Longtime President Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone was charged Friday with lying and witness tampering in connection with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
He also threatened to steal a dog, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment.
The indictment does not name the dog or the dog’s owner. But people close to the case told The Washington Post the person is a Stone associate named Randy Credico, a New York City comedian and former radio host.
Credico had said Stone threatened him after he publicly denied being Stone’s back-channel connection to WikiLeaks during the campaign. That intimidation included an April text in which Stone called Credico a “rat” and a “stoolie” and vowed to “take that dog away from you,” according to the indictment.
Credico has what he refers to as a “therapy dog,” a Coton de Tulear named Bianca. And news that Stone had threatened a dog – which, to be clear, is a supporting detail in the indictment, and not itself cited as a crime – quickly made Bianca a star on Twitter, where she was cast as a blameless victim of a cruel threat.
But was Stone threatening Bianca or Credico? What might he have done with Bianca had he committed the dognapping? The indictment does not say. If Stone is to be believed – and, well, that is the heart of the matter – the dog might possibly have been in safe hands. That is because Stone, a self-professed “dirty trickster,” is also a self-professed dog fanatic.
In an interview with The Post last year about experimentation on dogs in federal research labs, a practice he has publicly opposed, Stone said he and his wife were “dog lovers and cat lovers.” They owned three cats and two Yorkshire terriers – the latest of nine Yorkies they had owned over the years, he said. They’d also at one point taken in a Wheaten terrier they found injured on a roadside, he said; its leg was later amputated.
“We often refer to our place as Stone’s Animal Farm,” said Stone, whose coexistence with dogs goes back at least three decades: At age 33, he had two Dachshunds, according to a 1986 Post article.
So passionate is he about dogs, Stone said last year, that he’d encouraged candidates for office in his Florida district to rail against the local animal shelter’s euthanasia rates. He said he’d also organized a small protest in 2018 outside what he described as a shady storefront “puppy mill” that sold ill dogs and offered dubious financing. (To spread the word, Stone said, he “printed out fliers and went into all the gay bars … and called all my friends in college Republican clubs.”)
“It’s just something I feel very strongly about,” Stone said of animal causes.
In fact, he added, he had plans to retire from political life and devote his time to animal welfare.
“I’m really thinking about it. Politics is ceasing to be fun. There was a time when it was fun,” Stone said. “The camaraderie that used to exist just isn’t there anymore.”
Which brings us back to the text message involving Bianca. In an interview last year with the Yahoo News podcast Skullduggery, Credico discussed Stone’s threat and suggested it was not a shining example of camaraderie.
“It’s certainly scary,” Credico said. “When you start bringing up my dog, you’re crossing the line.”
Stone might agree. Speaking Friday morning outside the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he criticized the FBI for having sent multiple officers and vehicles to arrest him in a dawn raid at his home there. The raid had “terrorized” his wife, he said – and his dogs.
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