Monday, December 4, 2017

I Did Not Deserve "The Scarlet Letter"

Updated to include "Fast Eddie" Rendell

By Ralph Cipriano

The "Vince of Darkness" is back with a vengeance.

Philly Voice ran a long interview this morning with former state Senator Vincent J. Fumo.

Fumo, who spent four years in jail after he was convicted on 137 felony counts, came out swinging, saying he was the target of "an avalanche of negative publicity," and "prosecutorial over-agression," and that he did not deserve to be branded with "The Scarlet Letter."

In Fumo's case, instead of an "A" like Hester Prynne, he got an "F" emblazoned on his forehead as a convicted felon.

Philly Voice also ran an excerpt from my new book, Target: The Senator; A Story About Power and Abuse of Power.

That's on top of an 8,000 word Philly mag profile of Fumo that also discusses the book, which is out on Kindle, and is now available in a paperback, and hardback.

Anybody who reads Target: The Senator will recognize some familiar themes from this blog; overzealous and unaccountable prosecutors and a hometown newspaper that blindly favors them.

These are the themes that run through so many stories recounted on this blog, including the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse scandals, the rogue cops case, the trials of former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, former L&I Deputy Commissioner Dominic Verdi, and former Penn State President Graham Spanier, as well as the so-called Penn State sex abuse scandal.

Well the granddaddy of all of the cases in this genre is the Fumo case, which was staged for nearly five months at the federal courthouse back in 2008 and 2009.

Whether you loathed or loved Fumo, his case was a travesty from start to finish. There were so many leaks, the defendant was being tried and convicted in the media for years before his trial even began.

In Fumo's case, the feds were able to criminalize politics as usual, and the media and a jury went along with it, deciding that it was a felony for Fumo to fix up an office building, tear down a nuisance bar, rent a car, and put gas in that car. All while the Inquirer portrayed Fumo as Satan.

It was, as I say in the book, a "cartoon version of reality." So in Target: The Senator, I spent a lot of time explaining who Fumo was, how he got there, and what the taxpayers lost when the feds staged their moral crusade that took him out.

As Harvey A. Silverglate, author of Three Felonies A Day; How the Feds Target the Innocent, writes in the foreword:

“Target: The Senator brilliantly lays out the federal prosecutorial jihad against one of the most powerful — and colorful — state politicians in recent memory, Vincent J. Fumo . . . . [Cipriano] has interjected truth as a weapon against raw governmental abuse of power and news media gullibility. [He] deserves our thanks for peeling back the curtain on the epic destruction of Fumo, and revealing how it was done. Our job now is to read this important book with care and then to engage, as activist citizens, in an effort to reform the system."

Another good reason to read the book: nobody who read the Inquirer's Fumo coverage has any idea of what really happened in that case. No, Fumo was not convicted of extorting PECO and Verizon; he was never even charged with that.

What happened in the Fumo case was that the feds, who, recently declassified FBI records show, had targeted Fumo for destruction since the 1970s, were able, with the help of the gullible and irresponsible hometown newspaper, to team up and destroy a guy, along with the presumption of innocence, and a defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial.

In the book, I had access to thousands of pages of previously confidential grand jury transcripts and FBI "302s," stuff the Inquirer never saw, so I could explain exactly how the feds pulled it off. Fumo, of course, also tells his side of the story for the first time.

The hometown newspaper's pro-prosecution bias, even when the prosecutor and his prosecution is proven to be corrupt, is laid out elsewhere on this blog in the Newsweek cover story this week about Detective Joe Walsh, and his incredible voyage through the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's sex abuse prosecutions.

In this case, a district attorney, Rufus Seth Williams, now on his way to a federal prison in Oklahoma, ran with a false prosecution featuring a fraudulent crime victim -- Billy Doe, AKA Danny Gallagher.

In a case that is still ongoing, four innocent men were sent to jail, one died there. The capper was the amazing specter of the detective who led that investigation for the D.A.'s office, Walsh, coming forward publicly to say it was all a lie, and that he caught Danny Gallagher lying. And when he tried to tell the prosecutor that Gallagher was a liar, former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen, she replied, "You're killing my case."

How often does that happen? Walsh's story is all laid out in two court cases as well as a 12-page affidavit filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. It's a story that's on the cover of Newsweek from coast to coast, and the blind editors at the Inquirer still refuse to print a word about it. Amazing.

Instead, in the news columns and editorial pages of the Inquirer, the story about sex abuse in the Catholic Church is always the same, rapacious priests and innocent victims, as illustrated in Maria Panaritis's recent opus on the lasting damage done by Father James Bryzyski. 

I'm not saying that isn't a story. It surely is. But so is Detective Walsh coming forward, and so is Danny Gallagher being revealed as a complete fraud. A guy who sent four innocent men to jail, and stole $5 million from the Catholic Church in a civil settlement for imaginary pain and suffering.

But it's news that the Inquirer continues to ignore in a calculated and partisan way. 

Back when I went to journalism school, we were taught that it was a reporter's job to hold everyone accountable, especially government officials. They never told us the only guys that this didn't apply to were prosecutors.

But at the Inquirer, there are many sacred cows, starting with prosecutors. Anyone who doubts what I say should read Target: The Senator. Especially the chapter about the day Ed Rendell came to court to testify on Fumo's behalf, and wound up becoming a key prosecution witness.

Now there's another Inky sacred cow -- Ed Rendell.

In Target: The Senator, you'll find out more about the real "Fast Eddie" in that chapter than anything you ever read in the Inquirer. Including some of Ed's antics with women, including a caper similar to one that got Larry King in trouble, stuff that Ed's friendly hometown newspaper never wrote about. In addition to Ed physically manhandling reporters, foaming at the mouth, and screwing up the city's pension system.

To cap off the fun, Ed even gave me a great interview where he admitted to most of the hijinks he was accused of. Read all about it in Target: The Senator.


  1. How do we engage in reforming the system as activist citizens, how can the average person make a difference ?

    How do we outweigh the prosecution's "facts" published by nationally recognized media outlets.

    How do we let everyone know what the prosecution really does to people and to families for their own benefit.

    Where can we go to tell of the lies told by the prosecution ?

    Is there an outlet that allows one to tell what happened to them ? Why would anyone believe a citizen when the media is telling a completely different story ?

    Why would a jury or a judge believe a mere citizen when the media has defamed and disgraced them ?

    Where do we go to tell our stories, the ones that tell of innocents who are forced to plead guilty to non-existent crimes to save a family member from going to prison, because the prosecution did not get the "cooperation" they demanded to trap a larger fish, even though no such information existed.

    Who is interested in hearing our truths ? Certainly not the Inquirer, I tried, they were not interested.

  2. Lets not forget the Philadelphia Traffic Court trial, same prosecutor as the Police Narcotics trial. Mail and Wire fraud were charged, as the disposition of each tickets was relayed to Tarrytown NY from Spring Garden Street, unbeknownst to any of the Traffic Court Judges as they found at at trial that the Supreme Court had chosen a New York firm to handle the daily relay to Harrisburg.

    The Judges were forced to talk, threatened with losing their job, about the day to day activities of the court, they were told their testimony was for the Supreme Court's eyes exclusively , only to have their testimony published a short time later by the Inquirer.

    Or the FBI agent that lied repeatedly and was caught repeatedly, the prosecutor who removed a ticket from the file to show the Judges erred when ruling on a ticket,she slipped the ticket out of its jacket and hid it under papers on her desk, one of the defendants noticed the ticket sequencing showing there was supposed to be another ticket in the file, when questioned as the whereabouts of the ticket by the defense team, she produced it from her desk, it was proven they did not err in their ruling , but the prosecution tried so hard to go out of their way to proves otherwise.

    The ticket holders, many who could not speak English, who were frightened to death by receiving target letters, for a traffic ticket appeared in court with an interpreter provided by the justice department, who did not have a good command of Cantonese, better in Mandarin.

    The employee of a trucking company who the FBI and IRS said they could not find, with everything they have at their disposal to search for a person, could not locate a witness who would have been beneficial to the defense.

    Luckily the defense team found him easily on social media, who had in fact appeared in Traffic Court to handle the ticketing issue for his company correctly, the prosecution had everyone else in the company on the stand ,who were not responsible for standing up for the ticket and should not have been paraded in front of a jury saying they did not appear in Traffic Court . The prosecution was trying to prove that phone calls were made, except the prosecution got caught, lying.

    There was an ethics board in place that could have handled these issues, which at best ethical issues, but that was not the desired outcome the Supreme Court wanted.

    Traffic Court as well was a staged show to outrage the public. The outcome was the lost of liberty for all but one Judge, careers ruined, reputations stained and million and millions that no longer go to the state coffers.

    This was a scheme to criminalize at best ethics violations that the Supreme Court should have and could have handled years and years ago.

  3. All the pain, loss and suffering that Vince endured, can you recall or explain why he never gave up to the FEDS a bigger and wider net of fish?

    It's remarkable that Vince would recall playing hardball with Clinton over Judicial Appointments.With all the juice he had in the Court Systems, he was protected and provided immunity to others for decades.

    Has he ever given testimony to implicate Mayor Kenney for crimes that he committed when he loyally served as gofer and bagman to Chief of Staff?

    Rendell has to be at the top of the list, but true to his oath of omerta and scion to a long line of family players, it speaks volumes beyond this effort to rewrite history.
    When Police Captain Frank Wallace served as top cop of the Organized Crime Unit, rising through ranks after serving such stints as Emmett Fitzpatrick's bodyguard and County Detective during the reign of a District Attorney who's corruption ranks far beyond the career of Rufus Williams, what favors were extended that eventually rewarded him as Vince's special investigator after he retired from the PPD?

    Vince was truly a Teflon Don, and fortunately for him he can live out his life in luxury with wealth and his loyal "entourage", unlike many Criminal Bosses of lesser charm and intellect.

    Reading that he is making nice with Marimow, must give you agita, considering your personal history with the Inky.

  4. Ralph, just a thought for you, if all journalist took the time to sit through an entire trial, examine facts, spoke to defendants, heard both side an argument,reported truthfully, we may have less prosecutors that would attempt to misconstrue facts to benefit the prosecution's case for fear they would be exposed, would you agree ?.

    If mainstream media was as critical of prosecutors as they are of elected officials, the playing field would be fairer for all. Has their quest for uncovering corruption blinded them from reporting fairly ?

    Does everyone need to wait to write a book about their experiences after the fact ? What benefit does it have on the defendant that is facing a prison sentence, loss of reputation and career, future livelihood , disgrace, besides a life savings spent on a defense.

    How can it help, unless everyone in the region is reading your blog or similar such websites or publications that speak of the overreaching and misconduct that occurs daily. Only these people will be informed jurors.

    It seems that mainstream media is holding all the cards, they can shape a defendant's fate with their articles. We need to get to the jurors and judges before the media does.

    Inaccurate "facts" become the truth when they are printed by journalist. Too much evidence exists for mainstream reporters not to take notice at this point of the discrepancies between what the prosecution alleges and the truth.

    What am I missing? Why is mainstream media continually promoting the prosecution ? How many more years in the future do we have to wait before they realize what most of us already know and how much longer before no one believes what they say.

    In the long run it's harmful to their credibility. The writing's on the wall, most people are getting it, just not, unfortunately those with the most influence over public opinion.

  5. Like the labyrinth of deception at the disposal of sexual predators to cover up abuses in Hollywood, Washington and Media Networks, the prosecution uses similar tactics to silence and hide victims of prosecutorial abuse using the media to enforce these goals.

  6. Ralph, great teaser with the additional Rendell information. And the Inquirer picture - priceless. Still amazes me on all the front page stories they write about those wrongly incarcerated - but nothing on the fraudulent prosecutions of Shero and Englehardt
    Where are you Josh Shapiro?

    1. Josh Shapiro is a crook, just like the rest of them. He suborned perjury in the Spanier trial, and totally ignored a Federal investigation which exonerated Spanier. I think that jail would be a good [place for him.

    2. GV,

      I couldn't agree more. Trouble is, Josh Shapiro is backed by the Kosher Nostra. He is a very carefully designed crook---made out to appear, at least on the surface, as a squeaky clean, mover and shaker yuppie type. Everything down to the spectacles, the "progressive" democrat label, and the razor perfect haircut are calculated physical effects to fool the gullible public.

      And of course, with the Kosher Nostra-owned media, Josh Shapiro is given many scripted speeches attached to pseudo-crisis events such as the "opiod epidemic" and multiple senior-defrauding type of arrests. Most, if not all of these stories are simply concocted or set up by the Kosher Nostra media for Josh to make "arrests" while grandstanding and appearing to be a "real crime fighter". When in reality, Josh Shapiro is nothing but a wise guy disguised as a decent human being.


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