Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Easy Money In The Sandusky Case; Penn State Not Minding The Store

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

On Oct. 1, 2014, Brett Swisher-Houtz, "Victim No. 4" in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case was called to testify as a witness in a civil case.

In Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Penn State University was being sued by its own insurance carrier. The Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association had taken issue with the large multimillion payouts the university was awarding to 36 young men like Victim No. 4, payments to date that have totaled $118 million.

Steven J. Engelmyer, the lawyer representing Penn State's insurance carrier, had a simple question for Swisher-Houtz, who just a year earlier, on Sept. 12, 2013, had collected a confidential settlement from Penn State of $7.25 million.

“Has anybody from Penn State ever spoken to you?" the lawyer wanted to know.

“Not that I’m aware of,” the witness replied.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

What Conflict, Judge Says

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

After a lengthy examination of his own conscience, State Superior Court Judge Victor P. Stabile has concluded that he doesn't have a conflict of interest with former Penn State President Graham Spanier.

And so yesterday, the judge in a one-sentence order denied a petition by Spanier's lawyers for recusal.

In June, Judge Stabile was the author of a 2-1 Superior Court decision that upheld Spanier's conviction last year on one count of child endangerment in connection with the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

Spanier's lawyers had filed the motion for recusal, saying that years before he was a judge, Stabile had testified in a civil case filed against Spanier and Penn State over the fate of the Dickinson School of Law. At the time, Stabile was a graduate of DSL and a member of its alumni association who was  opposed to Spanier and Penn State's plan in 2003 to relocate the law school from Carlisle to State College.

In his order issued yesterday, Stabile stated that Spanier's application for the judge's recusal and request for a re-argument on Spanier's appeal before a new panel of state Superior Court judges or the entire court was "DENIED."

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Slime-Fest At The D-Board

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

To make his closing argument today on behalf of Frank Fina in an ethics case, lawyer Joseph McGettigan sunk to the occasion by applying a fresh coast of slime to many of his client's perceived enemies.

At the end of a three-day hearing before the state Supreme Court's disciplinary board, McGettigan started out by attacking the  investigation of Fina as "dishonorable and shameful."

The disciplinary board, McGettigan said, had gone out of its way to "smear a man and mischaracterize his honorable conduct."

McGettigan was just warming up. By the time he sat down, he had implied that the two women who filed the original ethics complaint against Fina were Penn State "truthers" possibly acting in consort with lawyers for any or all of five criminals that crime-buster Fina had previously put away. McGettigan also attacked the disciplinary board's counsel for supposedly siding with those "five convicted criminals" in a campaign to "defame, denigrate and criticize a hard-working public servant."

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What's Skinny Joey Doing Hanging With Robert De Niro?

In the latest edition of Mob Talk Sitdown, veteran crime reporters George Anastasia and Dave Schratwieser talk about the latest rumors concerning upcoming federal indictments, and why former mob boss Joey Merlino had a steak dinner in New York City with Robert De Niro.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Spanier Seeks Recusal Of Judge For Undisclosed Conflict

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Lawyers for Graham Spanier have called on the state Superior Court judge who wrote the June 26th opinion upholding the former Penn State president's conviction on one count of endangering the welfare of a child to recuse himself from the case because of an undisclosed conflict of interest.

In a 16-page application for recusal filed yesterday, Spanier's lawyers argue that state Superior Court Judge Victor P. Stabile should disqualify himself because he previously testified in a lawsuit against Penn State and Spanier, and also attacked Spanier in an old email as an "emperor" in "new clothes."

In the application for recusal, Spanier's lawyers seek the vacating of the Superior Court's decision upholding Spanier's conviction, and a chance to reargue their appeal before a new panel of judges, or the entire Superior Court.

Monday, July 2, 2018

'CLOSE HOLD -- Important' -- It's Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina On The Line, Ready To Spill More Grand Jury Secrets

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The night before former Penn State University President Graham Spanier was going to be arrested, Spanier didn't know about it, and neither did his lawyers.

But Gregory Paw, a senior investigator for the Louis Freeh Group did, thanks to a tip from then Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina.

On Oct. 31, 2012, Paw sent an email to the Freeh Group, which had conducted a separate $8.3 million investigation of the Penn State scandal. 

The subject of Paw's email: "CLOSE HOLD -- Important."

"PLEASE HOLD VERY CLOSE," Paw wrote his colleagues at the Freeh Group. "[Deputy Attorney General Frank] Fina called tonight to tell me that Spanier is to be arrested tomorrow, and [former Penn State Athletic Director Tim] Curley and [former Penn State Vice President for business and finance Gary] Schultz re-arrested, on charges of obstruction of justice and related charges . . . Spanier does not know this information yet, and his lawyers will be advised about an hour before the charges are announced tomorrow."

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Meek Mill Judge: D.A. Abdicated His Responsibility

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A judge last week blasted District Attorney Larry Krasner for not doing his homework in the Meek Mill case.

According to an alarming 47-page order and opinion issued by Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley, in jumping on the bandwagon to free Meek Mill, the office now run by Progressive Larry was "abdicating its responsibility to conduct a review of this case."

Progressive Larry was already down with the plan to let the rapper out of jail, vacate his prior conviction and grant him a new trial. But the judge wrote that she remained "unconvinced" that Mill's conviction should be overturned "considering the obvious lack of investigation and review" emanating from the D.A.'s office. So the judge denied the newly freed rapper's request for a new trial.

According to the judge's order and opinion, when Progressive Larry latches onto a cause, as in the Meek Mill case, he doesn't let logic or facts, or the duties of his office, get in the way of his emotions. And he didn't let the appearance of a conflict of interest bother him either.

In her order and opinion, the judge gave citizens a frightening look at the assembly line justice now being run out of the public defender's office, where, with the full cooperation of the D.A., hundreds of criminals are getting free passes out of jail. It's law enforcement progressive-style, where the goal is to free as many felons as possible, so they can imperil the rest of us.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Confidential Internal Review At PSU Shreds Louis Freeh Report

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A confidential internal review of the Louis Freeh Report on the Penn State sex abuse scandal, conducted by the university's own trustees, found factual mistakes, "deeply flawed" methodology, and faulty  opinions that Freeh's own staffers took issue with, in writing.

The trustees also accused Freeh of having a conflict of interest in his dealings with the NCAA.

It was the Freeh Report that the NCAA relied upon in 2012 to impose draconian sanctions on Penn State, including a $60 million fine, a bowl game ban that lasted two years,  the loss of 170 athletic scholarships and the elimination of 111 of Joe Paterno's wins, although the wins were subsequently restored.

On Friday, a group of 11 trustees called on the full 38-member board to release the full 200-page critique of the 267-page Freeh Report, formally renounce Freeh's findings, and try to recoup some of the $8.3 million that the university paid Freeh.


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