness," he deadpanned. He was just warming up.
Credico and Stone met in 2002, he told the jury, when he was leading the William Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice and Stone was running an insurgent, third-party gubernatorial campaign in New York. Credico said he liked the ads he had seen for the candidate, Tom Golisano (who lost), and sought out the man behind them, launching their rocky, 17-year relationship.
As Trump was clinching the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Credico said, the radio host was getting more airtime from WBAI, which he tried to fill with compelling guests. One of them was Stone.
"He was a great person to have on the show," Credico told the court. "This would be a huge catch on my station," especially in the run-up to the election. Stone was an adviser to the Trump campaign with a reputation as a political brawler and gadfly.
Stone had a radio show, too, "Stone Cold Truth," for which Credico would do promotional spots using his talent for mimicry. In a November 2016 email shown to the jury, the comic offered Stone a roster of voices he could do, including Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, both President Bushes and actors John Wayne, Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino.