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(62,444 posts)
Thu Oct 31, 2019, 05:56 PM Oct 2019

Movie Night at the Roger Stone trial called off....

The prosecution of Roger Stone is trundling along toward trial. Taking in a quick update of the docket, this amusing filing is something of an entertaining read:


Among other things, the Indictment alleges that Stone did so by invoking a scene from The Godfather Part II, with which both Stone and Person 2 were familiar. In that scene, a witness is persuaded to testify falsely before a congressional committee to avoid contradicting another witness’s false testimony. The government accordingly moved to admit a short clip from that film into evidence, so that the jury could view the very scene that Stone repeatedly invoked in his communications with Person 2.

At the September 25, 2019, pretrial conference, the Court deferred ruling on that motion and directed the parties to discuss whether there is a mutually-agreeable stipulation that would describe that film scene. Although the government respectfully believes that a written stipulation is a poor substitute for the actual scene that Stone and Person 2 were referencing, the government proposed a stipulation to the defense that describes the scene. The defense rejected the stipulation and declined to offer any changes or to propose a stipulation of its own. The defense took the position that the only evidence the government should be permitted to introduce on this point is the testimony of Person 2 about his understanding of Stone’s references to the scene.

In the government’s view, this confirms the importance of playing the short scene for the jury. That scene played a direct part in the very obstructive acts charged in this case. The question is not just how Person 2 interpreted Stone’s references to the scene, but what Stone intended by them. The evidence of Stone’s intent when referencing this scene is not limited to Person 2’s subjective understanding or recollections but also includes the scene itself, where a congressional witness succumbs to pressure and speaks the lines that Stone quoted to Person 2.

The content of this scene is an objective fact, and the best way for the jury to understand Stone’s references is to watch the very scene with which Stone and Person 2 were both familiar.


Alas, it is not to be:

Oct 21, 2019

MINUTE ORDER denying 156 Motion in Limine as to ROGER J. STONE JR. (1). Upon consideration of 156 the government's motion in limine to introduce an excerpt of the movie The Godfather: Part II, 171 defendant's response, 186 the government's reply, and 238 the government's notice concerning the clip, the government's motion is hereby DENIED. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 403, the government will not be permitted to introduce the clip itself in its case in chief because the prejudicial effect of the videotape, which includes a number of extraneous matters, outweighs its probative value. The government may introduce a transcript of the clip. This ruling is without prejudice to a renewed request after the cross-examination of Person 2 or the testimony of the defendant, if any. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 10/21/19. (DMK)
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