As It Happens

Roger Stone may be willing to go to jail to protect Trump, says Netflix filmmaker

Roger Stone may have finally "bitten off more than he can chew," says one of the directors of a documentary about the bombastic political strategist.

Director of documentary Get Me Roger Stone says the political strategist may have finally talked 'too much'

Roger Stone, a former adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks to the media after leaving the courthouse on Friday Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Behind him, someone holds a sign with the words 'Lock him up!' (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Story transcript

Roger Stone may have finally "bitten off more than he can chew," says one of the directors of a documentary about the bombastic political strategist who was arrested Friday as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. 

Stone, a longtime ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, is accused of lying about his pursuit of Russian-hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid. He faces one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of making false statements and one count of witness tampering.

In a circus-like atmosphere outside a Florida courthouse Friday, Stone proclaimed his innocence and predicted his vindication as supporters cheered him on and spectators shouted "Lock Him Up!"

Daniel DiMauro, co-director of the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone, spoke to As It Happens host Carol Off about the self-proclaimed "dirty trickster's" career. Here is part of their conversation. 

In your film, Get Me Roger Stone, you paint quite a picture of this man. I mean, it'd be hard to invent him. People might doubt it if it was a fictional character. Can you describe what Roger Stone is like?

We were drawn to him because he's had this profound effect on our politics and he's very famous in the political world, but was kind of unknown for the general public.

What drew us to him as a character is he's just this very flamboyant, pot -smoking, bodybuilding, swinger dandy who's just very kind of, charismatic.

So we thought he was an entertaining character that could be a vehicle or a lens for us to kind of examine the degradation of our political dialogue over the last few decades. 

Former Trump adviser Roger Stone speaks to the media following his early morning arrest and court appearance on Friday. Stone says he will plead not guilty and calls the investigation an 'inquisition.' 4:51

And he said in your film..."One man's dirty trick is another man's civil political action." And you also learn that he has a tattoo of [former U.S. president Richard] Nixon on his back. What is that about?

He's a very unique character.

And what is kind of, for lack of a better word, refreshing about him is that most people like to paper over their misdeeds and political dirty tricks, but he comes out and says: I'm a dirty trickster, and everyone does it. I'm just going to talk about it.

This time, he might have talked about it too much. 

Roger Stone shows off his tattoo of former U.S. president Richard Nixon in the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone. At age 19, Stone was the youngest person to testify to the Watergate grand jury, as an employee of the Committee to Re-elect the President. (Netflix)

Prosecutors are alleging that Roger Stone lied to Congress and that he directed witnesses to lie to Congress about his own knowledge of a massive WikiLeaks email dump. And these were emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign and they were allegedly stolen by Russian hackers and WikiLeaks ended up publishing them. So what is Mr. Stone's alleged connection to all of this?

Roger repeatedly during the campaign was saying that he was in communication with WikiLeaks. At one time, he said he communicated with [WikiLeaks founder Julian] Assange.

As it turns out, he changed his story and said that he actually had an intermediary, either one or two. These are the persons named in the indictment.

So when he made these claims, it obviously put him on the radar of investigators. He testified to Congress and, according to Mueller, he lied to Congress. And that's really at the heart of the indictment.

There's some extraordinary emails in this indictment, aren't there? And allegedly sent by Roger Stone. In one of the emails, he's pressuring a congressional witness to stay quiet and he makes reference to the film The Godfather [Part II]. And then in another email, he's quoting his hero Richard Nixon. He says, "Stonewall it. Plead the Fifth. Anything to save the plan." Why do you he think he would allegedly use language like this and be so brazen?

Brazen is his MO. A word couldn't describe him more.

One of the things he says in our film is: "It's better to be infamous than never be famous at all."

And he may have bitten off more than he could chew.

You've mentioned that "Lock her up," that chant that's at the Trump rallies, was invented by Roger Stone for the campaign. He's obviously a great admirer of Donald Trump, and it seems to be mutual. ... Is it possible that he will turn? 

He is steadfast in his claim that he will never flip on Trump and also that he doesn't have any information to provide, so he can't even co-operate because that would force him to "bear false witness" against the president, as he puts it.

But again, when you're facing hard prison time — and I'm not sure it's clear what punishment he's actually facing right now — but I think any human being might have the capacity to change their mind when they're facing jail. 

Do you think that he would go to prison to protect Donald Trump?

He is a Trump loyalist, but I can't read his mind. But certainly, he seems to be willing to. 

Written by Sheena Goodyear with files from Associated Press. Interview produced by Jeanne Armstrong. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

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