Sunday, November 11, 2018

What's PSU President Barron Hiding? Big Trial Knows!

By Ralph Cipriano

The plane that flew over Beaver Stadium towed a banner that said -- "PRES BARRON: WHAT ARE YOU HIDING? RELEASE THE REPORT!"

Former Penn State Trustee Anthony Lubrano took to the skies last month in his campaign to get Penn State President Eric Barron to release the findings of an investigation into the so called "source materials" for the Louis Freeh Report on the Penn State sex scandal. The investigation into the Freeh Report, done by a minority group of trustees, was buried by the majority on the PSU board as part of an ongoing coverup of epic proportions, aided by an astounding lack of curiosity on the part of the mainstream media.

As to what PSU is hiding, Big Trial's readers already know because this past summer, we printed many of the big secrets contained in those confidential source materials. What are they hiding? That the Freeh Report was filled with faulty opinions dressed up as facts; that Freeh had a conflict of interest; and that Freeh's investigators colluded with former deputy attorney general Frank Fina to repeatedly violate state grand jury secrecy laws, contaminating both probes. And that's just for starters.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Newsweek: D.A. Broke The Law On Plea Bargains In Murder Cases

You have to dig deep into Newsweek's profile of Philly D.A. Larry Krasner to find it, but reporter Steve Volk documents how Krasner  trampled on the rights of the families of murder victims in three homicide cases.

Volk talks to the families of three murder victims who weren't notified, as required by state law, when Krasner struck plea bargains with the killers of their loved ones, resulting in lesser charges and reduced sentences. In the story, Progressive Larry, continuing to prove, as one prosecutor memorably put it, that he "doesn't give a fuck about victims," dismisses those violations as "growing pains." But Volk repeatedly asks Krasner, "Whose side are you on?"

The story can be read here.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Return Of Vincenzo

Former state Senator Vincent J. Fumo will be the featured guest Thursday Nov. 8th at the Parkway Central Library at 1901 Vine Street.

Fumo will be discussing Target: The Senator; A Story About Power And Abuse of Power, available on Amazon. The  biography of Fumo, published last November, was written by Ralph Cipriano of, who will introduce the senator.

The event, which is free, is scheduled to run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Room 108 of the Parkway Central Library, sponsored by the Social Science and History Department.

Advanced registration is recommended by signing up here. For any questions, please call the Social Science and History Department at 215-686-5396.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Old Notes Show That 'Billy Doe' Only Wanted $$$, But D.A. Hid Evidence

By Ralph Cipriano

He wasn't interested in sending anyone to jail; all he wanted was cash.

In February 2009, nearly a full year before he met with the Philadelphia District Attorney's office to press criminal charges, Danny Gallagher, AKA "Billy Doe," the "lying, scheming altar boy," told a social worker for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that "He has been talking to lawyers," and if "he gets money," he "does not want to press charges."

It was the kind of exculpatory evidence that would have made the district attorney's star witness look like he wasn't out for justice, he just wanted to get paid. The kind of exculpatory evidence that defense lawyers, had they known about it, would have used on cross-examination to question Gallagher's motives and impeach his credibility.

So what did the D.A.'s office do with that exculpatory evidence? Simple; they just buried it.

In yet another blatant example of calculated prosecutorial misconduct under former D.A. Seth Williams, those seven pages of notes from a couple of social workers were never turned over to defense lawyers. Nine years later, however, the notes have mysteriously reappeared, a copy of which was generously supplied to Big Trial. Expect those notes to be an issue in the retrial of Msgr. William J. Lynn, scheduled for some time next year.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Mobsters And Music

Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia will be telling some vintage mob stories while the Rowan Jazz Band plays music that mobsters love.

It's the first-ever "Jazz and Organized Crime" concert being presented at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1st, at the Pfleeger Concert Hall at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J.

Anastasia covered the mob for The Philadelphia Inquirer for 35 years, he's also the author of ten books, a journalism professor at Rowan, a staff writer for, and lately, a talking head on the History Channel.

The Rowan Band will be lead by director Denis DiBlasio. Tickets are $5 and $10 and can be purchased online at The event is sponsored by Rowan's College of Performing Arts, College of Communications and Creative Arts, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Sad Story Of Sonny D, The Mob, And Some Missing $Millions

By Ralph Cipriano and George Anastasia

As president and CEO of the gigantic Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, Sonny DiCrecchio, AKA "Sonny D," was always doing good deeds for those in need. Like sending a boy stricken with cancer to the Super Bowl. Or taking 135 homeless kids from a shelter out on a shopping spree to buy Christmas presents.

"A Person Never Stands So Tall As When They Kneel To Help A Child -- Sonny D." That's the quote that volunteers wore on the backs of their matching purple jerseys when they chaperoned the annual "Sonny D's Holliday Shopping Party," sponsored by Sonny and his wife, Michelle.

"It's beautiful what Sonny and Michelle do for the children,"said Karen Patton-Faucett, assistant director of Stenton Family Manor, a shelter for families, during a 2016 tribute video to Sonny D posted on Over the years, the scores of volunteers who flocked to Sonny D's annual shopping party to help homeless kids pick out presents and wrap them included then-Eagles Quarterback Donovan McNabb.

But they may have to cancel the party this year. A woman who answered the phone at the produce market said that Sonny D "resigned" suddenly on Aug. 15th, and left without leaving much forwarding information. Meanwhile, a forensic accountant is digging through the market's financial records, searching for missing money that's said to be between $3 million and $5 million. The FBI is on the case; agents interviewed Sonny D voluntarily for three days, without benefit of a lawyer. As a result, multiple sources say, Sonny's in big trouble. Instead of a do-gooder, the feds see DiCrecchio as a con artist who was doing business with shady characters and financing his good deeds with stolen money.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Did Brett Kavanaugh Grope Christine Ford?

By Mark Pendergrast
As we all know now, psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford has come forward to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in 1982 when she was 15 and he was a 17-year-old student at Georgetown Prep.  

During a party, he allegedly lured her to an upstairs room and pinned her down on a bed, clumsily trying to pull off her clothes and bathing suit. When she tried to scream, he put his hand over her mouth. Only when his friend Mark Judge fell atop both of them in his own lustful efforts did she manage to escape and run out. The two boys were “stumbling drunk,” as she may have been as well.
This sounds plausible enough, doesn’t it?  Teenage boys sometimes get drunk at parties and attempt to seduce girls. But the fact that these abuse memories arose in therapy 30 years later should make us more skeptical.  Could this be a case of false memories due to the now-debunked theory of repressed memory?  

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Philly's Looming DROP Apocalypse

By Ralph Cipriano

He was the only son of the Big Bambino, but even that couldn't save him from the political firestorm over DROP.

Seven years ago, Frank "Franny" Rizzo Jr. was one of a half-dozen incumbent City Council members who -- under the city's extravagantly generous Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP -- were eligible to "retire" for a day at the end of their terms, collect six-figure cash bonuses, and then, upon winning reelection (and making a quick trip to the bank), go right back to work the next day.

This being Philadelphia, it was all completely legal.

The rest of the story in Philadelphia magazine can be read here.


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