Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Sure Sign Of The Apocalypse: Truth Leaking Out At Penn State

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The mainstream media doesn't think it's a story yet but the Penn State sex abuse scandal is about to blow wide open.

So far, during the entire sordid 10-year-history of this case, the corrupt Pennsylvania judiciary has been remarkably single-minded as well as highly successful in its desire to keep Jerry Sandusky rotting in prison for the rest of his days. And that corrupt judiciary has been even more remarkable -- and similarly successful -- in circling the wagons over the years to deny any and all appeals. That's despite overwhelming evidence of rampant official misconduct and wholesale trampling of constitutional rights that pervades the entire case.

But on Feb. 5, 2019, state Superior Court Judge Carolyn Nichols wrote a 70-page opinion denying Sandusky a new trial, an opinion she foolishly staked to the credibility of former Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina.

In her opinion, the Hon. Judge Nichols bought former Deputy Attorney General Jonelle Eshbach's argument that she and Fina had set an "internal trap" for the person in their office who was leaking grand jury secrets to reporter Sara Ganim. The gullible Judge Nichols also bought the argument that Fina couldn't have been the leaker because he had previously asked the grand jury judge to investigate those same leaks.

"It is a fact of human nature that one engaged in or aware of misconduct he does not wish to have exposed does not ask an outside source to investigate it," Judge Nichols opined. She didn't mention this in her 70-page opinion, but she's probably also convinced that O.J. Simpson is still out looking for the real killers. That's how laughable Judge Nichols's opinion is right now after Frank Fina has been completely outed as an overzealous and unprincipled prosecutor with a demonstrated track record for leaking grand jury secrets.

Since Judge Nichols wrote her august opinion based on the credibility of Frank Fina, the state Supreme Court on Feb. 19th voted unanimously to suspend Fina's law license for a year and a day. The state's high court made that decision after Fina was found guilty by the court's disciplinary board for "reprehensible" and "inexcusable" misconduct in his grand jury questioning of former Penn State counsel Cynthia Baldwin.

Baldwin was the lawyer for three high-level Penn State administrators under investigation by Fina, in his overzealous Penn State probe. The disciplinary board found that Fina was so out of control in his pursuit of the Penn State administrators that he actually browbeat Baldwin into becoming a grand jury witness who flipped and testified against her three clients -- former Penn State President Graham Spanier, former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz, and former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley -- without telling her clients that she had thrown them to the wolves.

The disciplinary board also found that in order to get Baldwin, a former state Supreme Court justice, to breach the attorney-client privilege, Fina had to hoodwink the grand jury judge about what his real intentions were when he was questioning Baldwin behind closed doors. That's the same gullible grand jury judge -- the Hon. Barry Feudale -- whom Fina asked to investigate the grand jury leaks.

On top of that mess, Sandusky's appeal lawyers are now in possession of a 79-page diary kept by former decorated FBI Agent Kathleen McChesney that records multiple instances of former deputy Attorney General Frank Fina leaking multiple grand jury secrets -- as well as transcripts and other grand jury records -- to McChesney and the other investigators working for former FBI Director Louis Freeh, in his supposedly "independent" investigation of Penn State.

In their motion for a new trial which has gone completely unreported by the rest of the media, Sandusky's lawyers filed the diary with the court under seal, and asked for permission to convene an evidentiary hearing. Sandusky's lawyers are seeking to drop subpoenas on Freeh, Fina, McChesney, Eshbach and others and question them under oath about the rampant collusion between the two investigations, as outlined in McChesney's diary, that tainted both probes.

How does the Honorable Judge Nichols get around that diary?

In addition to the diary, other newly discovered evidence shows that one of the jurors who convicted Sandusky, a Penn State professor, wasn't being completely candid when Sandusky's trial lawyer asked her what she told Freeh's investigators during a prior interview.

Had Sandusky's lawyer seen the Freeh Group's report of their interview of the juror, they would have discovered that she was a disgruntled employee who was already convinced, based on what she'd read in the newspapers, that Penn State had orchestrated a cover up of Sandusky's alleged crimes with children.

Had Sandusky's lawyer read that report, he would have never allowed the disgruntled and highly opinionated Penn State professor to sit on the jury that convicted Sandusky. And when Joseph Amendola, Sandusky's overwhelmed trial lawyer, was questioning the juror, Frank Fina, sitting over at the prosecutor's table, stayed silent. He never divulged that he was collaborating with Freeh's investigators on a regular basis, and may have even had his own copy of the juror's interview with Freeh's investigators.

How does the Hon. Judge Nichols get around an ethical cloud over that juror?

And in the McChesney diary, written by a former FBI agent who rose up the ranks to become the first woman to ever hold the No. 2 job in the bureau, McChesney casually drops the fact that she's been told Judge John Cleland isn't going to let anything delay Sandusky's rushed trial date.

How did she know that? In their motion for a new trial, Sandusky's appeal lawyers quote an affidavit from Amendola saying it wasn't him who told McChesney. So in their motion for a new trial, Sandusky's appeal lawyers propose subpoenaing Judge Cleland to the evidentiary hearing, so he can explain that situation.

So now we already have an ethical cloud over not only one of the jurors who convicted Sandusky, and we also have a mushroom cloud over Fina, who sat silently while the juror was being questioned. And we also have an ethical cloud over the trial judge, who was hellbent on convicting Sandusky before the start of the 2012 Penn State football season, so the NCAA and Penn State could strike a deal on voluntary sanctions that would save the Nittany Lions from the death penalty.

And how does the Hon. Judge Nichols get around that?

Meanwhile, Sandusky's appeal lawyers are seeking to comb through thousands of pages of confidential documents known as the "source materials" for the Freeh Report. These are thousands of pages still under seal as the corrupt majority on the Penn State board of trustees seeks to keep an ongoing cover up in operation.

But every day, more of these documents are being leaked, on the scale of a Frank Fina type operation. And these documents that the Penn State board of trustees would like to keep secret are filled with further proof of the scandal behind the scandal at Penn State.

Much of this information may be exculpatory, as the kind of evidence of prosecutorial misconduct that Judge Nichols said didn't exist when she wrote her boneheaded opinion that denied Sandusky a new trial based on the non-existent, since-shredded credibility of Frank Fina.

Such as on March 12, 2012, when Louie Freeh's investigators got a phone call from Ronald Schreffler, a retired detective with the Penn State University Police Department. Schreffler was the detective who investigated the so-called first shower incident involving Jerry Sandusky and a young boy, back in 1998. It was an investigation of possible sex abuse that multiple authorities subsequently concluded was unfounded.

In the phone call, documented in a report by Richard Sethman, one of Freeh's investigators, Schreffler stated that "it has been clear to him from the beginning that there has been a leak of information in the attorney general's grand jury investigation of Sandusky."

How did Schreffler know that?

"In March of 2011," the report says, "Sara Ganim, a reporter for the Patriot News in Harrisburg came to his residence and asked pointed questions about the 1998 Sandusky investigation," Sethman wrote after his conversation with the retired detective.

"Ganim advised Schreffler that she had a copy of the Pennsylvania State University Police report. She made specific reference to what Schreffler had written in the report. Schreffler asked Ganim how she got a copy of the report but Ganim would not reveal her source."

[But Frank Fina is still out looking for him, a search that could end the next time Fina looks in the bathroom mirror].

Schreffler subsequently told a neighbor who was a retired state police captain "about his encounter with Ganim and of his concern for a leak in the investigation."

On April 4, 2012, Sethman and another Freeh investigator, Tom Cloud, interviewed Schreffler. During the interview, the men at the table discussed the leak to Ganim of the 1998 police report.

"Schreffler stated that he wasn't sure of how information from the 1998 investigation has been leaked to the media but felt that it must be someone involved in the investigation."

Schreffler addd that the media somehow knew that there had been a conflict between the attorney general's office and the state police over whether to include the alleged victim of the 1998 shower incident, identified as Victim No. 6, in the official ranks of Sandusky's alleged victims, which according to Schrefler, "is information that only an insider would know."

In Pennsylvania, however, it can be dangerous  to underestimate the level of official corruption. So if the Pennsylvania judiciary succeeds in circling the wagons again, and denying Sandusky's latest bid for a new trial, his only remedy will be, like Graham Spanier, to head to the federal courts, in search of a judge familiar with the U.S. Constitution.

It worked for Spanier, who, as soon as he escaped the corrupt Pennsylvania judiciary, found a federal magistrate who understood the Constitution. The magistrate immediately threw out the entire bankrupt case against the former Penn State president that had been ratified by every level of that corrupt Pennsylvania judiciary.

Either way, the truth will leak out, even amid a news blackout. Because no matter what the courts do, what's in those confidential documents will be shouted all over Big Trial.

More secrets that Frank Fina and Jonelle Eshbach and Louis Freeh and Mark Dambly don't want you to know.

Tracking the truth of the scandal behind the scandal at Penn State has been a lonely vigil. Besides Big Trial, the only media outlet covering the new developments in the Sandusky case has been Search Warrant, a podcast hosted by three cops.

Big Trial was interviewed on one of those podcasts; Search Warrant has devoted a second podcast to a character witness for Sandusky who had intimate knowledge of a couple of the so-called victims in the case. The character witness also had an interesting story to tell about how one of the prosecutors in the case allegedly attempted to intimidate her after she testified.

In a brief preview of what's coming on future Search Warrant podcasts, John Snedden, a former NCIS special agent, condemned the mainstream media's "failure to follow through on their obligation to be our watchdog."

"We at Search Warrant are currently unraveling the largest case of prosecutorial misconduct you will ever see," Snedden said. He talked about the McChesney diary written by the former FBI agent who "mistakenly thought it would never see the light of day."

"The diary details blatant collusion, corruption, and criminal acts on the part of the prosecution," Snedden said, before issuing what amounts to a declaration of war.

"Nobody hates a dirty cop or a a dirty prosecutor more than we do at Search Warrant," Snedden said.

"Follow along with us as we unravel this shocking, true story of how prosecutors denied men their constitutional and civil rights to fulfill a political vendetta. Join us as the tables are turned on dirty cops and dirty prosecutors who thought they could get away with it. It's a battle of good versus evil . . . It's about justice."

Meanwhile, the man at the center of this controversy called in today from the State Correctional Institute at Somerset.

In a phone interview, Sandusky said even he was optimistic about where his long-running case is headed next.

"I've been through so much that I don't want to get excited and very optimistic, but I am encouraged," he said. Despite being locked up for 30 to 60 years, "I've been hopeful forever," Sandusky said.

"I keep hoping the people are going to realize the travesty and all of the dishonesty and deception and everything that has transpired during this whole thing," he said. "That's my hope as much as anything. That they'll open their eyes and see."

"A lot of my coaching experiences weren't easy," recalled Sandusky, who was Joe Paterno's defense coach.

"But we were fighters who battled. I was surrounded by people like that and that's how I feel about this. This is wrong and I'm going to fight as long as I can fight."


  1. Replies
    1. Chief Justice Thomas Saylor may have to rewrite his opinion on "reckless behavior" by a prosecutor with Fina in mind, more on the order of" unconscionable behavior on the part of the entire judicial system controlled by a criminally insane prosecutor".

  2. Snedden has it right about the mainstream media's "failure to follow through on their obligation to be our watchdog", a prosecutor should be frightened and more than a little concerned that journalists are in the courtroom instead of the norm, knowing the media have their backs.
    Knowing that nothing a prosecutor would do or say, no matter how outrageous will ever be reported to the public, the media is compromised by the prosecution. The prosecution has turned the media into witnesses for the prosecution in fact one of the chief witnesses for the prosecution.

    Why is it that the media cannot separate itself from prosecutors? What draws them in, how do they completely trust someone with unlimited power? Why are prosecutors idolized by the media? Why are journalists not listening when they are told over and over that a prosecutor lied or an FBI agent lied? Don't they realize that they influence not only a jury but the trial judges as well?

    I would venture to say that everyone who has been indicted has had their civil rights violated by a prosecutor, and again by the media who don't care to get the story right. No one likes a dirty cop or a dirty prosecutor BUT the prosecutor gets away with his crimes time and time again. Journalists work hand in hand with the prosecution, their job is to get to the truth not hand a conviction to the prosecution.

    What is Sara Ganim saying these days? Ralph, you are a defendants only hope, one voice can and will make a difference. Thanks for your hard work on this case. Too bad you were not at the Philadelphia Traffic Court trail to record the scheming lowlife tactics of the prosecution, who were caught over, and over by the defense team, it just never made it into the Inquirer. Great work also to the officers at Search Warrant.

  3. Betsy Mulgrew has pointed out an excellent article in National Review, by the incredible Sidney Powell. She's the lawyer and author of Licensed To Lie, which is a fantastic account of the damage that can be done by overzealous prosecutors.

    The title of Ms. Powell's article is Time To Tame Prosecutors Gone Wild, and she could have written it with Frank Fina in mind:


    Great reading.

  4. When the Case involving General Flynn argued by Attorney Sidney Powell before Judge Emmet Sullivan is more fully examined the Real Criminals will be the Judge, Robert Mueller's Team, the FBI, and Flynn's First Legal Counsel.

    The Case against Flynn was Politically Orchestrated by that "constitutional scholar" Obama in an attempt to preserve the legacy of a failed Presidency.

    Now that Judge Sullivan has retained Legal Defense Counsel, it will be instructive to hear his Argument in defense of his misconduct.

    Judge Sullivan should be removed from the Case and tried for his own Crimes along with the Prosecutors and FBI who criminally manipulated a Case and threatened witnesses and set a Perjury Trap.

    Ralph, I wish you could explain why a Former Asst. FBI Director, as was McChesney, would write a Diary that incriminates herself and her Team by unlawfully colluding with Fina, and why she doesn't face at the least, disbarment.

  5. Even if the judge wanted to get to the bottom of this, she would be limited in what she could do if the PA Attorney General was not interested in pursuing a criminal case against Freeh, Fina, McChesney or others. The judge might be able to call them to testify but they could take the 5th amendment and avoid criminal charges. Only their reputations would suffer.

    The journalism shield law seems absolute in PA. Ganim apparently could not be forced to reveal her source. If Fina wanted to clear himself of suspicion, he could give Ganim permission to name him if he was her source. That he hasn't done so is telling.

  6. The AG's office would have a conflict of interest when it came to investigating this mess. Only the feds could take this on.

    There appears to be a few criminal conspiracies going on here. Freeh, Fina and the AG's office are colluding to break state law by sharing grand jury secrets and transcripts, to arrive at a pre-destined conclusion.

    Freeh is conspiring with the NCAA on a weekly basis to give them the ammo they need to nuke Penn State.

    The PSU Board of Trustees has entered into a conspiracy that continues to this day to mute all criticism of the Freeh Report, even though they know they wanted facts and got opinions, and they wasted $8 million.

    And the PSU trustees are conspiring with university officials and plaintiff's lawyers to pay off all the so-called victims who line up at the trough, no questions asked, so that Penn State can turn the page on the scandal and save Penn State football from the death penalty. Even though in order to do it, the trustees had to defraud their own insurance carrier and hand $118 million to a bunch of frauds and their greedy lawyers.

    All of these criminal conspiracies are operating at the same time, and all of them need to keep Jerry Sandusky rotting in jail and his lawyers ignorant of what's going on. It's called Brady violations, and they are outlined in thousands of pages of formerly confidential documents that are going to blow the lid off the scandal behind the scandal.

    The stink emanating from the Penn State toxic waste dump is going to get so bad that maybe even the Philadelphia Inquirer will notice and have to write something.

  7. For his part in conspiring with the NCAA, of course, on a weekly basis, Freeh is angling to become their go-to investigator for future scandals, which he eventually pulls off.

    Everybody operating in the conspiracy gets something. PSU and its negligent board of trustees gets their precious football program. The NCAA gets Penn State's head on a platter. The greedy plaintiff's lawyers and their fraudulent clients collect $118 million.

    And Jerry Sandusky, the designated fall guy, gets 30 to 60 years. The AG and corrupt PA judiciary get to pat themselves on the back for capturing the most dangerous pedophile in the history of civilization. Except they had to lie and cheat and manufacture the evidence they needed to convict him.

  8. It all stinks to high heaven. If the documents weren't around to testify to all of this corruption, it would be buried forever.

    But it's all coming out. And Freeh and Fina and McChesney and Corbett and Sassano and the whole rotten bunch can't do anything to stop it.

  9. As someone who has lived in Happy Valley all of my adult life, I've refused to believe that Jerry Sandusky was guilty of the charges brought against him, unless he himself admitted his own guilt. His love of kids was twisted into the vile practice of “grooming” by pedophiles, even though none of the usual habits that are virtually always seen with these groomers was ever found during the Sandusky investigation.
    I heard your name on WRSC State College regarding possible exculpatory evidence and find your words to be right on target. When the Freeh Report was released, most people only read the two-page "Summary." As an employee at the time (since retired) we were handed a printout of that summary, which was very damning and further damaged and incriminated the University and Sandusky. I read the whole report, and found the summary and the Report to have very little connection to each other.
    Intelligent questions based on this ludicrous report were sneered at by the BoT, and they were so confident of not being found out because of coordination between them, the corrupt judiciary and the corrupt media who support it. With your drive to expose these criminals (especially the so-called Trustees) who brought shame upon our town, Penn State, all of us alums, and who conspired to destroy this man's life, I have new-found hope that the truth will see the light of day. I am very grateful.

  10. Remember my name:
    Anson Jerome Gehman.
    I know Sandusky.
    I know what happened & what didn’t. ‘Know it as I state it.’ This case is going to blow the roof off Old Main. If I don’t.

  11. There is an unheard voice here.
    And it will be heard.
    Old Main trembles at the sight.


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