Thursday, January 4, 2018

For Big Trial, A Look Back, A Look Forward

By Ralph Cipriano

If they made a movie out of Big Trial's top stories from 2017, it would be called Trading Places, starring former District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams and convicted child rapist Bernard Shero.

Shero, falsely accused of rape by a lying scheming altar boy, got out of jail nearly a dozen years early, thanks to the dogged reporting of this blog, and the revelatory testimony of retired Detective Joe Walsh.

Williams, the corrupt D.A. who cooked up the fraudulent "Billy Doe" prosecution that sent former Catholic schoolteacher Shero to jail, along with three falsely accused Catholic priests, wound up in prison for political corruption, thanks to the work of the U.S. Attorney's Office from Jersey, which prosecuted the case.

If it wasn't legal justice, it certainly was poetic justice -- Shero, finally a free man, and Rufus, in a jump suit, and finally where he belongs, behind bars.

Williams is currently doing a five year stretch in a federal prison in Oklahoma because the U.S.
Attorney nailed him for taking bribes from, as the judge who sentenced him put it, the "parasites you chose to surround yourself with."

Big Trial's Man Of The Year
But readers of Big Trial knew that our corrupt D.A.'s most serious crimes were committed against poor blind Lady Justice, and the people he was sworn to protect. On this blog last year, we chronicled how the D.A. let 1,000 drug dealers out of jail, bought 300 of those newly freed drug dealers a lottery ticket, refused to prosecute perpetrators of domestic violence, and let a bank robber out of jail that the cops had caught red-handed inside the bank, where they had pictures and video of him trying to crack a safe.

Along the way, we broke the story about how our illustrious cigar-smoking former big shot of a D.A. got himself kicked out the Union League, and how eight years ago in Election Court, he got nailed for misusing his mother's credit cards.  We capped off our all-Rufus coverage by describing a  face-to-face meeting with the man himself inside the men's room at the federal courthouse, where he was on trial for corruption.

Here at Big Trial, we sure are sorry about not having Rufus to kick around any more in the New Year. But we do look forward to chronicling the exploits of our new D.A., Progressive Larry Krasner, as he sets out to not only reform the D.A.'s office, which could use a fumigating after Rufus was there, but also the entire criminal justice system in our city.

Memo to Larry and his new spokesman, Ben Waxman: Your predecessor stonewalled this blog for six years, and it didn't turn out so well for him. You may want to consider a new media strategy.

Last year, when we weren't writing about Rufus, we began covering the so-called sex abuse scandal at Penn State. What a freaking travesty that case is. Attention Penn State Nation: We are about to get into this subject big-time as I've been working on a long story to be published soon in Newsweek, which just published a cover story about retired Detective Walsh.

Stay tuned for further developments. And to all our readers, a belated Happy New Year.


  1. Congratulations Ralph on a great year for your bigtrial blog! You have exposed a lot of injustice, but there is still a lot of injustice yet to expose. I am looking forward to you delving into the Penn State fiasco big time and can hardly wait to read your articles that will be published in Newsweek.

    1. What a great job you have done in exposing so many wrongs against so many odds. Go man

  2. What a powerful piece, when going after innocents the prosecution strips that human of all dignity, no one is able to restore the person to their former selves. The unjustly accused are destined to live a life that was forced upon them by their abusers and the abusers' enablers, the media.

    Other than the acclaimed Innocence Project, formed to prove the innocence of those that have been accused of a murder they did not commit, there is no organization set up for those that did not commit various other crimes invented by the prosecution, the most serious offense of being a politician or elected official, those individuals are doomed for eternity, there is no hope whatsoever for them.

    No media outlet gives defendants their lives back after they purposely maligned them, very few journalist fight for those defendants, that is why this blog and journalist who see the damage that has already been done to society are so important to free speech.

    Not the one-sided, defendant bashing, fake news that we are subjected to by our pro-prosecution mainstream media. There are many types of deniers, from the Holocaust to Sandy Hook, but none more prevalent than prosecution deniers.

    Questioning the truthfulness of the prosecution is seen as un-American, it must be more than the average journalist is willing to admit or have the courage to report. Without the proper knowledge from defendants that have suffered the fate of the abusive prosecutor, a journalist is in the dark and doing more harm to an already denigrated victim.

    Thank you, Ralph, if not for your work, truth and justice would have been again denied for defendants. How much longer can the Inky stand by and watch innocents suffer, how much longer can they deny facts, how much longer can they be part of the corruption at the justice department? How much longer can they look the fool for not printing the truth ?

  3. The short answer on how long the Inky can ignore the church story is until hell freezes over.

  4. The church is no longer able to hide sexual abuse and has attempted to make amends, thanks in part to a free press and legal action, society is certainly not avoiding the issue of sexual predators, with daily revelations, thanks to a free press and legal intervention.

    We speak openly about our lack of contentment with our government, especially the current administration but when it comes to calling a prosecutor or an FBI agent a liar the INKY will not cross that line, no matter how obvious the facts.

  5. Vios con Dios, Amigo!
    I was profoundly disappointed in the recent Washington Post article about PSU. The author spent two years researching it, yet still got things wrong and omitted key issues. Maybe the editors of the Post gave him a "Hobson's Choice" in order to preserve the false narrative. Yes, the subject is toxic, but what is the Post afraid of?

    You have a story about corruption, lies, hoaxes, and how low people will go to get money and settle vendettas.

    The headline should have been how the OAG cleverly used a fraudulent presentation and a hoax involving janitors to paint a picture of a little boy pinned against a wall. The latter was the very vehicle used to drag Joe Paterno and the football program into the fiasco. WHY? To get the media into a frenzy. We are to believe that the janitors were scared to death to report a sexual assault of a child by a person Joe didn't even like because they feared Joe Paterno and the reverence to football. Forget that the janitors were represented by the Teamsters Union. Fear indeed, but sportswriters all over the country used the janitor hoax to condemn Paterno for looking the other way when he received a report of a little boy pinned against the wall. If you want to try a case in the media and completely poison the jury pool, this is the way to do it, and everyone bit on it hook, line, and sinker.

    Will Hobson got it right to look at the conflict of interest in the BOT, especially with regards to Lubert running the settlement process. He missed a more egregious conflict of interest in that Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck, was negotiating Merck's Vioxx liability with the OAG at the same time he was doing their bidding as the head of the Special Investigative Taskforce. Merck got a incredibly lenient deal. There are many entities that wanted to see Kenneth Frazier prosecuted for negligent homeside for his involvement in the Vioxx Fraud.

    The article mangled Cynthia Baldwin's role, and completely ignored the fact that she "flipped" about the same time her daughter was involved in a fatal traffic accident, a case that has disappeared into the woodwork.

    At least Will Hobson got Frank "The Rat" Fina to have a conniption fit. He probably suborned more perjury in this case than in all the annals of PA jurisprudence. And he had the corrupt and biased judges in his pocket.

    Joe Paterno loved the Aeneid, even though it was political propaganda to make Rome look good. He quipped that that a true fight was when, at the end, the battlefield was littered with dead bodies, and nobody really knew who won. Maybe that was a prophesy for what we have here!

  6. In the January 5th, 2018 edition of the daily newsletter THE MARSHALL PROJECT, is an article they picked up from THE CRIME REPORT from John Jay College.

    An interview with Mark Pendergrast, author of "THE MOST HATED MAN IN AMERICA JERRY SANDUSKY AND THE RUSH TO JUSTICE". bigtrial fans are familiar with excerpts of this book. The interview was conduced by Megan Hadley.

    When asked what role the police played in the possible wrongful conviction of Sandusky, Pendergrast sited "confirmation bias", that psychologist recognize, in which people conduct interviews with a presumption of guilt and only consider "evidence" that supports their hypothesis.

    Pendergrast also quoted Mikhail Khoreva, a Russian Baptist leader imprisoned for more than three decades in the former Soviet Union,who said, " It was interesting to see what lengths the state officials had gone to prove to themselves that I was a criminal"

    This reminds me of exactly what a prosecution mindset has done to the justice department, I am very glad to see a change in the District Attorneys office of Phila, men and women who have the foresight and courage to see evidence that is beneficial to the defense and not hide it to benefit their case, maybe some of this change will rub off on the local media as well. If they are not handed damaging "facts" they may begin to notice that not everyone is guilty of what the prosecution alleges.

    The mindset of the media has been to always assume that defendants are guilty, especially if its a politician or elected official. How easy it is to believe damaging "evidence" when it come to them, how frightening to realize that it only take one voice to stand up for someone and one voice to condemn a person.

    Prosecutors get away with their conspiracy and schemes because the press does nothing to seek the truth and everything to seek punishment.

    Interview below:

    Author Mark Pendergrast claims the former Penn State defensive football coach was a victim of “media frenzy” and a distorted use of repressed memory which led to his conviction for child sex abuse. In a conversation with TCR about his new book, he explains why he believes Sandusky should get a new trial.


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