Right out of the gate, let’s acknowledge the subversion of democracy in President Trump’s efforts to interfere on behalf of his friend, political dirty trickster Roger Stone.
The political deterioration under Trump doesn’t just mean that citizens are rendered helpless in the face of an arbitrary and capricious exercise of executive power; it means we’re forced against our will to inhabit a bizarro world manufactured by the president and his henchmen.
To recap the subversion of democracy: Stone was indicted for lying to federal investigators in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Judge Amy Berman Jackson imposed a gag order on Stone, who issued a death threat against a witness and his therapy dog. President Trump expressed his displeasure about the sentence length recommended by federal prosecutors via tweet. Attorney General Robert Barr overrode the sentencing recommendation, deeming it unduly harsh. Stone’s supporters — a network of political operatives and right-wing media personalities including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson — launched a campaign to get Trump to issue a pardon to Stone.
A week before his Feb. 20 sentencing, Stone sat at a deposition for a slew of somewhat related civil suits filed by lawyer Larry Klayman in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Klayman — formerly a Stone associate, now arch enemy — became entangled in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecution against Stone through representing Jerome Corsi, a potential witness.
Corsi and Klayman have also sued conspiracy monger Alex Jones and producer Owen Shroyer for defamation.
“Even before Stone was indicted, he began a public relations campaign in this district, nationally and internationally to maliciously defame, smear, intimidate and threaten Dr. Corsi and plaintiff Klayman, plaintiff Corsi’s lawyer and defense counsel,” the suit alleges.
Specifically, the suit cites a quote published in an article by Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker, said by Stone in reference to Corsi: “He’s certifiably insane, and has told multiple provable lies.”
During his marathon, five-hour deposition last month in Fort Lauderdale, Stone acknowledged that Corsi has ghost-written books for him.
The suit against InfoWars and Jones concerns a series of appearances Stone made as a co-host of “The War Room” with Shroyer. Among the statements made on the show that Klayman claims to be defamatory, the suit quotes Stone as saying about Klayman: “He’s incompetent, he’s a numbskull, he’s an idiot, he’s an egomaniac, and he could be the single worst lawyer in America. With him as Jerry Corsi’s lawyer, Corsi may get the electric chair.”
As you might suspect, neither party in this dispute has clean hands.
Klayman’s troubled legal career includes a pending judicial ethics investigation for “egregious” misconduct over his treatment of a former client that could result in him being barred from practicing law in the District of Columbia. He is also a frequent contributor to World Net Daily, a far-right website that has published numerous articles promoting the falsehood that President Obama was not born in the United States.
Ironically, now that Klayman and Corsi are on the outs with the Trump club, their advocacy for “birtherism” — a conspiracy that Trump himself promoted — is being used against them.
“I think you’ve been deep state from the beginning,” Stone reportedly charged Corsi through his broadcast with Shroyer. “Your whole birther thing is used as a club to destroy conservatives…. I look forward to our confrontation. I will demolish you. You’re a fraudster. Out of your alcoholic haze, you made up lies about David Jones [the father of the InfoWars owner] and Alex Jones and Roger Stone, and now I suspect they want you to lie about the president.”
The Feb. 12-13 deposition in Fort Lauderdale degenerated into a pissing match when the two started discussing plans for another meeting so that Stone could depose one of Klayman’s witnesses.
“You may be in prison by then,” Klayman mused.
“You may be disbarred by then,” Stone shot back, his lips quivering with rage. He added, “The clock’s ticking faster on you than me, pal.”
Later, disputing the relevance of Klayman’s questions, Stone repeatedly said, “You have nothing.”
Klayman couldn’t help himself.
“That’s what you told Mueller, right?”
“F*** you,” Stone said.
It got worse.
“If you want to keep insulting, this will be over and you can run back to the judge like a little b****,” Stone told Klayman.
“I’m doing what?” Klayman responded. Then adding, “Did you just call me a b****?”
“You’re acting like one,” Stone said, slapping the table for emphasis. “You don’t have any proof, my friend. You’ve got nothing.”