Friday, September 11

Nifonged Part 3: Freeh "Exposed" Fina's Other Email Problem

When then-Governor Tom Corbett recommended Louis Freeh to conduct the investigation at Penn State, little did he know that the Freeh Report would provide key evidence that helped unveil Fina's email deception.  

Ray Blehar

Parts 1 and 2 of the series identified critical facts and evidence (indicating misconduct) that surfaced after Frank Fina's "flip" strategy failed.   Part 3  identifies the information contained in the Freeh Report that revealed Fina and Baldwin misrepresented evidence before the court.

Corbett Endorsed Freeh

Shortly after Penn State announced that it hired Louis Freeh, then-Governor Tom Corbett opined that Freeh was the right man for the job.

"And I think one of the reasons that someone like Mr. Freeh was appointed is because he understands the role of a grand jury investigation, the role of the prosecutors and will work well with the attorney general's office and Attorney General Linda Kelly so that [obstruction of the attorney general's investigation] does not happen."

Emails obtained by PSU alumnus Ryan Bagwell clearly show that Freeh's team and the prosecution worked together....but to say that Freeh and AG partnership would "work well" turned out to be wishful thinking.

On July 12, 2012, Louis Freeh's press conference left little doubt in the public's mind -- and much to Corbett's liking -- that there was a Penn State cover up involving Graham Spanier.  Later that day, the man who had taken credit for the firing of Joe Paterno, took to the microphone to take credit for recommending Freeh (at :58). 

"The hiring of Louis Freeh...which I certainly fact, I provided his name..." 

Corbett then rambled on and indicated that obstruction of justice charges may be in store for PSU officials (at 1:20): 

"The prior administration, they made decisions on how they would deliver and what they would deliver...and I'm sure that is the subject of much discussion on the sixteenth floor of Strawberry Square." 

And (at 2:44): 

"Prior people who were in control; now if I limit it to that, I am very disappointed in the lack of forthcoming evidence to the subpoena that was given to them by the attorney general's office."

Freeh overlooked game changing information that
 his team -wittingly or unwittingly - left behind.
Louis Freeh likely relished the opportunity to take credit for "discovering" the evidence that he alleged PSU officials sought to "conceal" from the authorities. 

Given Freeh's alleged impeccable reputation, everyone assumed he was truthful and that the supporting evidence backing up his statements would be in his report.  It wasn't.  

Then Governor Tom Corbett was among those who promoted the report, when (at :25) he stated to "the extent he had read it so far, I think is pretty thorough report."  

Had Corbett read it all the way to the very back, he would have realized the Freeh Report was obviously incomplete by virtue of the five missing exhibits (i.e., #s 1, 4, 7, 8, & 9).  He also likely would have realized that some other exhibits (exposing the Commonwealth's 1998 failure) that should have been excluded or at least redacted, remained in the report.  

It is apparent that Freeh's team, wittingly or unwittingly, left several references in place that exposed potentially "game changing" information regarding the 1998 and 2001 incidents. 

However, the evidence of Fina's email deception was the reference to Subpoena 109.

The Key Evidence: Subpoena 109 

According to the Freeh Report at 88, "the investigators had subpoenaed all emails dating back to 1997 for Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley."   This passage was sourced to end note 457: Grand Jury Subpoena 109, issued on March 24, 2011. 

Note: Former PSU police chief Tom Harmon was also among the individuals targeted by Subpoena 109.  Fina made reference to the alteration of the 1998 police report during his in-camera argument on April 13, 2011.

At the April 13, 2011 grand jury, then PSU Counsel Cynthia Baldwin (at 5) told Judge Feudale that Penn State had been "cooperating all the way through" and did not feel she needed to make a motion to quash the subpoena.  She also stated that the University was working to gather all the requested information.

PSU SOS employee John Corro testified that he was shown some language from the a subpoena in March 2011 and he delivered three USB drives of information to Baldwin in April 2011.  

According to Spanier's July 2012 letter to the Board of Trustees, Baldwin provided a thumb drive his emails - dating back to 2004 - to Judge Feudale at his April 13 appearance.  It is more likely, as I will explain, that the thumb drive contained all of the PSU emails and that a "culled" set had already been provided to the OAG.

The in-camera arguments (for pre-1997 emails) made by OAG prosecutors Fina and Eshbach at the April 13th proceeding revealed they had already received 1998 and 2001 emails -- that would eventually wind up as the "critical evidence" in the Freeh Report.

Fina, Eshbach, and Masked Comments

During former PSU President Graham Spanier's grand jury colloquy,  Frank Fina and Jonelle Eshbach made four different references about emails containing masked comments, metaphors, and other information alluding to Sandusky's crimes on campus.  There was no mention to look for this type of information in documents requested by Subpoena 1179, thus it was not a "routine" request.  In other words, Fina and Eshbach were making the following arguments/requests based emails they already possessed.

1. Fina at 15:

2. & 3. Fina and Eshbach at 20:

4.  Fina at 26:

Fina referenced an alleged 1984 incident involving Sandusky - of which there was no police report or other supporting evidence -- to make the case for the (retroactive) subpoena requiring PSU to search for emails prior to 1997.   

Feudale and Pre-1997 Order

Baldwin, who was excused from the judges chambers during Fina's and Eshbach's in-camera arguments, re-entered and was informed that Fina laid the proper grounds to justify the subpoena for emails prior to 1997. 

Feudale ordered Baldwin to provide the full set of emails, dating "from 1997 back" to him, and a culled set containing just emails related to Sandusky to the OAG.   

Timeline: Freeh & Baldwin Exposed The Deception

Dec 29, 2010:  Subpoena 1179 for Sandusky information related to 2002 incident.

Jan 10, 2011:  PSU turned over handful of materials (likely including "Schultz" file).

Mar 22, 2011: Spanier interviewed by Fina, Eshbach, Rossman, and Sassano.

Mar 24, 2011: Subpoena 109 for emails from 1997 to the present. No motion to quash.

Apr 11, 2011: Due date for emails re: Subpoena 109.

Apr 13, 2011: Baldwin turned over thumb drive to Feudale.  

Apr 13, 2011: Judge Feudale agreed to write order for emails prior to 1997.

Apr 13, 2011: Baldwin promised to turn over all emails by April 15th.

At the outset of the April 13th grand jury, Baldwin explained that PSU had been cooperating with the subpoena but was having difficulty obtaining the emails because the University's administrative computer networks were not centralized.  She also argued (at 5) that the request for emails from 1997 to the present was "much too broad."  

It strains credulity that - in the face of the new, expanded requirement for all emails prior to 1997-  Baldwin would commit to turning around the information in just two days.  Not only did approximately 15 years of email have to be recovered and searched, but it had to be combed through for "metaphors" and possible "allusions" to Sandusky.  Yet all of this would be completed in two days -- according to Baldwin.

Baldwin (at 27) exposed the ex post facto argument for the pre-1997 data when she stated that PSU's IT people were already working to gather and cull out the emails.

The Clincher:  A USB Drive 

While Baldwin's promise to deliver emails in two days was quite incredible, the clincher that the emails had already been gathered was her statement that they would all fit on a single USB drive.

How could Baldwin, who probably knows less about IT than she does about education law (and that says a lot), have known all of the data would fit on a single USB drive?  The answer is she knew they would fit on a USB because she already had it in her possession.   

This also lends credence to the scenario that Dr. Spanier didn't see her turning over his emails to Feudale -- he saw her turn over all the emails to Feudale.   Baldwin and Fina talked their way around that fact at her grand jury appearance in October 2012.  

The evidence presented reveals that Baldwin, Fina, and Esbach were all in on the email deception --  and the railroading of PSU officials.

Fina vs. Nifong

Durham County DA was disbarred, in part, for misrepresenting evidence before the court in the Duke lacrosse case.  Specifically, Nifong falsely represented to the Court that he had turned over the complete DNA reports and other evidence (when he had not).  He was found to have made false statements of material fact or law to a tribunal in violation of Rule 3.3(a)(1),  and engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Revised Rules of Professional Conduct.

In this case, Fina (and Baldwin) likely made numerous misrepresentations and engaged in conduct involving dishonesty and deceit when they pretended that the email evidence related to Subpoena 109 and emails related to the pre-1997 order had yet to be gathered.  It is also likely Fina fabricated the existence of a 1984 incident as a means to justify the search for pre-1997 emails.  The duo of Fina and Baldwin also engaged in similar conduct at Baldwin's grand jury appearance when they talked their way around Baldwin's provision of Spanier's emails to Feudale on April 13, 2011.  See below.

The document excerpt on the left is from the April 13th grand jury, when Fina instructed Baldwin to hand over the complete set of emails to Judge Fuedale.  The document excerpt on the right reflects Fina grand jury questioning Baldwin, implying she didn't hand over emails to the judge.  Baldwin's answer utilizes two technicalities to deny she handed over Spanier's emails. 

1. The thumb drive contained ALL the emails, not just Spanier's.
2. Subpoena 109 and the subsequent order required emails prior to and after 2004.

While she did not commit perjury, her answer was indeed deceptive -- and Fina knew it.


The narrative of a Penn State cover-up was a very poorly executed deception that was attempted by a bunch of amateurs.  Those amateurs included Tom Corbett, Linda Kelly, Frank Fina, Barry Feudale, Jonelle Eshbach, Cynthia Baldwin, and a cub reporter at the Harrisburg Patriot News

The flaws in the November 4th 2011 grand jury presentment and in the Patriot News' subsequent Pulitzer Prize winning reporting were rather obvious from the outset. Those flaws were further exposed by the evidence contained in the Freeh Report (and subsequent legal proceedings).  

The Freeh Report was expected to be the definitive account on Penn State's role in the Sandusky case and the emails were supposed to be the evidence proving a cover-up by top PSU officials -- including Joe Paterno.

Instead, the Freeh Report provided the critical piece of evidence that helped to unveil the Commonwealth's and Fina's email deception. 

It's clear that Frank Fina's problems with email aren't just with "Porngate."


  1. Looks like Baldwin and Fina should be the ones on trial.

    I like item 4 where the transcript quotes Fina as saying "whether they're illusions or direct statements to Mr. Sandusky. That's an error in the transcription because Fina meant "allusions."

    Yet Fina built his case against Spanier on illusions so the transcriber had it right in a way.

    1. Every now and again, the court reporters spell things incorrectly, but most of the time they get it right.

      You are correct, the case against Spanier, et al, is an illusion.

      Kane needs to stop playing politics with the Sandusky case and fight fire with fire.

      Fina and Baldwin should be the individuals facing loss of their licenses to practice law.

  2. Wow, this is pretty damning evidence you have uncovered here. Shouldn't you be including Frank Noonan in your "list of amateurs"? A State Police Commissioner receiving over 300 hardcore porn photos in his work email while going on national television to blame Joe Paterno and President Spanier for Sandusky's crimes is beyond amateurish, it's ludicrous. Second Mile and Sandusky are responsible for Sandusky's crimes. And it appears that certain BoT members and Faux-Governor Corbett allowed the crimes to go unnoticed and unpunished. But why? This just can't be a "failure" of the agencies that are supposed to notice these things.
    Because of the money spent on the Freeh "report" fraud, and the incredibly convoluted subterfuge that Tom Corbett, Frank Fina and Cynthia Baldwin created to protect Second Mile, one can only conclude that this isn't just an attempt to hide shortcomings in state agencies. To me, it reeks of deliberate sexual exploitation of children by Jerry Sandusky's Second Mile. And it has a mob-like aura about it with board member, Keith Eckel's association with DeNaples, Tom Corbett as former attorney for Waste Management, the name Frank "Fina" and Marc "Castanzo" and the earmark of organized crime, pornography. Not to mention Ray Gricar getting whacked when he had direct involvement with a Sandusky "investigation". I think the PA general public are scared to death about all of this. Most all newspapers in PA are publishing distorted lies about Kathleen Kane as if it's truth. So what member of the public wants to write to those papers in support of Kane? It would appear the papers are under the thumb of organized crime in PA. Cause trouble for them and you could get whacked!

    No wonder the Kane rally had a small turnout!

    1. Truthseeker,
      I can't disagree with anything you've written above, although there's "no direct evidence' that Ray Gricar got whacked....just like there was no "direct evidence" that Corbett slowed the Sandusky investigation.

    2. You are so right Ray, there is no direct evidence to support the assertion that Gricar was a victim of a Mob hit. And I think you may be pointing out that rumors are just fiction told as truth, and evidence is what separates fiction from facts. And so the ironic parallel here is Attorney General Kane is being ruined and convicted in the press by those in the PA judicial system, the ones we trust to uphold, "innocent until proven guilty". To defame, punish and convict in the press with no trial and without facts, is the mark of a corrupt and broken judicial system. And the headlines about Kane reflect the desperation and the corrupt relationship between the press and the broken judicial system in PA. The three or four big papers are literally implicating themselves as criminal participants with their anti-Kane headlines. The only truth that I'm seeing written in the press about Kane is coming from Bill Keisling. One can almost trace the evolution of his intellectual curiosity in his articles as this scandal progresses.
      I think most of the PA public can agree with what Bill is saying in support of Kane against the broken system. But the level of desperation and propaganda reflected in the PA headlines about Kane is frightening to the public. People can sense there is some kind of criminal element at work desperately trying to portray Kane as the enemy. So here, in America, most people are afraid to show their support for a good leader because they don't want to openly speak.
      But Kathleen Kane has seen what the true enemy is hiding and she will not back down. Her marriage has buckled under the stress as she fights this war. She has suffered terribly, yet she won't break. There must be a very great reward that she can see, and she wants to give it to us. We need to band together, overcome our fear, and support her in any way that we can.

    3. I'd have more sympathy for Kane if she had stopped the farce of the Curley-Schultz-Spanier prosecution. She's getting a dose of her own medicine, i.e. "To defame, punish and convict in the press with no trial and without facts."

    4. Tim,
      I agree. As I said above, she needs to stop playing politics with Tim, Gary, and Graham's case.

      She has absolutely nothing to lose because the press is making a mountain out of a mole hill over her grand jury leak, while having no curiosity at all over the Sandusky and DeNaples leaks.

    5. Truthseeker,
      You are correct again on many things. Bill Kiesling has done a great job documenting what is going on in the corrupt judiciary. Kane is fighting because that's all she can do.

      f it were me advising her, I'd have her assign a special deputy to prosecute Fina and Freeh for evidence tampering, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy. That would make this an international story because it would implicate Freeh.

    6. KANE had MOULTON do a soft ball investigation to meet her campaign promise but not anger the political establishment. It backfired on her because the political powers feared PORNGATE. She needs to have Omar "I Don't Recall" McNEILLl claim the 5th a 100 times or so times to a grand jury, and maybe that would catch the medias attention. Altough I would wager that the PN would call it a Salem witch hunt!

    7. Mike,
      I don't think it was a softball investigation, but it definitely was a "softball" report.

      I am positive that it was reduced in scope because of all the misconduct that was uncovered. Had that been published, Sandusky's legal team would have had serious fodder for their PCRA.

      There's more in those emails than porn. Ex parte communications between prosecutors and judges is highly probable.

    8. Ray;

      I ABSOLUTELY agree. They all want this case to go away but nobody has the courage to end it, the political/public fallout would be too career damaging. Hard to believe that PORN was the only inappropriate communications going on.

  3. Ray,
    This case is all about politics. Corbett pointed the case away from the children and youth agencies of the Republican Administrations and The Second Mile and toward PSU. Public opinion has been so tainted by the Sandusky "PSU lie" that no politician would want to touch the issue of releasing the Penn State Three. Fina, Kelly and Corbett sold the three as enablers.

    Kane hopes the judiciary rules to destroy the case prosecuted by her predecessors and the judiciary hopes Kane drops the charges.

    1. Elroy,
      You are correct on all counts.

    2. This is an opportunity for a journalist to legitimately win a Pulitzer Prize by exposing the lies and corruption in the bogus prosecution of Curley, Schultz and Spanier.

      It certainly has the star power to get headlines - Freeh, PA Governor Corbett and 2 other PA Attorney Generals, Penn State President, etc.

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