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Mover, Shaker, And Cranky Caller?
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Initially, Stone suggested that someone could well have broken into his home and made that call; he noted that the New York apartment building where he lives is owned by a Spitzer supporter and fundraiser. He also said that he was at the theater on the Monday night when the call was made, although he withdrew that when bloggers noted that the play in question is dark on Monday nights. Stone also suggested that the call could have been from someone using "spoofing" technology that can make it look as though the call came from Stone's home.
As for the uncanny resemblance of the message leaver to Stone's own voice? Well, he said, that could well have been the handiwork of a cut-and-paste job, spliced from his many TV appearances, courtesy of high-end editing software. Some of the words could have come from phone taps, too.
On Thursday, Stone offered yet another explanation: The call, he said, was made by a former stand-up comedian and master impressionist named Randy Credico.
"He's been on Letterman, he's been on Leno," says Stone. "He does an incredible [former senator Alfonse] D'Amato. He has made phone calls as me and the people he was calling thought it was me."
The motive? Well, Credico left the stand-up comedy business to become an activist in New York politics, and he and Stone were friends and worked together on a campaign for a few months. Then, in 2003, Credico introduced Al Sharpton to Stone and those two hit it off. So much so that Stone got heavily involved in advising Sharpton during his 2004 run for president. (The Village Voice, in a lengthy investigative piece, said that Stone loaned money to Sharpton's campaign and even let the candidate use his credit card -- all of which Stone denies.) There was a suspicion that Stone was mostly interested in torpedoing the Democrats' chances for the White House by promoting Sharpton, another charge Stone denies. ("Roger Stone can't talk to a social friend of his?" he asks).
It's a tangled tale, but the upshot, Stone says, is this: "Credico became convinced that he should get paid for introducing me to Sharpton." He refused to do so, Stone continues, because, well, Credico is a cocaine addict and Stone knew that any money he gave the guy would "go up his nose."
That's right, Credico is still sore about getting stiffed on an intro fee. And he harbors that resentment until 10 p.m. on Aug. 6, at which time, he calls Bernard Spitzer and leaves a message, doing a spot-on impersonation of Stone, using technology to make it look like the call came from Stone's apartment.
Talk about sweet revenge!
"That's hilarious," says Credico, reached by phone yesterday in Florida, where he was attending a memorial service. "I am absolutely denying it. I mean, he does have an easy voice to do, but I haven't heard him or seen him for years, and if that's me, I am the greatest impressionist in the history of the art form."
Yes, he says, he and Stone had a falling out, but it wasn't over money -- it was over the direction of the Sharpton campaign. And for the record, he adds, he's a Joe Bruno backer and a Spitzer hater, because Spitzer is too pro-Iraq war for his tastes.
Okay, but can you just do a little bit of Roger Stone? Just, you know, for fun?