Brad Bumsted's book, Keystone Corruption, provides a smokescreen that ignores the real corruption in Pennsylvania.
Keystone Corruption is supposed to be a book about the history of corruption in Pennsylvania with particular emphasis on recent political figures who were prosecuted for alleged corruption related to election campaigns. However, the book is nothing more than a smokescreen that attempts to convince the readers that Tom Corbett and his associates were pursuing prosecutions in the name of fighting corruption.
The truth is that Keystone Corruption is a smokescreen that attempts to cover up Corbett's and the PA GOP's use of the criminal justice system to take out political (and personal) opponents.
As I've stated many times, Sandusky would be a free man today had it not been for Corbett using that investigation to take out his rival, former PSU President Graham Spanier.
It also came as no surprise to me that Bumsted was unwilling to entertain any of the Computergate or Bonusgate defendants' arguments that their rights were being trampled by these politically motivated prosecutions.
The prosecutors' modus operandi, as I noted here, was to threaten the associates of the targets with criminal charges to turn them into state witnesses or to bluff the target into confessing to lesser crimes. That is one point that Bumsted understood to some degree...
From page 111: "People involved in the case became witnesses for them -- or defendants."
|Bumsted's book is a smokescreen that ignores PA's real corruption.|
PSU Officials Were Part of PA Corruption?
In setting the stage for his smokescreen, Bumsted ignominiously started out by quoting from Freeh Report and made the assumption that Penn State University (PSU) officials were guilty of "head turning" in the Sandusky matter.
He next compared the alleged "head turning" at PSU to how the government of the Keystone state has been accepting of political corruption for over a century until -- in Bumsted's opinion -- One Term Tom and friends cleaned it up.
The problem with his thesis was quickly exposed by a media colleague and a former PA AG, who told Bumsted that he wasn't covering the real corruption issues in Pennsylvania.
Bumsted described a discussion he had with a long-time friend and reporter who covered political corruption in Colombia, South America.
Corruption there meant politicians taking bribes, cops on the payroll of drug cartels, and murders of political opponents. As Bumsted took to describing the corruption investigations of Vincent Fumo, Bonusgate and Computergate, his friend replied...
"So that's it?" Corruption in Columbia "makes Fumo look like Mr. Rogers."
Later in the book, former acting PA Attorney General (AG) Walter Cohen's views on Bumsted's "corruption" cases were very much the same.
In Cohen's opinion, the misuse of government funds, time, or equipment, such as in the Bonusgate and Computergate investigations, are rather insignificant compared to bribery, quid pro quo, and other arrangements that are quite commonplace in Pennsylvania.
In 2014 the Keystone state was voted the fifth most corrupt state in the Union based on an analysis of violations of Federal corruption laws between 1976 and 2008.
None of the cases included in Keystone Corruption were part of the ratings.
Even though Bumsted understood that, he took the opportunity to trumpet them -- plus the impending case of AG Kathleen Kane -- as part of the reason why PA was voted fifth.
At that point, it became clear that the only thing that was true about Keystone Corruption was that it was written by a "Pennsylvania insider" who really was covering up the PA government's role in corruption.
The evidence of Bumsted's cover-up is evident.
Truthful Tom Corbett?
In one of the most breathtaking cases of ignoring the possibility of a politically motivated prosecutions, Bumsted stated that even though John Perzel was setting up for a gubernatorial run in 2010, Corbett's prosecution of him in Bonusgate had no political overtones.
Why didn't Bumsted believe there was political motivation?
Because Corbett told him that he didn't decide to run until after he was elected as AG in 2008 -- and that the Computergate investigation allegedly began in 2007. However, if that was the case, then why would then AG Corbett allow the House GOP to replace its Computers and servers that year?
In another very telling passage in the book finds Bumsted referring to the Sandusky trial as the "Penn State cover-up trial." As noted in previous blogs, Corbett told him that a grand jury was used in the Sandusky case because it was a cover-up investigation. However, the Moulton Report exposed the fact that there was little to no activity going on in ten of the first twenty months of that investigation.
|Holes in Corbett's investigations exposed his deceptions|
Was Bumsted told by Corbett that prosecutors Frank Fina and Joseph McGettigan were using the Sandusky trial to reinforce the story of a Penn State cover-up?
The Penn State case, like Bonusgate and the case of AG Kathleen Kane, would be tried and convicted in the court of public opinion -- regardless of whether or not the cases ever got to trial.
It really isn't hard for most honest and reasonably intelligent observers to see the relationship between PA politics, the alleged corruption prosecutions, and leaks of grand jury information to the media.
That's why as I was reading the book, I found myself continuously asking the question:
"Does Bumsted really believe people are stupid enough to buy this garbage?"
At the conclusion of the book, the answer was no -- and that answer is based on evidence that surfaced not long after the book was written.
Bumsted's Heroes Become Zeroes
In Keystone Corruption, Bumsted heaps considerable praise on prosecutors Frank Fina and Patrick Blessington as no nonsense, corruption fighters.
That praise now belongs on the ash heap of history.
Evidence generated by current AG Kathleen Kane revealed that Fina and Blessington were engaged in unethical behavior on the job, while Corbett and Noonan were found to
be "not minding the store" as the Sandusky investigation lagged.
In addition, evidence from the Sandusky and Monsignor Lynn cases also add more to the story of how these individuals abused the criminal justice system.
From page 111: "...is one of the quickest lawyers on his feet I've ever seen."
Fast footed Frank was admonished by the PA Superior Court for deceiving Judge Feudale about the scope of his questioning of former PSU General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin during the Sandusky grand jury investigation.
Charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy were thrown out against PSU officials due to Fina's inquiries that violated their attorney-client privilege.
In a footnote in the court ruling, Fina's conduct was referred to as "highly improper" and that he had "paid lip service" to attorney-client privilege issues.
It is yet to be seen if Fina's false charges of endangerment against PSU officials will also be thrown out.
In addition, fast footed Frank (and Joe McGettigan) switched the crime scene of the Victim 8 (i.e., janitor) incident in order to get around the fact that an obstruction in the Assistant Coach's Locker Room would have prevented anyone for observing Sandusky in a lewd act.
Sandusky's attorneys have raised that issue on appeal.
Fina also deceived Sandusky trial judge, John Cleland, by stating two janitors would testify as hearsay witnesses in the case -- but only one ever testified.
Fast footed? You betcha.
Ethical? No so much.
Fina was demoted by the Philly DA's office for his role in porn gate.
From page 109: "...has devoted his life to taking down bad guys...It's what he does and who he is. Those who have worked with him say he does virtually nothing else."
Apparently, "virtually nothing else" meant he still had time to swap pornographic, racist, and otherwise offensive emails with his coworkers.
Blessington was first sent to sensitivity training, then eventually demoted by the Philly DA's office over his role in porn gate.
His courtroom prowess was also not as great as Bumsted made it out to be.
As the lead prosecutor in the Philadelphia Roman Catholic Diocese abuse case, he falsely charged, then got a jury to convict Monsignor Lynn with endangering the welfare of a child. A three judge panel unanimously overturned the conviction, stating that the law didn't apply to Lynn.
Even though Philly DA Seth Williams vows to retry the case, it is doubtful he could get a conviction because most of the evidence used to convict Lynn in the first trial is inadmissible and because the trial's star witness has credibility issues.
Blessington's case against Lynn was just as bad, if not worse, than the bogus case Fina brought against PSU officials.
At the outset of the book, Bumsted accused PSU officials on head turning.
Ironically, at the end of the book, it is Bumsted who is doing the head turning.
Keystone Corruption was published in September 2013 and much of the evidence of prosecutorial misconduct related to the Sandusky case was already a matter of public record (as noted above and reported here and here).
Apparently, Bumsted wasn't paying attention because on page 197 he wrote:
"As of this writing, there is no evidence of prosecutorial misconduct."
The author also raised no argument or attempt to refute Tom Corbett's assertion that his approval of a $3 million grant to The Second Mile in July 2011 was to ensure the charity wasn't alerted to the investigation and having it possibly compromised.
Obviously, when the Harrisburg Patriot News broke the story of the Sandusky grand jury investigation in March 2011 -- and ran related stories including statements from TSM, there was no legitimacy to Corbett's rationale of worrying about the charity compromising the case. (Raykovitz testified to the grand jury in April 2011).
Bumsted knew Corbett's answer didn't hold water and he proved that in this January 2012 op-ed.
He accused PSU leaders of having their heads in the sand and feigning ignorance about Sandusky because they had to know of Ganim's article.
Well, if PSU knew from reading it in the papers, then the charity would have known as well.
Ironically, the thrust of the op-ed was that PSU was attempting to protect its brand by controlling the message.
However, anyone who was paying attention knew that the PR disaster that hit Happy Valley in 2011 and 2012 came directly as a result of PSU not controlling the message -- and leaving it to PA's corrupt media and Corbett's AG office to write the script of the cover-up.
There was definitely a cover-up in the Sandusky case and it continues as I write this.
Bumsted and the PA media are perpetuating it and covering up the real corruption in the Keystone State.