Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Spanier's Lawyers Say Statute Had Run On Crime He Was Convicted Of

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Graham Spanier's conviction on a single count of child endangerment doesn't make much sense from a variety of different angles, his lawyers argued in an appeal brief filed yesterday in Commonwealth Court.

First, the crime that the former Penn State president was convicted of was Spanier's response, or alleged lack thereof, to an alleged 2001 rape in the Penn State showers of a ten-year-old boy, a crime supposedly witnessed by wacky whiste blower Mike McQueary.

Let's skip over the fact that McQueary told five different versions of the story about what he supposedly saw and heard in the shower that night, and that he later admitted in writing in an email to the prosecutor that they got the grand jury report wrong, and that he had never actually seen a rape.

The statute of limitations for child endangerment in Pennsylvania is only two years. So by the time the attorney general's office got around to charging Spanier, in 2012, the statute on the 2001 imaginary sex-in-the-showers crime had long expired.

Sandusky's Lawyers Charge A.G.'s Office With Brady Violations

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Lawyers for Jerry Sandusky yesterday charged the state Attorney General's office with prosecutorial misconduct for withholding a revelatory email exchange between the lead prosecutor in the case, and her distraught star witness.

A day before the judge in the case was expected to announce whether Sandusky would be granted a new trial under the Post Conviction Relief Act [PCRA], lawyers Alexander H. Lindsay Jr. and J. Andrew Salemme filed a motion in Centre County Common Pleas Court asking the judge to reopen the record, admit newly discovered evidence, and convene a hearing to question former Deputy Attorney General Jonelle Eshbach, and whistle blower Mike McQueary.

A Big Trial story on the email exchange, first disclosed by blogger Ray Blehar, was attached to the defense lawyers' petition filed yesterday as Exhibit B. [The email exchange itself was Exhibit A.]

On Nov. 10, 2011, six days after the state Attorney General's office released its official grand jury report on the Sandusky sex scandal, McQueary emailed Eshbach  to tell her that the grand jury report that said McQueary had witnessed a naked Sandusky in the Penn State showers having anal intercourse with a 10-year-old boy was wrong. In that same email, McQueary complained to the A.G.'s office that they had "twisted" his words about "whatever it was" that he had actually seen or heard in the showers.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Pro-Prosecution Inky Denounces Payday Loan Defendants During Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The Philadelphia Inquirer is typically pro-prosecution.

It's something that defendants in a long line of corruption cases can attest to, such as Vince Fumo, Chaka Fattah, the so-called rogue cops, former L&I Inspector Dominic Verdi, the Traffic Court judges, state Senator Larry Farnese, etc.

The Inquirer's usual pattern is to trumpet the allegations of prosecutors as proven facts, which can be a problem when it comes to the presumption of innocence. It's also troublesome if the defendants in these corruption cases are actually found not guilty at trial, as with the rogue cops, Verdi, and Farnese. After all, that's why they play the games, because sometimes the underdogs win.

But on Monday, the Inky did something new in the war on defendants in corruption cases: they actually denounced a couple of defendants on the editorial page while they were on trial for their lives. While  their fates were actually in the hands of a jury.

In the case of payday lending pioneer Charles Hallinan, and his lawyer, Wheeler K. Neff, the Inquirer blasted both of them on the editorial page under a headline that said, "Why payday loan sharks should be arrested and tried."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Penn State Confidential: Prosecutor Told McQueary To Clam Up

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

On Nov. 10, 2011, six days after the state Attorney General's office released its official grand jury report on the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal, deputy Attorney General Jonelle Eshbach was trying to calm Mike McQueary, her distraught star whistle-blower.

McQueary had emailed Eshbach earlier that day to tell her that the grand jury report that told the world that McQueary had witnessed a naked Sandusky in the Penn State showers having anal intercourse with a 10-year-old boy was wrong. In that same email, McQueary complained to the A.G.'s office that they had "twisted" his words about "whatever it was" that he had actually seen or heard in the showers.

Now there's a star witness you can have confidence in.

In a second email sent that same day, McQueary complained to Eshbach about "being misrepresented" in the media. And then McQueary tried to straighten out a couple of misconceptions, writing that he never went to Coach Joe Paterno's house with his father, and that he had never seen Sandusky with a child at a Penn State football practice.

"I know that a lot of this stuff is incorrect and it is hard not to respond," Eshbach emailed McQueary. "But you can't."

That email exchange, divulged in a couple of posts by Penn State blogger Ray Blehar, have people in Penn State Nation talking about prosecutorial misconduct. Naturally, the A.G.'s office has nothing to say about it, as an office spokesperson declined comment today.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Cosby's Accuser Has A Secret

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Andrea Constand, the woman who accused Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her, has a few secrets she'd like to keep.

So in federal court in Philadelphia, where she's suing former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor for defamation, Constand wants to seal her deposition and keep her medical  and financial records private.

But those secrets may not keep. On Sept. 12, Judge Eduardo C. Robreno issued a ruling for Constand to show cause why the interim seal on her deposition should not be lifted. Cosby's lawyers, who filed as intervenors in the defamation case, have already received a redacted copy of Constand's deposition against Castor.

In a 12-page motion to seal filed Sept. 22 by Constand's lawyers, Bebe H. Kivitz and Dolores M. Troiani, the lawyers argue that Cosby's alleged victim would like to keep "sensitive personal information" under seal, and not have it exposed to Cosby and the media. Castor's lawyers, however, filed a motion last week, saying there is no justifiable reason for the secrecy since all of Costand's allegations against Cosby, as well as Castor, have been nationally and internationally publicized.

Judge Robreno has set a 9 a.m. Oct 20 hearing on the issue of whether Constand's sensitive personal information should remain under seal. In the meantime, with the graphic details of Constand's accusations already out there in People magazine, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, the Daily Mail, The Washington Post, etc., the only thing Costand may have left to hide is how many millions Cosby paid her to go away.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Boy In The Shower Says He Can't Remember 34 Times

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Allan Myers, the boy in the Penn State showers that Mike McQueary allegedly saw being raped by Jerry Sandusky, sure has a lousy memory.

Myers couldn't remember when a picture of him posing with Sandusky had been taken, even though it was at Myers' own wedding.

Myers couldn't remember telling a couple of state troopers who interviewed him in 2011 that Sandusky had never abused him.

Myers couldn't remember what he told a private investigator, that Mike McQueary was a liar, and that nothing sexual ever happened in the shower. And finally, Myers couldn't remember what he told the state attorney general's office after he flipped, and was claiming that Jerry had abused him.

Myers made all these fuzzy statements during a Nov. 4, 2016 hearing where he was called as a witness as part of Sandusky's bid for a new trial. A 48-page transcript of that hearing was released for the first time earlier this week, in response to a request from a curious reporter for a major mainstream media news outlet. Myers' pathetic performance on the witness stand proves what a screwed-up case this is, featuring overreaching prosecutors and a hysterical news media.

The media blew it in part because they showed no skepticism about witnesses like Myers, who, going by the transcript, clearly wasn't credible.

Myers, who was on the witness stand for less than an hour before Centre County Senior Judge John M. Cleland, said he couldn't recall or didn't remember 34 times.

Either he was dealing with early-onset Alzheimer's, or else he was lying about everything.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wine Club Crushes It

PhillyVoice/Tracie Van Auken
By Ralph Cipriano

On Saturday morning, 28 men gathered outside a South Jersey warehouse to crush 25,000 pounds of grapes.

Stacked in the yard on grass and gravel were 680 36-pound boxes of grapes arranged in 17 stacks. The men were using hammers and crowbars to pry the lids off the boxes, so they could dump the grapes into two automatic crusher-destemmers.

As the machines roared, Guy Ferranti strolled through the crowd looking like a football coach on the sidelines carrying his laminated play cards.

Ferranti is the CEO of the Vino Degli Amici wine club, which loosely translated means "wine among friends."

The rest of the story can be read here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

State Attorney General's Office Tries To Keep Sandusky Probe Secret

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

What do you do when you screw up royally?

If you're the state Attorney General's office, you try to keep a top secret lid on everything, even if its years after they put Jerry Sandusky in jail.

That's what our A.G.'s office is up to. On June 28th,  Jennifer C. Selber, executive deputy attorney general, wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Brian Simpson in Harrisburg, about all of the files the A.G. turned over to the feds three years ago from the state's grand jury investigation of Sandusky.

Selber's concern was that the U.S. Attorney's office not turn any of the A.G.'s records in response to a long-running FOI battle being waged by Ryan Bagwell, a former newspaper reporter and candidate for Penn State trustee. When Bagwell couldn't get any records out of the state, he filed FOI requests with the U.S. Attorney's office in 2014, and so far has recouped some 1,000 pages of documents.

The A.G.'s office wants to make sure no further documents are released.

"Initially, it must be understood that the investigation of Sandusky PSU and TSM [The Second Mile] was done through two Statewide Investigating Grand Juries," Selber wrote. "As such, all of the materials gathered by the OAG and provided to your Office were subject to grand jury secrecy."

 

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