Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The D.A.'s Firewall Breaks

By Ralph Cipriano

Dear Jane Roh, I've got some bad news for you and your boss.

I know that part of your job as District Attorney Larry Krasner's $118,000 a-year "communications director" is to never respond to any of my questions. That's because your main objective is to prevent any of the critical Big Trial stories about your boss from migrating to The Philadelphia Inquirer, or any other media outlet.

For months, you've been quite successful at your mission. But now that's over.

This week, three Big Trial posts that take a critical look at your boss, Progressive Larry Krasner, were published in their entirety on, [LET] a national police website with 38,600 followers on Twitter and about 10,000 followers on linkedin. The result: a national audience is finally discovering how radical and reckless D.A. Krasner really is.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Lawyers For Maureen Faulkner Attack D.A. Krasner's Radical Past

By Ralph Cipriano

It looks like the radical past of  former defense lawyer Larry Krasner may have caught up with District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Krasner's activities as a left-wing activist  nearly 20 years ago are now at the heart of a legal battle in state Supreme Court over whether the D.A. should be disqualified from ongoing appeals of the 1982 first-degree murder conviction of celebrity cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

In the latest volley, lawyers for Maureen Faulkner, the widow of Jamal's murder victim, the late Police Officer Danny Faulkner, are spotlighting Krasner's radical past as a "movement attorney" and "strategist" on behalf of R2K, a legal collective organized by the National Lawyers Guild. The left-wing outfit has long listed Jamal as an active board member. The guild also proclaims that it's dedicated to freeing Jamal and other "political prisoners" who are victims of the "prison industrial complex."

But in state Supreme Court, Faulkner's attorneys claim that the details of Krasner's radical past "demonstrate an obvious and overwhelming appearance of impropriety and conflict of interest." Krasner, Faulkner's attorneys say, has both "an ulterior agenda and a fixed bias in favor of Mumia Abu-Jamal."

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

D.A. Krasner Loves Two-Time Killers

By Ralph Cipriano

When it comes to two-time killers, Larry Krasner, our radical new D.A., has a heart full of mercy.

On Saturday, I published a blog post  about how the D.A.'s office decided  to drop felony charges against John Kane, a two-time killer who, after running a stop sign, was caught by police with drugs and guns.

Kane was looking at a return trip to the slammer for violating the terms of parole from his most recent murder rap. But Kane had already been found guilty in absentia in the Traffic Division of Municipal Court, and got hit with a $25 traffic ticket for running that stop sign. That prompted our merciful D.A. to apparently decide that Kane had suffered enough with that ticket, and he didn't want to subject the two-time killer to the risk of double jeopardy. So the D.A.'s office promptly decided to drop the felony charges in Common Pleas Court against Kane, and a killer who previously shot two men to death walked out of court a free man.

On Monday, Julie Shaw of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a story about how the D.A.'s office wants to vacate two-first degree murder convictions for Derrick Ragan, an inmate on Death Row. Krasner wants Ragan to plead guilty to two counts of third-degree murder, so he can get a reduced sentence and be eligible for parole in six years.

Where Football Meets Fraud: Dick Anderson On Jerry Sandusky

Former Penn State assistant football coach Dick Anderson appeared on the new "Search Warrant" podcast to talk about his former teammate, fellow coach and longtime friend, Jerry Sandusky.

During the hour-long interview, Anderson answered questions from hosts John Snedden, a former NCIS special agent; Anna Mydlarz, a former undercover Buffalo detective; and Tom Purcell, a former Canadian Pacific police captain.

Anderson has been an inside witness to the travesty known as the Penn State sex abuse scandal. He talks about what he's seen on the podcast headlined "Football Meets Fraud" that can be heard here.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

D.A. Lets A Two-Time Killer Walk

Two-Time Killer John Kane
By Ralph Cipriano

The cops pulled a man over last year for running a stop sign and discovered that he had a criminal record. John Kane had already shot two men to death. When the cops conducted a search, they found drugs and guns.

Kane was charged with a half-dozen crimes, including possession of firearms, a first degree felony, and carrying firearms without a license, a third-degree felony, in addition to three drug charges. He was also charged with running a stop sign, a summary offense punishable with a fine.

Because of the criminal charges, Kane was looking at a return to the slammer for violating the terms of probation from his most recent murder rap. But on May 20th, when his case came to Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, something strange happened. Because of a $25 traffic ticket from the Traffic Division of Philadelphia Municipal Court dating back to last year for running that stop sign, the D.A. decided to drop the guns and drugs charges against Kane in Common Pleas Court.

Why that happened involved conflicting messages being sent out by D.A. Larry Krasner over the issue of how to treat felons facing charges stemming from the same incident in two different courtrooms.

But that conflict didn't change the bottom line in the Kane case, namely that thanks to a $25 traffic ticket, a two-time killer walked out of court a free man.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A Man Without Civil Rights

By Ralph Cipriano

The man in the mustard-colored prison jumpsuit apologized in court to the judge for not being able to show remorse for his crimes. But the most notorious pedophile in America had a good reason for not playing along with the well-worn script in his case -- "because it's something that I didn't do," the inmate told the judge.

Jerry Sandusky, still protesting his innocence, was back in court last week to be re-sentenced after the latest official screwup in this ongoing travesty of a case. An appeals court had ruled that the trial judge hadn't properly applied mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines when he put Sandusky away the first time back in 2012 for 30 to 60 years.

But in the grand tradition of the Pennsylvania judiciary, circling the wagons, a new judge, the Honorable Maureen Skerda, gave Sandusky the exact same sentence that he got the first time around -- 30 to 60 years in jail. The message from the Pennsylvania judiciary was unmistakable -- we may have screwed up the details, but when it comes to Jerry Sandusky and the rest of the defendants in the so-called Penn State sex scandal, the U.S. Constitution doesn't apply, and neither does the Bill of Rights. Lock 'em up and throw away the key.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

New Cop-Hosted Podcast Probes Crime, Corruption & Media Bias

"What if everything you thought you knew about the criminal justice system in high-profile criminal cases wasn't true?

"What if the mainstream media was too corrupt and compromised to tell you about it?

"Join a veteran Buffalo city detective, a veteran Canadian Pacific police captain and a veteran NCIS special agent -- along with special guests -- as they dissect the criminal justice system in high profile criminal cases from their perspectives in an unedited podcast focusing on crime, corruption and media bias.

"It's Search Warrant, a new podcast coming right at you."

Monday, November 18, 2019

Detective: D.A. Tampered With Witness In Officer Involved Shooting

By Ralph Cipriano

Derrick "Jake" Jacobs was one of the detectives assigned to investigate the 2017 fatal police shooting of dirt biker David Jones.

The victim was black; Ryan Pownall, the officer who pulled the trigger, was white. Jacobs, who is black, says that race played no part in his investigation, which exonerated the officer; neither did any supposed loyalty to his fellow cops.

"If it's a bad shooting, there's nothing you can do about it," said Jacobs, a veteran detective of 20 years who formerly worked homicide before he was assigned to the Philly P.D.'s Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit. "The facts are the facts," the detective said, and "you can't get around them."

But Jacobs' findings put him on a collision course with the D.A.'s office, led by Progressive Larry Krasner, who was intent on indicting Officer Pownall for murder. When Detective Jacobs got in the way, the detective claims in a new lawsuit, the D.A.'s office threatened to arrest Jacobs, initiated a grand jury investigation against him, and then tried to intimidate the detective into remaining silent until Pownall's trial, scheduled for January, was over.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Philly Police Probe Alleged Cheating On Training At D.A.'s Office

'By Ralph Cipriano

The Philadelphia Police Department has launched an internal investigation into whether police officers and detectives in the D.A.'s office cheated during annual training exercises by participating in abbreviated sessions.

On June 3-6, approximately 30 officers and detectives under the direction of Lt. Kenyatta Lee attended daily sessions held at the Philadelphia D.A.'s office, as well as at a conference room located at 1339 Chestnut St., in Philadelphia Municipal Court. Lee was appointed interim Chief County Detective by D.A. Larry Krasner.

The classes, which lasted approximately one hour in length, were part of the required annual training and re-certification of police officers done under the auspices of the Municipal Police Officers' Education & Training Commission.

In contrast to what was going on at the D.A.'s office, however, at the Philadelphia Police Academy, the daily MPO training and certification courses lasted eight hours. One example of the short cuts the Philadelphia police are investigating: at the police academy, according to the schedule, for "CPR & First Aid," the officers "Need Mask." But at the abbreviated CPR classes held at the D.A.'s office, no CPR masks were required.

Why's The Inky Covering For Larry Krasner?

Inky Coverage Of Larry K
By Ralph Cipriano

New crusading District Attorney Larry Krasner hires the largest and most diverse incoming class ever of 60 brand new prosecutors. But then we find out that 18 of those new ADAs can't go to court or write a brief because they just flunked the bar exam.

Is that a news story?

I certainly thought so. And so did the more than 8,000 readers who hit the blog in the last 48 hours to catch up with the latest chapter of the big criminal justice revolution in Philadelphia, starring Progressive Larry Krasner.

Another person who thought the ADAs flunking out was a story was Julie Shaw, a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer. She had the story, but then her editor told her it wasn't news.

This isn't an isolated incident. In recent months, several other stories that attempted to take a critical look at Krasner wound up being spiked by the Inquirer. So it's time to ask why our relentlessly progressive Democratic paper-of-record is covering for our relentlessly progressive Democratic D.A.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Eighteen New Krasner ADAs Flunk Bar Exam

By Ralph Cipriano

When he first hired 60 new assistant district attorneys back in September, D.A. Larry Krasner hailed them as an "incredibly bright group of new prosecutors" who constituted "the largest and most diverse class of ADAs ever hired by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office."

Krasner said the new prosecutors that he had personally recruited were "fully committed to seeking justice for the people of Philadelphia." But besides being seekers of justice, Krasner also extolled the diversity of his new recruits.

"In order to effect real and lasting reform of our system of criminal justice, we must make sure they are inclusive and representative of the communities they serve," Krasner said. The new class of prosecutors, Krasner bragged, were "51 percent diverse." Many were from top law schools across the country as well as historically black colleges and universities. In addition, "more than half are women and 2 percent identify as non-binary," Krasner said, apparently meaning that some of the new ADAs weren't exclusively masculine or feminine. Another milestone for progressives.

The only problem was that in order to become full-fledged prosecutors, this incredibly diverse group of new ADAs had to pass the bar exam. And while 42 passed, 18 of the 60 new ADAs have apparently failed that test.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Controller Finds Flawed Procurement Process & Official Conflicts of Interest, But Won't Hold Up $29 Million Voting Machines Purchase

By Ralph Cipriano

City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart has concluded that the procurement process that led to the purchase of $29 million in new voting machines for Philadelphia was flawed, slanted to favor the winning vendor, and marred by official conflicts of interest.

But because the flaws were the fault of the city, Rhynhart says, she has "no legal justification to hold up this payment." So last week, the controller approved the first $7 million payment by the city to ES&S of Omaha, Nebraska, maker of the ExpressVoteXL. Rhynhart added that she will not block any remaining payments to the vendor on the $29 million deal.

"I'm really frustrated at this point," she said at the conclusion of a press conference today to announce the findings of a seven-month investigation into the purchase of the new voting machines, a deal that she had repeatedly threatened to block payment on.

"I'm frustrated with a process that wasn't done well," she said about the way the city purchased its new voting machines.

Judge Drops Blanket Of Secrecy Over Long-Running Msgr. Lynn Case

Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright
By Ralph Cipriano

The case was first tried seven years ago, and it's been litigated for a total of nine years.

There was a time when it was being monitored by the Vatican as well as covered by The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Rolling Stone.

But now that the case of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. William J. Lynn is headed for a retrial, Common Pleas Court Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright is determined to keep everything about it a big secret.

She's slapped a gag order on the lawyers in the case, so they can't talk to the media. She's sealed pretrial motions so the public has no idea what's going on.

Even though the media, except for this outlet, has long ago lost interest in what happens to Msgr. Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's former secretary for clergy, who went to jail for endangering the welfare of a child.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Angry Mayor's Office Puts Philly Mag On Double Secret Probation

By Ralph Cipriano

In case you missed it, the thin-skinned mayor's office has responded to my latest DROP story published by Philly mag by placing all of the reporters and editors of that publication on double secret probation!

Victor Fiorillo of Philly mag is reporting that when he tried to find out some routine information about city regulations regarding recreational vehicles, he had to run through a gauntlet of three official city spokespersons before he was told of a new policy regarding all requests for information from anybody who works for Philly mag.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Son Of DROP -- The Triple Dip!

By Ralph Cipriano
for Philadelphia magazine

The first time he "retired from the City of Philadelphia, Ruben David was project director for public safety in the department of property, a job that paid him an annual salary of $83,063. Thanks to Philadelphia's DROP program, which lavishly rewards municipal employees just for showing up during their last years on the job, David left his city gig in 2015 with a parting gift from taxpayers: a lump-sum cash bonus of $268,224, plus an annual pension of $61,320.

But for David, his initial retirement as a public servant was just a prelude to a far more lucrative career as a private contractor. One year after he retired the first time, David took a new position that would eventually pay him more than double his old salary, laboring as a contractor for -- surprise! -- his old employer, the very same City of Philadelphia.

How is that possible? Well, get this -- it's all perfect legal. That's because David (who couldn't be reached for comment for this story) is part of an exclusive club at City Hall we'll call the "triple-dippers." And exactly how many members are in this club is a mystery.

The rest of the story can be read here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

"Phony Baloney" Plea Deal May Come Back To Bite D.A.

By Ralph Cipriano

To District Attorney Larry Krasner, it was just a "phony baloney" plea bargain with a would-be cop killer.

When the D.A. got on the phone with Maurice Hill, after the career criminal with the AR-15 assault rifle had just shot six police officers, Krasner agreed to a lenient 20-year jail sentence just so Hill would come out and surrender.

But to Richard Sax, a retired homicide prosecutor, what the D.A. did was a blatant violation of the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Responsibility, Rule 8.4, which states: "It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to . . . engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation."

So that's why this week, Sax, an outspoken critic of Krasner's, filed a complaint against the D.A. with the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Monday, August 19, 2019

A Tale Of Two Philly D.A.'s Who Are Costing Taxpayers $$$Millions

By Ralph Cipriano

This is a story about two Philadelphia district attorneys, past and present, and how they teamed up to unleash a crime wave upon the city, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

A few years ago, when Rufus Seth Williams was D.A., he joined forces with Larry Krasner, then a cop-suing defense lawyer, to spring more than 1,100 convicted drug dealers out of jail. The vast majority of these dealers had already pleaded guilty after being caught with large quantities of drugs, cash and even guns. But thanks to Williams and Krasner, those lucky drug dealers not only got out of jail free, they also got their money back and their convictions expunged, and then, records show, hundreds of them went out to commit even more crimes!

But 300 of those newly emancipated drug dealers had a bigger aspiration; they wanted to hit the lottery. Led by lead plaintiff's attorney, Larry Krasner, the drug dealers filed 300 civil rights cases against the city of Philadelphia and the former narcotics cops who had arrested them. To defend itself, the city had to hire eleven lawyers from three law firms, who have been representing the cops and the city for THE PAST FIVE YEARS, costing taxpayers untold millions in legal fees.

Friday, August 16, 2019

D.A. Got Stiffed The Night Six Cops Were Shot

By Ralph Cipriano

During the nonstop media coverage of the shooting of six Philly cops, one public official was never out of range of the TV cameras -- District Attorney Larry Krasner.

He was there on camera with the mayor, he was there on camera with the police commissioner, he was there on camera talking with cops on the street. Which is kind of amazing considering that Progressive Larry is pretty much uniformly despised by the men and women in blue. The local chapter of the FOP has even paid for billboards advertising for a new D.A.

But Krasner has chutzpah, and loves the limelight. So on Thursday night, while the bullets were flying, Krasner even tried to visit the six wounded officers at the two hospitals were they were being treated, with little success.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Board Of Elections Won't Rescind Voting Machines Purchase

By Ralph Cipriano

The Board of Elections today decided who cares if the company that sells the most expensive -- and allegedly the most easily hacked voting machines out there -- broke city law by failing to disclose that it had hired lobbyists to help land a $29 million contract with the city?

And who cares if those same lobbyists were writing undisclosed campaign checks to a couple of elections commissioners who allegedly were in the tank big time for the winning bidder?

To ratify a deal that smells pretty ripe at this point the Elections Board had to ignore City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, who stopped by today to personally ask the board to wait just "a few short weeks" until her ongoing investigation of the voting machines deal was complete, so the board could make a "fully informed decision."

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

City Asked To Void $29 Million Voting Machines Contract

By Ralph Cipriano

The manufacturer of Philadelphia's controversial new voting machines, the ExpressVote XL, violated city law by failing to disclose that it had hired lobbyists and consultants to help land a $29 million contract with the city.

The discovery that Election Systems and Software LLC, or ES&S, had hired two lobbying firms, Duane Morris and Triad Strategies, was made by Controller Rebecca Rhynhart during an ongoing investigation of the city's procurement process, which the controller has repeatedly said has been compromised, and that's why she wanted to block payment on the $29 million contract.

ES&S also didn't disclose campaign contributions made by its lobbyists to a couple of commissioners on the Board of Elections. Together, the violations amount to a serious enough offense that the city would be justified in voiding the $29 million contract, according to the controller, and the city solicitor's office. ES&S is also on the hook for a ten percent fine, or $2.9 million, according to the city solicitor, which the company has announced it will pay if the city proceeds with the contract.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

D.A.'s Office Caught Playing Politics With Criminal Complaint

By Ralph Cipriano 

Attention, citizens of Philadelphia. If you're going down to the District Attorney's office at 1425 Arch Street to file a private criminal complaint against somebody who's allegedly sent you a terroristic threat by text message, it might help to have some political muscle behind you.

Because when it comes to filing that kind of criminal complaint, unless you've got some juice, you might be out of luck. As a recent case demonstrates, the top officials who work for our "reform" D.A., Progressive Larry Krasner, apparently are not above playing politics. And what may ultimately matter in a case involving alleged terroristic threats is not what actually happened, but who you know.

Monday, August 5, 2019

What To Do When Your Boss Tells The FBI You're A Crook

By Ralph Cipriano

What do you do when you find out your boss was talking smack about you to the FBI?

If you're Dominic Verdi, the former deputy commissioner of the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections, after you beat the rap at a political corruption trial, you go to court to sue your old boss for malicious prosecution and wrongful termination.

In Verdi's case, his lawsuit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court targets the city and Frances Burns, the incompetent, scandal-plagued know-nothing of an L&I Commissioner appointed with tragic consequences by former Mayor Michael Nutter. And if you're Verdi, when the city's lawyers try to get your lawsuit tossed out of court, you strike back with a 286-page response to the city's motion filled with depositions and affidavits.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Scandal-Plagued NCAA Hires Tainted Investigator Louis Freeh

By Ralph Cipriano

It took him nine years to get there, but former FBI Director Louis Freeh is right where he always wanted to be. This week, after nine years of trying, Freeh and some friends were finally hired as the "go-to investigators" for the scandal-plagued NCAA.

According to a report from CBS Sports yesterday, five employees of the Freeh Group International Solutions were among the 16 independent investigators appointed to the NCAA's new Complex Case Unit.

According to the NCAA, the new unit will be paid to investigate allegations of infractions of "core NCAA values, such as alleged failures to prioritize academics and the well-being of student athletes; the possibility of major penalties; or conduct contrary to the cooperative principles of the existing infractions process."

Freeh, of course, shows up at his new post with plenty of baggage from his notoriously bungled investigation of Penn State, which was the basis for draconian sanctions the NCAA issued against the university.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Inky Ship May Sink In Less Than Five Years

By Ralph Cipriano
for Philadelphia magazine

Top management at the Philadelphia Inquirer has told newsroom staffers they must radically transform the "newspaper of record" into a "robust digital company," or else Philadelphia may become another "news desert" -- a town without a daily newspaper.

"We have fewer than five years to make fundamental changes in our business, our products, our operations and our culture," the paper's top managers wrote last month in an urgent, eight-page report sent to all newsroom employees, titled, "Unlocking a New Era of Inquirer Journalism."

Citing plummeting ad revenues and circulation figures, the Inky's managers wrote, "At our current trajectory, we know that in five years we will be buried under a debt load that will be next to impossible to overcome."

The rest of the story can be read here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Inky Reporters & Editors Picket Publisher

By Ralph Cipriano

Bill Ross aimed his bullhorn at the executive offices of the Inquirer.

"Terry can't hear you up on the third floor," he told the 200 or so staffers who were picketing in front of the building on a 90 degree afternoon.

"Inquiring minds want to know," they chanted, "Why our publisher won't show."

Ross, executive director of the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia, was targeting Inquirer Publisher Terry Egger over the issue of layoffs at the paper where newsroom staffers haven't had a raise in more than ten years.

"No layoffs," they yelled; "Save local news."

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Can Msgr. Lynn Case Be Retried Without A Victim?

By Ralph Cipriano

Judge Gwendolyn Bright today set a Jan. 13th date for the retrial of Msgr. William J. Lynn on a single charge of endangering the welfare of a child. Now the question hanging over the case is whether the D.A.'s star witness will be there.

Judge Bright also set an Oct. 28th date for a pre-trial hearing in the case, at which two big issues may be discussed. One is the topic of further prosecutorial misconduct in the case involving two sets of documents that the D.A.'s office withheld from defense lawyers during the original trial.

The second more complicated issue is whether the D.A.'s office will be able to retry the case against the monsignor without a victim. In doing so, the D.A.'s office would spare itself the burden of having to watch former altar boy Danny Gallagher try to explain on the witness stand all of his many lies and memory lapses while he was fraudulently claiming in three different courtrooms that he was supposedly raped by two priests and a schoolteacher.

The big question is whether Judge Bright will go along with a victim-less case.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Frank Fina Gets Spanked!

By Ralph Cipriano

Frank Fina finally got his comeuppance.

In a 36-page report issued today, the Disciplinary Board of the state Supreme Court called for a suspension of the former deputy attorney general's law license for a year and a day. That recommendation now goes before the state Supreme Court.

Fina, the former lead prosecutor in the so-called Penn State sex abuse case, got blasted yesterday by the disciplinary board for his "reprehensible" and "inexcusable" conduct. Fina, the disciplinary board said, was guilty of purposely duping a grand jury judge into thinking that Fina wasn't going to press Cynthia Baldwin, Penn State's former counsel, into breaking the attorney-client privilege behind closed doors and betraying three top Penn State officials who were her former clients.

Monday, June 3, 2019

A Cloud Of Corruption Over City's Purchase of New Voting Machines

By Ralph Cipriano

There was no formal announcement made or press conference held to commemorate the event. But the week before the May 21st primary election, the Kenney administration quietly signed a $29 million contract to buy new voting machines.

Two weeks later, when the election was over, and the mayor victorious by a landslide, his spokesman confirmed last Friday that the voting machines contract had indeed been "signed by all parties and finalized in the city system." The unannounced contract includes an additional $6 million in possible contingency costs, which would put the total purchase at $35 million, with additional expenses expected to follow.

While the city administration proceeds with plans to buy what critics say are the most expensive and riskiest voting machines out there as far as hackers are concerned, the ExpressVoteXL, the controller's office has issued two series of subpoenas prying into the secrecy of the procurement process behind the purchase. With the assistance of outside counsel, city Controller Rebecca Rhynhart is proceededing with her own investigation of the murky deal that may ultimately cost taxpayers more than $50 million.

Happy Birthday Inky!

By Ralph Cipriano

Last week, I tried to get Inquirer Publisher Terry Egger to comment on the latest round of buyouts in the newsroom where they haven't had a raise in more than ten years, but the publisher of the year wouldn't talk to me about it.

I was also curious about why the Inky can't afford raises for newsroom employees, but they can afford to blow hundreds of thousands of dollars on expensive independent contractors [like Brian Tierney] and officers of the nonprofit that owns the for-profit Inky, but did I mention that Terry wouldn't talk to me?

But now Terry is talking to me. And he's positively giddy about it.

"Dear RALPH," Terry wrote me in a chirpy email at 7:23 a.m. this morning. "We're a little giddy about being 190 -- and excited for the next 190 years. We're glad to have you along for the ride so we can share stories like these . . . " And then Terry proceeded to brag about some examples of that "high impact journalism," as written by those same employees who haven't had a raise in more than 10 years.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

D.A. Krasner Loses Msgr. Lynn Appeal; Up Next A Retrial

D.A. Krasner: Ideologue Or Masochist?
By Ralph Cipriano

The state Supreme Court last week denied an appeal by Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, clearing the way for a retrial of the long-running child endangerment case against Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

On Thursday, the state Supreme Court in a brief two-sentence order wrote that the D.A.'s "petition for allowance of appeal is DENIED."

The D.A.'s office had tried to overturn Common Pleas Court Judge Gwendolyn Bright's pre-trial ruling that prosecutors could only introduce as evidence against Lynn three supplemental cases of sex abuse -- in addition to the case where he's accused of endangering the welfare of a child -- to show a pattern of cover-ups in the archdiocese. The D.A.'s office had wanted to present nine such cases as part of a strategy to put Lynn on trial as a scapegoat for the collective sins of the archdiocese against children.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Upstairs Downstairs At The Inquirer

Mr. & Mrs. Egger visit the newsroom
By Ralph Cipriano

At Philadelphia Media Network, they're staging an Upstairs Downstairs revival with no end in sight.

In the newsroom of the Inquirer, Daily News and, members of the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia have posted signs commemorating the grim fact that they've gone more than 3,500 days without a raise. And now management wants 30 union members to take a buyout next month, or else more layoffs may be on the way.

But for the independent contractors and officers of the fat nonprofit that owns PMN, the cash bequeathed by the late philanthropist, Gerry Lenfest, never seems to run out.

Even when management's grand plans for reviving the hometown papers don't pan out, nobody who lives upstairs has to worry about taking the hit.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Former Federal Agent Details Political Corruption In PSU Investigation

On this week's Lions Of Liberty podcast, former NCIS Special Agent John Snedden outlined the extensive political corruption that plagued the so-called Penn State sex scandal.

Snedden dissects the flawed, "agenda-driven" investigations done by Attorney General and Louis Freeh. He talks about a "blatantly fictitious" grand jury presentment, and an "appalling" lack of judgement displayed by the Penn State Board of Trustees.

Then, Snedden takes on the "corrupt" Pennsylvania judiciary which signed off multiple times on the unconstitutional prosecution of Graham Spanier, and the "vindictive" former governor who "slow-walked" the Sandusky investigation to a preconceived conclusion.

The entire 40-minute broadcast can be heard here.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Former Assistant Football Coach Confronts PSU Trustees

On Friday, Dick Anderson, a former Penn State assistant football coach, spoke to the Penn State Board of Trustees and told them something they didn't want to hear.

Here's what Anderson had to say:

On Nov. 9, 2011, Joe Paterno was fired by the Board of Trustees without due process, despite his 61 years of unparalleled service to this university and this community. The board, confused and conflicted, was influenced by a vengeful Gov. Corbett and a trustee with a personal vendetta that hijacked its leadership. In addition, there was a bold-faced lie written by Pennsylvania Prosecutor Jonelle Eshbach.

[Editor's note: The bold-faced lie was that Mike McQueary had witnessed Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy in the showers. After 18 years, no alleged victim has come forward; prosecutors claimed  the identity of the boy was "known only to God." A previously undisclosed federal investigation determined that the alleged facts of the incident didn't make any sense, and that the only alleged witness, McQueary, wasn't credible.]

The board, fearing the NCAA, and lacking experience from within, jumped outside the university for counsel. They neglected to seek advice from PSU Professor John Coyle, an internationally recognized logistics expert, who was the faculty representative to the NCAA for 30 years, and John Bove, who served as Penn State's compliance coordinator for 14 years. Both men had intimate knowledge and personal relationships with the NCAA.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Mayor Kenney On Controller's Voting Machine Objections: "I Don't Know What Her Problem Is"

By Ralph Cipriano
for Philadelphia magazine

Mayor Jim Kenney has come out swinging in defense of the city's looming purchase of more than $50 million worth of new voting machines that critics say are too expensive, susceptible to hackers, and the product of a tainted procurement process.

On Monday, the City Commissioners' Office, which oversees elections, took delivery of 83 new ExpressVoteXL machines worth about $8,000 each, or some $664,000, without benefit of a contract, public vote, or any money appropriated to pay for it. City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart has publicly pledged to block the purchase of the machines because she's "deeply concerned about the legality of this process."

"We believe we're right," the mayor insisted in a brief interview following a press conference on economic development at City Hall on Thursday. "We think she's wrong, we did our due diligence. I don't know what her problem is."

The rest of the story can be read here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Graham Spanier Beats The Rap; Will Ruling Help Msgr. Lynn?

By Ralph Cipriano

Graham Spanier was scheduled to report to the Dauphin County Prison this morning at 9 a.m.

But last night, a federal judge threw out Spanier's 2017 conviction on one misdemeanor count of child endangerment. In a brief, two-page order, U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Mehalchick ruled in favor of the former Penn State University president's writ of habeas corpus, basically a legal request to "produce the body" of a convicted person before a judge, to decide if there's a lawful reason for that person to be detained.

In the case of Spanier, scheduled to go to prison today for two months, the judge decided that there wasn't a lawful reason to jail him, no matter what prosecutors said. So the judge wrote that Spanier's writ of habeas corpus "is GRANTED with respect to the first two grounds raised in the petition, namely that the application of the 2007 child endangerment statute to his 2001 conduct, and the jury instruction based on the 2007 statute, as applied to Spanier, are unconstitutional."

The simple concept at work in the federal magistrate's decision is something that Big Trial and some state appeal judges have been arguing for years, with mixed results. Namely that's it's unconstitutional for prosecutors to try a person ex post facto, or after the fact, under the standards of the state's original child endangerment law, if that law originally didn't apply to him.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Philly Screws Up $50 Million Voting Machines Purchase

With these two guys in the mix, what could possibly go wrong?
By Ralph Cipriano
for Philadelphia magazine

Philadelphia's city commissioners, who oversee elections, say they've purchased the best -- and most expensive -- new voting machines out there just in time for the Nov. 5th election.

The ExpressVoteXL features a 32-inch touch screen that displays the full ballot, a familiar feature of the old machines the city is replacing, as well as a new safety measure mandated by Gov. Wolf: a verifiable paper trail.

The ExpressVoteXL costs about $8,000 each, and by the time the city gets through buying, servicing and maintaining all 3,735 new machines, as well as purchasing ancillary equipment, the total bill, according to official estimates, may be between $50 million and $60 million.

If the city picked the right machines, however, they went about it the wrong way, say some elected public watchdogs and knowledgable critics. And now it's up to city controller Rebecca Rhyhnart to decide whether she's going to use powers granted to her under the city charter to try to block the purchase.

The rest of the story can be read here.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Will Slippery Frank Fina Beat The Rap Again?

By Ralph Cipriano

In oral arguments today before the state Disciplinary Board, Amelia C. Kittredge urged a panel of judges to "simply apply some common sense" and finally reign in former Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina, whom she accurately pegged as an "overzealous prosecutor."

Kittredge, a lawyer for the state's Office of Disciplinary Counsel, has been stalking the ethically-challenged Fina for a couple of years now. She told the Disciplinary Board that Fina broke "the most revered" and "sacred" legal privilege of them all, the attorney-client privilege, and for that he deserves to be publicly censured.

Fina does have a proven track record of leaking grand jury secrets, trampling on constitutional rights of the accused, and blowing off legal ethics, but for years his brazen conduct been protected in the courts by what some would describe as the old-boys network. But Kittredge pummeled away at Fina today, saying the Disciplinary Board cannot allow Fina to basically use a loophole to "obliterate" a longstanding rule of professional conduct that's the only defense against an overzealous prosecutor like Fina who seeks to subvert the most basic protection afforded by the criminal justice system, by turning a defendant's own lawyer into a witness against him.

Monday, March 4, 2019

An Unscrupulous Prosecutor's Best Friend: A Stooge In The Media

By Ralph Cipriano

At the Feb. 25th press conference in Happy Valley, reporter Gary Sinderson asked me a leading question about prevailing narratives in the media that turn out to be wrong.

Sinderson and I were both lamenting how in high profile sex abuse cases, the media often gets it wrong. It was Sinderson who pointed out that the prevailing narrative in the Penn State case has become the permanent narrative. Because the mainstream media stubbornly refuses to reexamine what they originally got wrong. Even though that involves having to join an official ongoing cover up by the trustees at Penn State. And having to willfully ignore reams of startling new evidence that's finally seeing the light of day.

If you want to see the exchange, it happens at minute 15:30 in the clip below about an X-rated comic book. That's my term for the accusations of the 36 alleged victims in the so-called Penn State sex abuse scandal that would merely be laughable if that X-rated comic book hadn't cost Penn State a total of $118 million.

The reporter's question gave me an opportunity to sermonize about how a prosecutor wins a high-profile media case before it ever comes to trial. This is something I can give a seminar on, sadly, because I've watched it successfully practiced over and over again in Philadelphia, as well as at Penn State.

It's called controlling the narrative. And prosecutors are very good at it. All they need is a little help from their friends.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Former Federal Agent On Attorney General & Louis Freeh: 'Two Politically Motivated, Agenda-Driven & Collusive Reports'

Cipriano: 'An X-Rated Comic Book' That Cost Penn State $118 Million

Dick Anderson: 'The Cat Is Out Of The Bag'

Sandusky's Lawyer: 'This Is Not Going To Go Away'

Jeff Byers: 'The Truth Of The Entire Story'

Friday, February 22, 2019

Press Conference In Happy Valley

On Monday at 10 a.m., Al Lindsay, Jerry Sandusky's appeals lawyer, will talk to the media about his reaction to the report of seven Penn State trustees on the "flawed methodology and conclusions" of the Louis Freeh Report.

"Of course we are gratified that somebody in a position of authority has challenged the Freeh Report, which, of course, we believe was flawed in many ways," Lindsay said in a press release. "I must reluctantly state, however, that there is a significant flaw in the A7 Report. The Report accepts as gospel that Jerry Sandusky actually did these things. So much of what is wrong in the Freeh Report and the A7 response, is that we are operating under that paradigm. Of course, it is our position from day one that Jerry Sandusky is absolutely innocent of the charges and was convicted of the various counts only by a very flawed criminal trial."

Also appearing with Lindsay will be John Snedden, a former NCIS special agent who conducted a contemporaneous but previously unknown federal investigation on the Penn State campus for six months in 2012 and found no official cover up.

In the press release, Snedden described previous investigations at Penn State as "politically motivated, agenda-driven, and collusive."

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Unholy Triangle At PSU: The Media, Prosecutors And Plaintiff's Lawyers

By Ralph Cipriano

Alexander H. Lindsay Jr. was happy to read the formerly confidential report done by seven Penn State trustees that catalogued the many faults and failures of the Louis Freeh Report.

"We agree with the substance of the [trustees'] report" on Freeh, Lindsay said. "But it doesn't go far enough."

Lindsay, a former Butler County assistant district attorney and a former assistant U.S. Attorney under Dick Thornburgh, is the long-suffering defense lawyer for Jerry Sandusky. In took the trustees 113 pages to make their case. Lindsay's review of the Freeh Report, however, is far more succinct.

"It's total fiction from top to bottom," Lindsay said about the Freeh Report, which the NCAA used as the basis for imposing draconian sanctions on Penn State. Lindsay has the same view of the 2011 grand jury presentment that had to invent a lurid but imaginary child rape in the showers to brand his client forever as a raging, serial pedophile.

"They're all wrong," Lindsay said about the twin works of fiction issued by Freeh and the attorney general's office that are still being propped up by the media as legit. In the view of Lindsay, a lone voice in the wilderness, his guy is totally innocent. And, Lindsay will tell you about Jerry Sandusky and his loyal wife, Dottie, they happen to be "two of the bravest and most courageous people I have ever known."

So how does an innocent man wind up in jail? Lindsay blames the work of "an unholy triangle of forces that push these things ahead [in lurid, high profile media cases] and result in false convictions."

He's talking about the convergence of a hysterical media, overzealous prosecutors, and hungry plaintiff's lawyers. All of this was on vivid display at Penn State, as Lindsay is about to explain.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Penn State Cover Up Ends With Leak Of Louis Freeh's Top-Secret Report Card; He Flunked And Penn State Wants Their $8.3 Million Back

By Ralph Cipriano

WJAC-TV reporter Gary Sinderson went on the air in Johnstown tonight with a big scoop: somebody leaked the confidential internal review of the Louis Freeh Report on Penn State.

The internal review, compiled over two years by seven minority members of the Penn State Board of Trustees, gave the former FBI director a failing grade for his supposedly independent investigation. The internal review found that Freeh's investigation wasn't so independent after all; it was also tainted by bias, factual mistakes, and faulty opinions dressed up as facts. The trustees also ripped the Freeh Report for its "flawed methodology & conclusions," as well as Louis Freeh himself, for not disclosing a personal conflict of interest.

The internal review, the preliminary contents of which were posted on Big Trial last June, had been the subject of a nine-month cover up by the majority of the board of trustees at Penn State, led by PSU board president Mark Dambly. He's a shady character who in his younger days got mixed up in a multimillion dollar cocaine ring but beat the rap by wearing a wire. Under Dambly's "leadership," the Penn State trustees have been ardently stonewalling, refusing to release the final version of the internal review of the Freeh Report, so they can continue to cover up their own corruption and failures.

"It's a document Penn State doesn't want you to see,"the WJAC anchorman told his audience before introducing Sinderson. "Penn State has kept it under wraps," Sinderson agreed. Then, to officially end the cover up, WJAC-TV promptly posted the entire 113-page report online.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Inky Staffers Declare No Confidence In Publisher

By Ralph Cipriano

The union that represents nearly 400 employees at The Philadelphia Inquirer, including editors, reporters, photographers and sales reps, says it has no confidence in the leadership of Publisher Terry Egger.

In a letter sent today by email and certified mail, the executive board of the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia accused Egger of "insincere dealing and flat-out lying," as well as "continued indifference to the economic pain of our membership."

"Egger has, quite simply, lost the confidence of our members," the executive board wrote the publisher and board members of Philadelphia Media Network, the parent company of the Inquirer, Daily News and "We are hurting, and we are angry."

Egger, who last November, was named Editor & Publisher's Publisher of the year, did not respond to a request for comment. At the Inquirer, where newsroom employees have gone without a raise for more than a decade, they're also smarting over the company's decision four years ago to stop making contributions to the NewsGuild's pension fund.

Note to Egger: expect some job actions and nasty billboards to follow.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Big Trial Explains The Scandal Behind The Scandal At Penn State

in less than 10 minutes on the Morning Show with Bill and Joel. [Not Billy Joel, but the morning guys at WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM, on North Georgia NewsTalk].

The travesty at Penn State begins with a headline crime about a boy getting raped in the showers that turns out to be a work of fiction.

Then, the investigations at Penn State are tainted by willful prosecutorial misconduct and the incompetence of the Freeh Report.

It's a travesty enabled by media-induced hysteria and a board of trustees that breached their fiduciary duties by handing out $118 million to 36 alleged victims without asking any questions. Such as, excuse me Sir, but do you have a criminal record? Any evidence of any kind? And why can't you ever tell the same story twice?

Here's a link to the radio spot that explains it all in less than ten minutes.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Large And In Charge: Brian Tierney Returns To The Inky

By Ralph Cipriano

At The Philadelphia Inquirer last month, people were startled to see former publisher Brian Tierney swaggering around the place again, still acting like a big shot.

It's the same old Brian, they say. Big and bearded; large and in charge. But not everybody's happy about it.

"He's the guy who bankrupted the company," complained Bill Ross, executive director of the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia. "Why would they want him around?"

Inquirer Publisher and Chief Executive Terrance C.Z. "Terry" Egger, who last November, was named Editor & Publisher's Publisher of the year, had an answer.

"All I can tell you is that a few years back the late [H.F.] "Gerry" Lenfest asked Mr. Tierney to join the Board [of Directors] and he accepted," Egger wrote in an email.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Amazon Censors Ex-Felon In Fumo Case

By Ralph Cipriano

Does a convicted felon have the right to post a book review about a case he was involved in?

Or, after that convicted felon has paid his debt to society, does he also forfeit his right to freedom of speech?

According to, the answers are no [on the right to post a book review] and yes [on whether he has to give up his right to free speech.]

Last week, Leonard P. Luchko, a former computer technician for former state Senator Vincent J. Fumo, wanted to post a review of my book on the notorious, long-running Fumo case, Target: The Senator, A Story About Power And Abuse Of Power.

Here's what Luchko wanted to say. Under the headline, "Our Government at its Worst!" Luchko wrote:


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