Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Beth Grossman, GOP Candidate For D.A., Calls Larry Krasner's George Soros-Financed Campaign A "Grand Social Experiment"

Larry at his victory party ["F--k the FOP!"]
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Only in Philadelphia where our incumbent District Attorney is currently under federal indictment for political corruption could the citizens be poised to make a worse choice as their next D.A.

That would be Larry Krasner, the George Soros-financed radical "progressive" who just won the Democratic primary for D.A. Now he's running for election this November in a town where Democrats outnumber Republicans 7 to 1.

Krasner is a longtime civil rights lawyer who has sued the Philadelphia Police Department 75 times, on behalf of drug dealers and protesters from groups such as Black Lives Matter, ACT UP and Occupy Philly.

Larry's the guy who talked our current corrupt D.A. into tossing more than 800 convictions of drug dealers, nearly all of whom had pleaded guilty after getting caught with drugs. For his next trick, Progressive Larry sued the city to gain cash rewards from the taxpayers that will ultimately benefit 300 newly emancipated drug dealers. The drug dealers are currently in magistrate court, eagerly awaiting those cash payouts arranged by their good friend Larry.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Merlino Turns Down Plea Offer In Big Mob Case

Reprinted with permission from  Gang Land News.

By George Anastasia


Brad Sirkin has folded his cards.


The prolific, enterprising mob associate and sometime driver for Philadelphia Mafia boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino has agreed to cop a guilty plea in that sweeping but flawed racketeering conspiracy indictment in Manhattan Federal Court, and also to conspiracy to commit health care fraud in a more pointed and apparently airtight case against him and seven co-defendants in federal court in Tampa.

Merlino, on the other hand, is hanging tough and is prepared to go to trial in Manhattan where several other defendants also have opted to take deals. The insurance scam, the central charge in the Tampa case, is just a small piece of the broader New York indictment.

Sirkin, in a plea agreement filed in Florida, admitted his role in what authorities have alleged was a $157 million insurance fraud scheme that included kickbacks to doctors and pharmacist who knowingly wrote and filled bogus prescriptions for what authorities said were "compound medications, chiefly pain creams and scar creams, irrespective of medical necessity."

Not-So-Bright Justice: Tom Bergstrom, Msgr. Lynn's Lawyer, Gets A Scolding; Prosecutors In The Corrupt D.A.'s Office Get A Pass

By Ralph Cipriano
Tom Bergstrom: Got In Trouble For Defending His Client
for BigTrial.net

On Friday, Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright held a hearing on legal misconduct in the case of Msgr. William J. Lynn.

If you haven't heard, it was a curious affair. So far in the seven-year history of the legal travesty known as the Lynn case, the only misconduct that we know of has been the rampant and intentional misconduct of the prosecutors.

But Judge Bright was holding Friday's hearing to decide whether she would find Thomas A. Bergstrom, Lynn's lawyer, guilty of contempt for violating the judge's gag order in the Lynn case. Because Bergstrom got upset when The Philadelphia Inquirer libeled his client.

Only in Philadelphia does this nonsense make sense. Where we have a D.A. still in office despite a 29-count federal indictment for political corruption. And prosecutors in that office who put innocent men in jail for imaginary crimes, as in the case of Msgr. Lynn, and don't get into any trouble for it. Even though we have it from inside the D.A.'s office that they knew their star witness wasn't credible.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Sandusky's Lawyer Was Painfully Inept

Editor’s note:  Here is another excerpt from Mark Pendergrast’s forthcoming book, The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment. Again, Mark refers people to this petition at Change.org seeking a new trial for Sandusky.  Please sign the petition and leave a detailed comment, especially if you know Sandusky personally or have other reasons to doubt that he received a fair trial. To be "newsworthy" it is important that signers include high-profile people, such as former Penn State football players or coaches, who will explain who they are and why they are signing.
 
by Mark Pendergrast
For BigTrial.net
 
On Monday, June 11, 2012, Joe McGettigan opened the trial of Jerry Sandusky with an impassioned speech to the newly picked jurors about the “serial predatory pedophile” whom they should convict. 
 
McGettigan, then 64, a native of Philadelphia, had carved out a reputation as an aggressive, successful prosecutor.  “He is smart, tenacious, and well-prepared,” wrote one journalist, who also called him a pugnacious street brawler.  “He will steamroll over anyone who gets in his way,” another lawyer observed, adding that McGettigan was a “true believer” who thought “all criminals deserve life sentences.”
 
 He was known as “Hollywood Joe McGettigan” because of his penchant for dark glasses, garish ties, and his serving as a legal consultant and writer for a one-season television series.  In the press, he had already called the Second Mile “a victim factory.”[i]

Now McGettigan told the jurors that the young men who would testify had endured “years of victimization,” and that, although the molestation had occurred years ago, “the past is never dead.  It’s not even past.”

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Inky, Rolling Stone Ignore Detective Walsh Bombshell

The Sounds of Silence
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

If you want a perfect illustration of what's wrong with the media, let's talk about The Philadelphia Inquirer and Rolling Stone, and their stubborn refusal to deal with how they blew to hell the "Billy Doe" fake rape story.

Last Tuesday on this blog, we printed a news story about a 12-page affidavit filed in Common Pleas Court by retired Detective Joe Walsh. In that affidavit, Walsh, the D.A.'s lead detective on the Philly archdiocese sex abuse scandal, detailed one lie after another that he caught Billy Doe/Danny Gallagher telling. Gallagher even admitted he lied and "just made stuff up," the detective says. Walsh repeatedly concluded that Gallagher wasn't telling the truth when he claimed he was raped as a 10 and 11 year-old altar boy in separate attacks by two priests and a schoolteacher.

Lurching Toward Trial In The Sandusky Case

Editor's Note: Here is another excerpt from Mark Pendergrast’s forthcoming book, The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment. (Sunbury Press, paperback, $19.95, release date, Nov. 6, 2017; ISBN: 978-1-62006-765-9). The author is allowing it to be posted now to explain why people should sign the new Change.org petition to grant Sandusky a new trial. Please sign this petition ASAP, the author writes, and it's also important that you add a comment.

"This section, ‘Lurching Towards Trial,’ just gives you the flavor of how incredibly rushed the trial was, and how unprepared the defense lawyers were," Pendergrast wrote Big Trial. "The jury selection process was appalling, with several jurors indicating that they had already concluded that Sandusky was guilty. They were selected as jurors anyway. Defense attorney Joe Amendola gave the worst opening statement I’ve ever encountered, saying that the Commonwealth had ‘overwhelming evidence’ against Sandusky, when in fact there was no physical evidence at all, the victims’ stories were problematical in many ways, and the defense attorneys were utterly ineffective.  It’s a complex story, but the bottom line is that, at the least, it is abundantly clear that Sandusky deserves a new trial.”
 
 By Mark Pendergrast
for BigTrial.net
 
Joe Amendola and Karl Rominger, the attorneys for Jerry Sandusky, faced a virtually insurmountable task in preparing for the trial, which Judge John Cleland was clearly intent on holding as soon as possible.  Cleland was perhaps sensitive to media criticism questioning why it had taken three years from the time Aaron Fisher, “Victim 1,” first made allegations, to the time of Sandusky’s arrest.[1]  

The reason: it took those three years for the prosecutors to grow memories, find other alleged victims, and convince the Grand Jury and Office of the Attorney General that there was sufficient evidence to recommend an indictment, but in the hysteria over the case, no one acknowledged that reality.

Friday, May 12, 2017

What WHYY's "The List" Got Right And What It Got Wrong

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Tonight, at 10:30 p.m., WHYY is airing "The List," a 59-minute documentary on the sex abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

I'm one of the people who was interviewed for the film. For the first 50 minutes or so, the documentary is mostly successful when it deals with former D.A. Lynne Abraham's crusade to pry loose the archdiocese's secret archive files. That's the 45,000-page history of the clergy's sex crimes against hundreds of innocent children dating back to the 1940s.

But during the last 10 minutes, the film fails when it attempts to reconcile Abraham's righteous crusade with the witch hunt staged by our current D.A., Rufus Seth Williams.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Repressed Memories Of Victim No. 7 In The Sandusky Case

Editor's Note: On May 11, 2017, Dustin Struble is scheduled to testify in a hearing before Judge John Foradora in a Bellefonte, PA, courthouse.  He is known as “Victim 7” in the Jerry Sandusky case.  

Investigator and science writer Mark Pendergrast is near completion of a book on the Sandusky case, The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment, which will be published late in 2017.  Because he thinks that some of the information he has unearthed is important to reveal now, he has allowed BigTrial.net to publish excerpts from it. 

By Mark Pendergrast
for BigTrial.net

Dustin Struble (eventually to be labeled “Victim Number 7”), born on October 10, 1984, was two years older than Zachary Konstas [the boy in the 1998 Sandusky shower incident].  The two had been friends since their Second Mile days.  The police contacted Struble in January of 2011, and after his second interview with police, he told them that he was entering psychotherapy on February 22, 2011.  Konstas would subsequently ask about Struble’s counseling experience during phone calls.  He wanted to know if he had “remembered anything more”, indicating that Struble was in the process of recovering memories during therapy.[1]  From the context, it is likely that Konstas was also trying to “remember” more during therapy sessions of his own.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Detective Joe Walsh In Bombshell Affidavit: "Billy Doe" Admitted That He Lied And "Just Made Stuff Up!" But The D.A.'s Office Covered It Up!

Alleged "Victim" A Complete Fraud
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Detective Joe Walsh wasn't buying the BS that Danny Gallagher was peddling.

Back in March 2012, Walsh was prepping Danny Gallagher, AKA "Billy Doe," for his role as the D.A.'s star witness in the child endangerment case against Msgr. William J. Lynn, scheduled to go to trial in just a few weeks. Walsh was quizzing the former altar boy  about his claim that he was high on drugs when he told two social workers "graphic details" about violent rapes and beatings he  supposedly suffered at the hands of two priests and a Catholic schoolteacher.

But Walsh had interviewed Gallagher's father, a Philadelphia police sergeant, who said his son wasn't high on drugs the morning he talked to the two social workers. Because just a few minutes earlier, the father had driven his sober son home from the drug clinic. Danny Gallagher had also told many of those same graphic details the day before to his drug counselor, who told Walsh that Gallagher wasn't high when he made those same accusations.

"I asked" Gallagher about "all those graphic details," Walsh wrote in a blockbuster, 12-page affidavit filed Monday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. Those graphic details included allegations of brutal anal rapes, death threats, getting tied up naked with altar sashes, strangled with a seatbelt and being knocked unconscious by his assailants.

In his affidavit, Walsh said he asked the D.A.'s star witness: "Did he just make all that up?"  According to the detective, that's when Gallagher admitted, "He just made up stuff and told them anything."

Case Closed: Detective Joe Walsh's Bombshell 12-Page Affidavit



Friday, May 5, 2017

The Godfather Movies And Mafia Myths


By George Anastasia

The Tribeca Film Festival ended last month with a screening of The Godfather and its sequel The Godfather Part II. The tribute marked the 45th anniversary of the release of one of the best movies ever made.

The Don Corleone saga has been hailed as one of the greatest pieces of cinematic story telling in American history. But the impact of the movies went far beyond the silver screen. It helped solidify an image or perception of "men of honor" and a code of conduct -- omerta -- that gave nobility to a group of outlaws. If those men and that code ever existed, they disappeared two generations ago.

For more about Mafia myths read here in The Washington Post.



Sunday, April 30, 2017

Penn State Confidential: Mike McQueary Caught With His Pants Down

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

When the state Attorney General's investigators first came to see Mike McQueary in 2010, McQueary claimed he instantly knew that they were there to talk to him about Jerry Sandusky.

Even though nine years had gone by since McQueary had allegedly witnessed a naked Sandusky cavorting in the showers with an underage boy.

But a few reporters familiar with the case have long believed that McQueary was lying. And that when the investigators from the state Attorney General's office showed up, McQueary had an entirely different reaction -- he actually was in a panic because he thought he was in big trouble for a couple of bad habits.

Why? McQueary, a former Penn State quarterback and assistant coach, supposedly was betting on Penn State football games. McQueary also supposedly had used a Penn State phone to text photos of his privates to women who weren't his wife.

Today, one of those reporters who believes McQueary was lying just blew up McQueary, a female source, and quite possibly himself. John Ziegler did it by posting text messages and graphic photos on his website to show that seven years after that visit from the AG, McQueary allegedly is still texting photos of his privates. And this time, to keep the scandal all in the PSU soap opera family, the gal McQueary allegedly was texting was the former fiancé of Joe Amendola, Sandusky's former defense lawyer.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Federal Judge Orders D.A.'s Office To Cooperate In Email Search

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

U.S. District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond has given the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office until noon Monday to cooperate with a federal subpoena of two email accounts belonging to D.A. Rufus Seth Williams.

Back on Jan. 5th, the federal government filed a search warrant to recover the contents of two email accounts used by D.A. Williams: phlda@yahoo.com and seth.williams@phila.gov.

When they filed the subpoena, the feds stated that they realized the D.A.'s two email accounts might contain "privileged or confidential materials" involving current grand jury investigations being conducted by the D.A.'s office. To remedy that, the feds proposed assigning a separate prosecutor to go through the two email accounts. Using search terms provided by the D.A.'s office, the separate prosecutor was supposed to filter out any confidential information before turning the contents of the email accounts over to the team of assistant U.S. Attorneys assigned to prosecute Seth Williams.

The city of Philadelphia signed off on the request; so did defense lawyers for Seth Williams. But a lawyer for Kathleen Martin, the First Assistant District Attorney who is running the office in Williams' absence, objected, saying that the proposed filter operation might violate state law regarding grand jury secrecy, and also might require the approval of state judges.

But on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Diamond rejected Martin's argument as a "baseless position." And he ordered the D.A.'s office to provide the feds with "search terms to identify grand jury materials no later than Monday, May 1, 2017, at 12:000 noon," according to the judge's order posted Friday on the docket in the case of the United States of America v. Rufus Seth Williams.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Judge In Seth Williams Case Has Conflict Of Interest

Recuse me
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Richard A. Sprague and Lynne Abraham have gone to court seeking to have District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams removed from office.

The judge in the case is Abbe F. Fletman, but she has a conflict of interest.

In 2009, Fletman was a defense lawyer who represented Seth Williams in Philadelphia County Election Court. Eight years ago, Dan McCaffery, a candidate in the Democratic primary for D.A., went to Election Court seeking to get Seth Williams thrown off the ballot because he had not made a full disclosure of income in his financial disclosure forms.

Now, eight years later, Fletman's unsuccessful defense of Williams becomes a conflict of interest since she became a judge. And nobody will be surprised if lawyers for Sprague and Abraham ask the judge to recuse herself.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Msgr. Lynn Case Goes Behind Closed Doors

Sing it Charlie!
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

It was billed as the last pre-trial hearing in the case of Msgr. William J. Lynn, before the lawyers were scheduled to pick a jury next month.

But today in court, Judge Gwendolyn Bright and the lawyers on both sides of the case spent as much time in the back room as they did in the courtroom.

When everyone emerged from the back room, there were hints that the retrial of Msgr. Lynn, scheduled to begin on May 15th, may be postponed indefinitely.

Instead of picking a jury on May 15th, Judge Bright said that she would hold a "status conference."

What could have delayed the retrial? With the judge imposing a nonsensical gag order on the proceedings, it's hard to figure. One side, or both sides might be appealing the judge's pretrial rulings. If so, instead of a retrial happening next month, it may be delayed for about a year. Or, that retrial may never happen at all.

State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, Accused of Bribery, Charges Philly D.A.'s Office With Conflict Of Interest; Seeks Dismissal Of Case

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A lawyer for State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, accused of accepting $4,000 in bribes, is charging the Philadelphia District Attorney's office with a conflict of interest.

Patrick  A. Casey, a lawyer for Lowery Brown, filed a 21-page motion Tuesday in Dauphin County Court seeking to dismiss the case.

Casey's argument: the Philadelphia D.A.'s office has a conflict of interest in trying  Lowery Brown on bribery charges because the acting D.A., First Assistant District Attorney Kathleen E.  Martin, was a former member of a law firm that represented Brown's main accuser in the sting operation, Tyron Ali.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Final Look At The Legacy Of Little Nicky

By George Anastasia

Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo changed the way the game was played in the Philadelphia underworld. An infamous mob hit and a subsequently botched revenge murder attempt set the tone for the Scarfo era.

They were early strikes in what became a bloody legacy.

Little Nicky played by his own rules.

A final look at his legacy, published in JerseyMan Magazine, can be read here:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

John-John Veasey Guest Lecturer At West Chester University

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

It was advertised on posters all over campus.

At West Chester University on Tuesday night, the Department of Criminal Justice was presenting the latest in their "Crime & Justice Lecture Series."

Previous lecturers included the former leader of the Pagans motorcycle gang. And a former member of the Mexican Mafia.

On Tuesday, the latest attraction was a former Mafia hit man:

"A poor kid from South Philly" who "survived three gunshots to the head, to become a federally protected witness who brought down the Philly mob," the posters said. "And then reinvented himself as a wildly successful car salesman."

Yep, "John-John" Veasey, the former high school dropout, was appearing live at West Chester University to talk about his life in the Mafia and the witness protection program. And his current reincarnation as a born again, right-wing Republican, and millionaire car dealer.

Ralph Natale Vs. Skinny Joey And The "Punks"

By George Anastasia

Some of the guys in South Philadelphia are calling it "fake news."

Others are using a more graphic description -- "bullshit."

They are speaking, of course, of the story that Ralph Natale is spinning in his book, Last Don Standing, which went on sale last month.

Natale discussed the book and his life in the Philadelphia underworld recently in an exclusive interview with Fox 29 crime reporter Dave Schratwieser.

The rest of the story can be read here.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Philly's Big Giveaway: 300 Drug Dealers About To Hit Lottery

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A bunch of drug dealers who have already had their convictions overturned are about to hit the lottery.

In the courtroom of U.S. Magistrate Timothy R. Rice, a group of lawyers are quietly negotiating a "global settlement" for 75 civil rights suits filed against the city of Philadelphia.

The plaintiffs in these lawsuits are convicted drug dealers who have already had their convictions overturned because of alleged police misconduct. Now, the drug dealers are looking to cash in at the civil courts for their alleged pain and suffering at the hands of the cops who arrested them. The bad news for Philly taxpayers: once these 75 cases are settled, there are another 225 more cases right behind them that will also be settled, cases featuring 225 more newly emancipated drug dealers anxious to cash in.

The price of settling these 300 civil rights cases will no doubt cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. Taxpayers also spending millions more to hire 10 lawyers from two private law firms to defend these civil rights cases in court. But the city has given up, and is now in the process of negotiating a surrender to the drug dealers and their lawyers.

Federal Agent: No Sex Scandal At Penn State, Just A "Political Hit Job"

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

When he was investigating cold cases for NCIS, Special Agent John Snedden knew you always have to start from the beginning.

 "Let's take a deep breath," he said. "And let's go back to square one, to the source of the original allegation, to determine whether it's credible."

On the Penn State campus in 2012, with national security at stake, that's just what Special Agent Snedden did on behalf of the U.S. government. And instead of finding a sex scandal or a cover-up in the cold case he was investigating in Happy Valley, Snedden said he discovered ample evidence of a "political hit job."

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Eight Years Ago In Election Court, Rufus Got Caught Using Mom's Credit Cards To Finance His Campaign For Philly D.A.

By Ralph Cipriano
Thanks, Mom

On the witness stand under cross-examination, Rufus Seth Williams explained how he paid for his plane fare, rental car and hotel accommodations when he attended the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Williams said he charged some $1,600 in travel expenses to an American Express credit card that belonged to his adoptive mother, Imelda. But he was in trouble in Election Court because he neglected to report those American Express charges as income.

Judge Allan L. Tereshko was incredulous. “You used your mother’s credit card?” the judge asked.

“That’s correct, Your Honor,” Williams replied.

It happened eight years ago, long before the Philadelphia Board of Ethics fined Williams a record $62,000 this past January for failing to report gifts and income received between 2010 and $2015 for a total worth of $175,000.

The rest of the story can be read here.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Showers And Leaks: Mike McQueary Blows The Whistle On AG's Office

Alex Brandon/AP
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

At the Graham Spanier trial last month, Mike McQueary, the alleged whistleblower in the Penn State sex abuse case, made a surprising disclosure from the witness stand that backfired on the prosecutors who called him to testify.

On March 21st, Deputy Attorney General Laura Ditka asked McQueary when he first heard that Jerry Sandusky was going to get arrested. Sandusky is the retired coach that McQueary allegedly saw naked in the Penn State showers with a boy.

It was during a bye week in the 2011 football season, McQueary told Ditka.

"I was on my way to Boston for recruiting and I was going from the F terminal over to the B terminals over in Philadelphia Airport," McQueary said. "And there was one of those little trams. The AGs called," he said, referring to the state attorney general's office. And the AGs, according to McQueary, "said we're going to arrest folks and we are going to leak it out."

Monday, April 3, 2017

No Joke: Inky Hits New Low On April Fool's Day By Libeling Msgr. Lynn

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Thomas A. Bergstrom, the lawyer for Msgr. William J. Lynn, is so mad at The Philadelphia Inquirer that he's threatened to sue the paper for libel. He's also planning to ask a judge to bar an Inky reporter from covering the upcoming retrial of his client.

Here's what set Bergstrom off:

In an April 1st photo caption that ran on the front of the local section of the newspaper, next to an update about the latest pretrial hearing in the case, the Inquirer wrote: "Msgr. William J. Lynn is accused of sexual misconduct."

That isn't true. Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's former secretary for clergy, has never been accused of sexual misconduct.

Msgr. Lynn is accused of one count of endangering the welfare of a child, for allowing a priest with a history of abuse -- Edward V. Avery -- to be placed back in ministry. Where he allegedly raped a 10-year-old altar boy named Danny Gallagher, AKA Billy Doe, an alleged victim whose story has since been shot full of holes and revealed to be fake news.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Deadbeat D.A. Gets A New Defense Lawyer

Tom Burke And His New Client
by Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Rufus Seth Williams has a new lawyer. He's Thomas F. Burke, who served alongside Williams in the D.A.'s office back in the 1990s, under Lynne Abraham, when both men were starting out their legal careers as young assistant district attorneys.

In a three-minute hearing today before U.S. Magistrate Timothy R. Rice, Burke announced he was taking over the case.

"I'm in for the long haul," Burke told Rice. He pledged to stay on the case unless he died or was abducted by aliens.

Are you aware, Rice said, that your client, the district attorney of Philadelphia, may not be able to pay for your services?

"I'm very aware of that, Your Honor," Burke said.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Circus Coming Back To Town: Msgr. Lynn Case To Be Retried

Step right up!
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

As the legal combatants were filing out of Judge Gwendolyn Bright's courtroom yesterday, Thomas A. Bergstrom, the lawyer for Msgr. William J. Lynn, told the judge he would let her know by Friday whether it's full speed ahead for a retrial of the Lynn case scheduled for May.

The lawyers in the Lynn case are bound by a gag rule nonsensically imposed by the judge, after six years of nonstop local, national and even international publicity of the case.

But the smart money is on a retrial happening in May.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Special Agent Who Investigated Spanier Blows Up Case

FIS Special Agent John Snedden
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

What if everything you thought you knew about the so-called Penn State sex abuse scandal wasn't true?

What if that infamous locker room incident that Mike McQueary supposedly witnessed 16 years ago -- featuring a naked Jerry Sandusky cavorting in the showers with an underage boy -- had nothing to do with sex? And what if the only two officials at PSU who ever spoke directly to former PSU President Graham Spanier about that incident really did describe it as just "horseplay" and not sex?

And what if the guy advancing this contrarian story line was not some crackpot conspiracy theorist, but a decorated U.S. special agent? A guy who had already done a top-secret federal investigation five years ago into the so-called Penn State scandal but nobody knew about it until now?

There would be no pedophilia scandal at Penn State to cover up. And no trio of top PSU officials to convict of child endangerment. The whole lurid saga starring a naked  Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing little boys in the shower would be fake news. A hoax foisted on the public by an unholy trio of overzealous prosecutors, lazy and gullible reporters, and greedy plaintiff's lawyers.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Rufus Is Broke, Under Indictment, And Needs A New Lawyer

I Ain't Leaving
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Rufus Seth Williams, our corrupt and scandal-plagued district attorney, has a few new problems to contend with.

When we last saw our intrepid D.A. last week, he was pleading not guilty to a 23-count, 50-page federal indictment charging him with bribery, extortion, wire fraud, and honest services fraud. In the indictment, the feds also accused Williams of stealing $20,000 from his own 84-year-old mother.

But, as court papers filed last week reveal, Williams has other problems. The free-spending D.A., who has stubbornly refused to resign from his $175,000 a-year position, is broke and can't afford to hire a lawyer to defend himself. So the court may have to appoint one for him. Because the D.A.'s original criminal lawyer has already flown the coop. And his current lawyer is asking a judge to let him out of the case.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Frontier Justice: Dauphin County Jury Convicts Graham Spanier

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The jury in the Penn Sate case today convicted former PSU President Graham Spanier on one count of endangering the welfare of a child, but acquitted him on a second endangerment count, as well as a third count of conspiracy.

On the one count they convicted on, the jury, however, found no "continuing course" of criminal conduct. So under the law the child endangerment charge that Spanier was convicted of fell from a felony to a misdemeanor.

A misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child was the exact same charge that Spanier's former co-defendants, former PSU Athletic Director Tim Curley and former PSU Vice-President Gary Schultz, pleaded guilty to earlier this month. For a misdemeanor offense, first-time offenders such as Penn State's trio of former administrators are typically looking at a prison term of zero to nine months. The defendants could wind up with just probation.

Judge In Msgr. Lynn Case Finds Prosecutorial Misconduct

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The judge in the Msgr. William J. Lynn sex abuse case announced today that she had found evidence of prosecutorial misconduct serious enough to warrant a new trial for the defendant.

Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright stated that new evidence divulged in a Jan. 13th hearing by retired Detective Joseph Walsh "should have been provided to the defense" back in 2012 when Lynn was originally tried and convicted on one count of child endangerment.

The judge said the misconduct in the district attorney's office amounted to violations of Brady v. Maryland, the landmark 1963 case where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors must turn over all evidence that might exonerate a defendant.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Defense In Graham Spanier Trial Rests Without Calling One Witness

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

At 9:35 this morning, Samuel W. Silver, the lawyer for former Penn State President Graham Spanier, stood up in a Harrisburg courtroom and without calling a witness, told the judge that the defense was resting its case.

Five minutes later, Silver began his closing argument to the jury by declaring, "There was no evidence of a crime by Graham Spanier."

"This case involves judgment calls," Silver told the jury. "They made judgment calls," Silver said about Spanier and his two alleged co-conspirators -- Tim Curley and Gary Schultz -- before they pleaded guilty and became government witnesses.

"They made judgment calls," Silver repeated about Spanier, Curley and Schultz. "They did not engage in crimes; they did not engage in a conspiracy."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Time To Flip The Narrative On Rufus

Rufus and Imelda
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

According to the feds and The Philadelphia Inquirer, District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams not only accepted bribes and extorted free gifts. He was so depraved that he stole more than $20,000 from his sick and elderly adopted mother.

This is the same corrupt law enforcement official who accepted $175,000 in unreported gifts and services. The same corrupt law enforcement official who sold his office by doing favors for business owners who were criminals. And by doing favors for friends of business owners who were also criminals.

And yet, neither the federal government nor the Inquirer has made the logical deduction that a man who would sell his office, take whatever freebies he could extort, and steal from his own mother just might be ethically compromised when it came to the administration of justice.

But as far as the feds and the Inky are concerned, when Rufus Seth Williams launched his witch hunt against the Catholic Church, this thoroughly corrupt politician somehow had angels perched on his shoulders.

Anyone see anything wrong with this picture?

Curley And Schultz Score Points For Defense Before Prosecutors Rest Lame Case Against Former Penn State President Spanier

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

With their recent plea bargains in hand, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz showed up at the Penn State sex abuse trial today to testify against their old boss, former PSU President Graham Spanier. And by day's end, they seemed to have scored more points for the defense then they did for the prosecution.

Curley, the former Penn State athletic director who is battling lung cancer, seemed extremely uncomfortable with his role as a cooperating witness for the prosecution in front of a courtroom packed with many Penn State loyalists, including football icon Franco Harris. On the witness stand, Curley professed an amazing lack of memory about most of the key events in the official Penn State sex abuse story line.

"I can't recall the specifics," Curley said about a meeting he had with former football Coach Joe Paterno to discuss what Mike McQueary heard and saw in his infamous 2001 visit to the Penn State locker room. "I have no recollection of that particular encounter," Curley said about a Sunday morning powwow he and Schultz had at Paterno's house to discuss what McQueary had witnessed in the showers. "I don't recall what his [Paterno's] response was."

About a meeting he and Schultz had with Spanier, Curley said, "We gave Graham a head's up." But he added, "I don't recall what the conversation was."

Feds: D.A. Rufus Seth Williams Did Favors For Criminals, Stole Money From His Adopted Mother; Took Bribes And Committed Extortion

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

According to the feds, when District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams received the gift of a custom-made, chocolate-colored sofa worth $3,212, he texted the business owner who had gifted him and asked, "How would you like me to repay you?"

"Stop it," the man identified in the 23-count, 50-page indictment of Seth Williams as "Business Owner #1" texted back. "I don't expect anything when I gift my friends : ) Enjoy."

So Seth Williams kept on taking free gifts that he didn't report. A Louis Vuitton tie worth $205. An iPad worth $300. A $7,000 check, and $2,000 in cash. A Burberry watch for Williams, a Burberry purse for his girlfriend. A preowned 1997 Jaguar XK8 convertible worth $4,160. Free airline tickets and a vacation in Las Vegas worth $2,000.

A Punta Canta resort vacation worth $4,805 that included "royal service" bracelets, access to a private beach, and personal butler services at their luxury suite. And a second free vacation in Punta Cana that included a stay in a "Royal Service Presidential Suite."

While he was the city's top prosecutor, Rufus Seth Williams kept on taking bribes and extorting more free gifts.

"I am merely a thankful beggar and I don't want to overstep my bounds in asking," Williams texted Business Owner #1 about a second free trip to Punta Cana, "but we will gladly go." 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How Bad Case Law Made In Philly Came Back to Haunt Graham Spanier

By Ralph Cipriano
For BigTrial.net

In a Harrisburg courtroom today, Graham Spanier, the former president of Penn State University, went on trial on two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Sadly, as anyone back in Philadelphia familiar with the case of Msgr. William Lynn knows, the state's original child endangerment law doesn't apply to Spanier for the same reason it didn't apply to Lynn. The law also doesn't apply to former PSU Athletic Director Tim Curley or former PSU Vice President Gary Schultz, both of whom pleaded guilty to violating it last week.

The irony is that on the same day Spanier went on trial for allegedly violating a state law that doesn't apply to him, the man behind the making of that bad case law -- Philadelphia District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams -- was indicted by the feds on 23 counts of bribery, extortion, honest services fraud, and wire fraud.

It's a shame the feds also didn't indict Williams for corrupting the law. Because that's what he did.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Feds Exonerated Former PSU President Spanier; Found No Cover-Up

The Penn State sex scandal is making headlines again.

Former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former PSU Vice President Gary Schultz, scheduled to go on trial next week on charges of endangering the welfare of a child, pleaded guilty, the Inky reported. That left former PSU President Graham Spanier as the lone defendant in the case.

Meanwhile, veteran journalist John Ziegler has a scoop on lawnewz.com about a federal background investigation of Spanier for a top-secret security clearance that found "not a shred of evidence any kind of cover-up, deception, or malfeasance" at Penn State.

Excerpts from the 110-page report published online by Ziegler:

The circumstances surrounding subject's departure from his position as PSU president do not cast doubt on subject's current reliability, trustworthiness or good judgement and do not cast doubt on his ability to properly safeguard national security information.

Finally, blogger and U.S. government analyst Ray Blehar explores the mystery of why Curley and Schultz would have chosen to plead guilty now. He concludes it wasn't about the law. But it may have been about fear of not getting a fair trial. Or maybe they even got paid under the table, Blehar writes.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

That Liberal Media Bubble

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

In case anybody missed it, Nate Silver over at fivethirtyeight.com has written an essay, "There really was a liberal media bubble," that blames the media's inability to figure out Donald Trump was going to be elected president on "groupthink" and a pack mentality.

His thesis: the media suffered from a lack of diversity of viewpoint and independent thought. Rather than finding out what was going on with real people, the media, by talking to each other in an echo chamber, came to the faulty conclusion that Hillary Clinton had a 100 percent chance of winning an election that she lost badly.

My hat's off to Silver for engaging in an exercise that the media seldom does: trying to figure out what went wrong when they screw up. Sadly, this type of thing never happens here in Philadelphia. In a town where we suffer from a double blind: a liberal Democratic newspaper of record that mirrors the prevailing groupthink of our liberal Democratic city. At a time when the newspaper is on life support and our local government is both inept and corrupt.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The FBI Agent And The Inky Reporter

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A court-appointed lawyer for Chaka Fattah Jr. argues that the federal indictment against him should be dismissed because of an "improper and corrupt" relationship between the lead FBI agent on the case and a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

In a friend-of-the-court brief filed Feb. 17th, Ellen C. Brotman contended that FBI Agent Richard Haag struck a quid-pro-quo deal with Martha Woodall, an Inquirer reporter, that amounted to "outrageous government conduct."

In the 26-page brief filed in the U.S. Third Circuit of Court of Appeals, Brotman claimed that FBI agent Haag agreed to illegally divulge confidential information about the federal grand jury investigation of Fattah to Woodall. In exchange, the reporter supposedly helped the government's case by supplying background information on Fattah's business dealings with the Philadelphia school district.

Brotman contended that the alleged deal between the FBI agent and the reporter had dire consequences for Fattah Jr. -- a blast of embarrassing negative publicity that cost him his job with the school district and made him unemployable.

As a result, Brotman contends, Fattah didn't have money to hire the lawyer of his choice, so he wound up defending himself in court, with disastrous results.

Shroud Of Secrecy Descends Over Long-Running Msgr. Lynn Case

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A hearing where Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright was supposed to rule on a defense motion to dismiss the retrial of Msgr. William J. Lynn because of alleged prosecutorial misconduct has been moved to March 24th, at 2 p.m.

Judge Bright was originally scheduled to rule on the motion to dismiss on March 1st, but the hearing was postponed without any public explanation.

Seven years into the Msgr. Lynn case, Judge Bright has draped a shroud of secrecy over the proceedings by imposing a gag order on the lawyers in the case. As part of that gag order, those lawyers are required to file motions and legal briefs under seal. Two recent pretrial hearings in the judge's courtroom were marked by lengthy back room conferences.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Quiet End To A Violent Era: No Mourners Or Eulogies For Little Nicky

Reprinted with permission from Gang Land News

By George Anastasia
Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo checked out quietly.

Nicodemo ScarfoGang Land Exclusive!The remains of the former Philadelphia mob boss were returned to the Philadelphia area shortly after he died in a federal prison hospital in Butner, NC, on Friday, January 13. Scarfo was 87 and had spent the last 30 years of his life behind bars. But details about his burial and final resting place are a mystery. 

No big time mob funeral for the violent Mafia don. No FBI agents snapping pictures outside a funeral home where wiseguys and wannabes line up to pay their final respects. No filigreed coffin carried out of some cathedral while television cameras roll and newspaper photographers snap front page pictures.

And usually reliable sources in the underworld, and law enforcement, are keeping his final resting place a secret from Gang Land. Or perhaps they don't have a clue. One unconfirmed report is that Scarfo was cremated and that any memorial was strictly a small, family affair.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Seth Williams Barred From Union League

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

One night last week, R. Seth Williams, our scandal-plagued District Attorney, stopped by the Union League.

But on this night, Williams, a longtime league member, was denied entry into the French Renaissance mansion built in 1865 that occupies an entire Center City block.

Williams, according to a knowledgable source, was informed that he was no longer considered a member of the private club that bills itself as a "shining jewel of history in a city defined by such treasures." That's because Williams hasn't been paying his bills at the club where dues run about $400 a month, or $4,800 a year.

So Williams left and returned with a $5,000 check. The only problem was, the check, according to the source, was drawn on the D.A.'s political action committee. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the reasons Williams is being investigated by a federal grand jury is for alleged use of political funds to pay personal expenses. Not that Seth spending campaign money at the Union League would necessarily be doing anything illegal.

With an ethical cloud hanging over our D.A., however, the Union League wouldn't take the check. But the FBI is aware of its existence.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Shame Of The City: Rufus Seth Williams, Our Lawless D.A.

D.A. Announces He Won't Run Again AP/Matt Rourke
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Last week, R. Seth Williams, our beleaguered district attorney, gave a brief defense of his time in office as the city's top prosecutor.

"Look, I've made some mistakes," Williams told Inquirer political columnist Chris Brennan. But "I was a great D.A. in terms of what we did internally" to change how the office operates.

Allow me to advance an alternative thesis: Williams did institute some far-reaching changes at the D.A.'s office, but it wasn't for the better. With three big decisions during his eight-year tenure, Williams stepped into the middle of public controversies and placed his own personal political ambitions above the law, with disastrous consequences.

The sins of Seth Williams have put innocent men in jail, and allowed 852 convicted drug dealers and hundreds of domestic abusers and other criminals to go free. The sins of Seth Williams have perverted truth and justice, wreaked havoc upon the citizens he was sworn to protect, and will ultimately cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

D.A.'s Office To Start Charging More Domestic Violence Suspects

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

In an abrupt about-face, the beleaguered District Attorney's Office has decided to start charging more suspects in domestic violence cases, even if the victim declines to make a statement.

The D.A.'s office has been criticized privately by police for years for not following state law in charging suspects in domestic violence cases where the police observe injuries and know who the perpetrator is, with or without a victim's statement.

The D.A.'s about face, laid out in an email and a new policy statement, comes after a tumultuous few weeks where a Newsweek article featured the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police blasting D.A. Seth Williams for refusing to charge "iron-clad" cases.

The hundreds of cases declined by the D.A.'s office for charging included an embarrassing attempted bank robbery, where police caught a suspect inside the bank red-handed trying to break into a vault and tampering with an ATM machine. Even  though the cops had stills from a security camera video showing what the suspect was up to, and a written account of the incident from a bank security official, the D.A.'s office refused to charge the suspect.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Missing In Domestic Abuse Case: "A Chunk Of Her HaIr"

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The victim, a 36-year-old female, was shaking and crying when the police showed up.

She told the cops she had been arguing with her boyfriend when he "grabbed her and ripped out a chunk of her hair," police records state.

"Police noticed a chunk of hair missing from the center of complainant's head," the records state. So on Nov. 20, 2016, police drove to a home in Germantown where the crime had allegedly occurred and found Corey Richardson, 40, in the upstairs bedroom "along with the chunk of missing hair" thrown on the floor.

The cops arrested Richardson, and submitted an affidavit of probable cause to the D.A.'s office. An open and shut case of domestic violence? Not when D.A. Seth Williams' "Smart on Crime" charging unit is on duty.

 On Nov. 21, 2016, the D.A. declined to prosecute the suspect because the victim had not given a statement. Even though the cops protested that the information contained in the officer's statement was sufficient to charge the suspect.

Richardson, however, a career criminal with a history of violent acts, was never charged for assaulting his girlfriend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Cop Who Took Down The Mob

By George Anastasia
For BigTrial.net

He grew up in North Jersey.

He could have been a wise guy.

Instead, he became a cop.

And spent his career building cases that destroyed the mob.

Read the full story here:
http://jerseymanmagazine.com/taking-down-the-mob/

Did Seth Williams Spend Valentine's Day With The Feds?

AP/Matt Rourke
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Reports and all kinds of rumors swept through the city today regarding Seth Williams and the feds.

The first reports involved the feds allegedly escorting Williams out of the D.A.'s office early this morning. Next, the D.A. was supposedly sighted at the federal courthouse at 6th and Market.

Meanwhile, like a pack of vultures, a crowd of reporters and TV camera crews was gathered outside the D.A.'s office, as if they were expecting some sort of big announcement today as the Seth Williams death watch went into full swing.

D.A.'s Office Under Seth Williams Won't Prosecute Domestic Violence

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

On Nov. 22, 2015, Timothy Cohen, 38, of West Philadelphia, a patron at the Liberty Bar, put a hat on the head of a female bar employee.

Cohen then allegedly used the strings from the hat to strangle the victim “to a point where she could not breathe or scream,” according to a police affidavit of probable cause. 

"She struggled with Cohen," the affidavit says, until he "let go and left the premises." Cohen had also gone on Facebook and made “threatening posts” against the victim, according to the affidavit.

The victim was treated at Penn Presbyterian Hospital later that day for a sprained cervical column. But when the cops sent a probable cause affidavit over to the district attorney's office, the D.A. declined to charge the suspect, citing "insufficient evidence." 

The D.A.'s office told the police they needed to obtain photos of the victim's injuries, a copy of the defendant’s phone records and his voice mails. The D.A.'s office also wanted to know if there were any witnesses at the bar who may have seen the incident.

Cohen, according to police records, was not charged for the assault. 

The district attorney's office declined to discuss the case.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Cops, The D.A., And That South Philly Bank Job


By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Everybody agrees that on the morning of Sept. 30, 2016, the police caught Kenneth D. Dixon, 20, of West Philadelphia, inside a Bank of America branch at 23rd and Oregon in South Philadelphia.

Since Dixon was arrested inside the bank at 7:38 a.m., at a time when the bank was closed, it's safe to assume that Dixon let himself in.

The cops thought Dixon was guilty of burglary. That's because they were notified by bank security before they arrived at the scene of the crime that a suspect had been captured on a video camera "attempting to gain access to the vault” and “tampering’ with an ATM machine, according to police records.

But when the cops tried to get the D.A.'s office to approve an affidavit of probable cause, so that Dixon could be charged with burglary, the district attorney's office turned them down later that day, citing "incomplete discovery” and “insufficient evidence." 

As Deputy District Attorney Michael Barry explained in an interview last week, the cops didn't personally witness Dixon trying to break into the vault or tampering with the ATM. They had only observed Dixon inside the bank at a time when it was closed, so the cops could only testify that Dixon was guilty of trespassing. 

What happened next with the bank job is a bizarre tale of how criminal justice in Philadelphia is carried out under the reign of our now admittedly corrupt District Attorney Seth Williams. This is a guy who would be doing everyone in the city a favor by finishing the job he started on Friday, when he announced he wouldn't seek a third term in a May 16th Democratic primary, by resigning from office today.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Our Corrupt D.A. And Four "Truly Innocent" Men That He Put In Jail

Shame of the city: Our corrupt D.A. Photo: AP/Matt Rourke
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

There was a truly cringe-worthy moment at Seth Williams' teary press conference on Friday where he announced that he wouldn't seek a third term as D.A.

It came when Williams was talking about his many alleged accomplishments in office that included the "enhancement of our Conviction Review Unit."

In case you missed it, the D.A. has an entire squad whose mission is, in Williams' words, "to ensure that we do all that we can to exonerate the truly innocent."

"So that not one Philadelphian spends a day in prison if they shouldn't," Williams said.

Unbelievable words coming from this guy, on this day.

Well, the D.A.'s Conviction Review Unit doesn't have to look far to find the "truly innocent." There are four truly innocent men right now that the D.A.'s squad can get started on exonerating. They can begin with Msgr. William J. Lynn and former Catholic schoolteacher Bernard Shero.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Newsweek: Philly D.A. Declined To Prosecute "Iron-Clad" Cases

By Ralph Cipriano

When the alarm went off inside a closed Bank of America branch in South Philadelphia, a security camera captured a suspect wearing a hoodie “attempting to gain access to the vault” and “tampering’ with an ATM machine, according to police records.

When police responded to a call of a theft in progress at 7:38 a.m. on Sept. 30, 2016, they ordered the suspect, still inside the bank, “to come towards the officers” and open a locked back door. Taken into custody was Kenneth D. Dixon, 20, of West Philadelphia.

As far as the cops were concerned, it was a slam-dunk burglary arrest. But when they sent a probable cause affidavit over to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, the D.A. shocked the cops later that same day by declining to charge the suspect.

The rest of the story can be read here.


 

Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog Copyright © 2016 BigTrial.net

Privacy Policy: BigTrial.net does not distribute, share or sell email addresses, or any other personal information received from this website.