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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, specifically naming Assistant Deputy Attorney General Jonelle Eshbach. And, according to McQueary, Eshbach "said we're going to arrest folks and we are going to leak it out."

Then, McQueary, perhaps catching himself, said, "Let me back up a little bit. We heard rumors that I had heard that -- the week before that arrests were imminent and that it was going to be more than Jerry Sandusky."

The state Attorney General's office has a known problem with leaks. Former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane lost her job after she was convicted last August of nine criminal charges, including leaking "confidential investigative information" in 2014 from a past grand jury probe to Chris Brennan, then a Philadelphia Daily News reporter.

Kane had to resign from her job and was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in jail after she was convicted of perjury, conspiracy, leaking grand jury information and then lying about it, to cover it up.

In the Jerry Sandusky case, prosecutors testified at a post-trial hearing last August that they had no knowledge of how the media found out that Sandusky and others in the Penn State scandal were about to be arrested. And how the media knew that there was a grand jury investigation of Sandusky in progress.

"If we can establish there were leaks by government agents, it could result in dismissal of case," Al Lindsay, Sandusky's lawyer, told reporters after the appeals hearing last August.

When reached for comment late today, Lindsay was on the case.

"We received a portion of that transcript from Mike McQueary," Lindsay said. "And it's certainly something we're studying to see whether or not it might be a fertile field for us to develop with regard to Mr. Sandusky's motion for a new trial," Lindsay said on behalf of client, now serving 30 to 60 years in prison.

A spokesperson for the state Attorney General's press office, where they're known for hiding under their desks, did not respond to a request for comment.

On the witness stand at the Spanier trial last month, McQueary testified that immediately after the AG's office told him they were going to leak news of the impending arrests, he ran over to the office of Assistant Athletic Director Fran Ganter.

"I remember it clearly," McQueary testified. "And I said, you gotta call Timmy's. Those guys are in trouble."

"Tim Curley," Ditka asked, referring to the former athletic director at Penn State.

"Yeah," McQueary testified. "And, you know, he kind of passed it off or shrugged me off," McQueary said about Ganter. "I'm not sure they believed me. And that's all that happened with that."

"So, a week later, I'm in that airport and I get a call," McQueary testified. "And then the media starts gettin' ahold of everything, and it's all kind of downhill after that."

Amen, brother.

When McQueary testified about the AG planning to "leak it out," I was in the courtroom but did not grasp the significance of what McQueary said. I had to have others explain it to me. And then it took a while to get the court transcript via a money order sent  out snail mail to the Dauphin County Courthouse, to verify what McQueary had to say.

But Penn State veterans got it right away. Like Maribeth Roman Schmidt, the head of Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship.

"Mike's assertion under oath that the AGs leaked information about the PSU admins' arrests confirms suspicions we've had all along about prosecutorial misconduct on a number of levels," she said.

"It's now exceedingly obvious that the Attorney General was trying to manipulate public perception of the Penn State case from the very beginning, and they were willing to commit a crime to do it."

"This bombshell places the integrity of the entire Penn State case squarely at the feet of [newly elected AG] Josh Shapiro," Schmidt said about the new Attorney General who's yet to come out of hiding.

"If he's serious about restoring confidence in the AG's office," Schmidt said, "There is no other place for him to start than reviewing the conduct of prosecutors in this case from top to bottom."

Ray Blehar, who writes a blog, notpsu.blogspot.com, first reported the McQueary admission on March 25th, after he was tipped by Schmidt, who called it the "shocker of the day."

"McQueary Becomes Real Whistleblower," was Blehar's headline. In his blog post, Blehar quoted a transcript from McQueary's whistleblower and libel suit against Penn State, where McQueary scored a total of $12 million.

In the transcript from the McQueary trial, McQueary recounts how he was traveling to Boston, from Philadelphia Airport terminal B. It was Friday Nov. 4th after the Illinois game. McQueary testified how he got a phone call from then Deputy Attorney General Jonelle Eshbach.

"And she said a screw up had occurred or some kind of leak or a computer system malfunction, and she said all of the charges are going to be released," McQueary testified.

"However, it appears that McQueary's testimony at the Spanier trial goes a step further to state that Eshbach intentionally leaked the information," Blehar wrote.

"For years, Penn Staters have complained about the lack of an investigation into the leaks related to Jerry Sandusky," Blehar wrote. "Now, AG Josh Shapiro has the name of at least one of the Sandusky leakers. And it came from the Commonwealth's star witness in the Sandusky and Spanier cases."

Blehar called for Eshbach to be prosecuted "just as vigorously as former AG Kathleen Kane."

Eschbach, now running for York County District Attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.

For reporter John Ziegler, another regular chronicler of the Penn State scandal, the McQueary admission at the Spanier trial shines some light on a bigger picture.

"Anyone who uses his brain can only interpret this statement as an accidental admission that, just as I have long assumed, the AG's office prematurely leaked the grand jury presentment so that their favorite reporter, Sara Ganim, could 'find' it and start to set their false narrative," Ziegler said.

"Once you realize this is true, you must then also conclude that the entire basis of Ganim's article from March of that year revealing the existence of the grand jury was illegal AG leaks intended to jumpstart a case that was extremely weak because they had no credible accusers."

Related: Ziegler responds to those who want to get him fired.

Blehar: Is Frank Fina facing a perjury rap?

12 comments:

  1. Huge news to anyone with an ounce of integrity. So, the PA legal system will ignore it, just as indisputable perjury by police on the witness stand went unpunished.

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  2. It appears former OAG prosecutor Frank Fina lied and shifted blame for the leak on the Centre County District Magistrate's office.

    http://notpsu.blogspot.com/2017/04/fina-perjury.html

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  3. I suspect if Mike McQueary is asked about this again, he'll simply say that he misspoke. He's contradicted himself or changed his story repeatedly, and the defense lawyers have not vigorously cross-examined him on it.

    McQueary is essentially immune from being charged with perjury as long as he sticks to his story supporting the Attorney General's case against Penn State.

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    1. Or if we're lucky, he'll blow the whistle on the OAG and make some more money. This never ends.

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    2. MM pay back the AG's office, for the false statements in the Grand Jury Presentment that he saw a rape!
      He's a gambler, you back over a word, or a phrase when you have mis spoke about a word or date or meaning! But you don't accidentally recall the flight , the location and time and reason you get a phone call from the AG of Pennsylvania. He made that statement on purpose under oath to reflect just how much influence the AG's office put on him for testimony for a crime he did not witnessed.

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  4. Eschbach and Fina expertly used the leaked fraudulent presentation and the Janitor Hoax to paint a vivid picture of a little boy being pinned against a wall. How they got the janitors to perjure themselves is a mystery as is the fact that only one of them showed at JS's trial to give highly prejudicial unsupported hearsay testimony. Also it is noted that Fina failed to provide the defense with their exculpatory interview with the supposed eyewitness janitor...a Bradey violation. Lynne Abraham was supposed to investigate Second Mile (which is, after all where JS got access to his boys), but backed down when Frank (the rat) Fina and compare Salvadore told her that she would be sleeping with the fishes if she got too inquisitive. This leaves us with questions about MM himself: How did he learn to associate slapping with sex, how did he bamboozle the all knowing Joe Paterno while gambling on football games, why was he sexting images of his genitals to PSU co-eds, why did he lie about his golf handicap (worse than cheating at cards), and why, oh why, did he bait those poor deer?

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    1. The janitor's tale should tell you all you need to know about how far the AG's office was willing to go to invent fake eyewitnesses. They needed them desperately. There were two witnesses supposed to testify, Petrosky and Jay Withers but only Ron spoke. Petrosky changed the location of the shower incident and the sequence of events during the trial ( different from gj testimony) in order to make it squeak by as hearsay evidence. Cleland went along with this. The sales job Fina did on Cleland is all in the trial transcript and demonstrates that Cleland was not impartial. Amendola was given the recording of Calhoun's denial it was Jerry...but did not find it because it was buried in massive amounts of "discovery" available only a short time before the trial and he was too swamped. Not using Calhoun's actual statement was a mistake because it would have raised doubt in the jury's mind about the affair. Jerry was convicted on the phantom victim charge. The jury foreman Joshua Harper said in an interview that it was the eyewitness testimony of the janitor that convinced him of Jerry's guilt. Evidently he didn't realize this was hearsay, not an eyewitness. The Penn State scandal is a textbook example of prosecutorial zealotry combined with acceptance of manufactured testimony ( repressed memory therapy), civil attorney coaching and public hysteria.

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  5. Ralph Cipriano gets it. His articles on the Spanier debacle have been spot on. IMO he is the journalist with the best handle on the facts and evidence in the Penn State fiasco. I hope his work gains some traction and becomes a springboard for unraveling this entire mess.

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  7. Thanks, Steve, and what a mess it is.

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  8. The Janitor Hoax was the vehicle used to draw Joe Paterno and the football program into the debacle. Why would they need to do this? Why did they want the janitor to say that he feared retribution from Paterno if he reported it? Did you ever hear of a member of a powerful public workers union (Teamsters?) being afraid of being fired for anything, much less reporting abuse of a child by someone Paterno didn't even like? Oh, the culture of football! The Union bosses would have curled up like opossums in fear. And in the real world, word of a sighting like this would have spread faster than a California wildfire!

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  9. Ex wife chasing after McQueary now that he will have 12M?

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