Thursday, February 28

Sandusky presser was full of errors

If Jerry Sandusky gets a new trial, he needs to pray that Al Lindsay learns the facts about what really happened at the June 2012 trial and a lot of other information.

Ray Blehar

February 28, 2019, 8:20 PM EST, Updated March 1 at 9:35 AM EST

As reported three days ago, Sandusky's defense attorney Al Lindsay has a shot at getting a new trial due to Brady violations by prosecutors.   However, if a new trial is granted he needs to avoid repeating the failed arguments and falsehoods that caused him to lose almost every appeal issue in the PCRA.

In short, he needs to learn about who he is defending, what really happened at the trial, and what happened during the Sandusky investigation.  He apparently doesn't know those facts right now --  if he actually believed the remarks he and other panelists made at Monday's press conference.

Tuesday, February 26

PSU's Pathetic Response to the A7 Report

The official PSU response to the release of the A7 report was pathetic and dishonest

Ray Blehar
February 26, 2019, 10:29 PM EST

As expected, the University's pathetic response to the leaked report of the alumni-elected trustees (A7) report stated it didn't reflect the position of the University or the PSU BOT. 

Of course it didn't.

The University and BOT have refused to review the Freeh Report, let alone take a position on it.

That happened to be the only true statement in the official response (below).

"The public disclosure of this unauthorized report in apparent violation of court-ordered confidentiality is reprehensible. We wish to make clear the report does not represent the position or opinions of the Penn State Board of Trustees or the University in any way. It is the expression of the personal opinions of the authorsIt is also important to understand the University obtained a confidentiality order for the Freeh materials from a court in order to protect and promote a culture that asks employees to tell the truth and to speak up and report wrongdoing when they see it, without fear of retaliation. Finding the truth is dependent on such a commitment of confidentiality. This leak undermines these values and discourages a culture of reporting at Penn State. Furthermore, it is unfair to the men and women who provided information to Judge Freeh and his team, with an understanding that what they said to the interviewer would be maintained in confidence to the extent possible." 

The release of the A7 report was reprehensible?

Not in comparison to the lies put forth in the statement, especially those about protecting and promoting a culture that asks employees to tell the truth and speak up.

Monday, February 25

Sandusky's "Hail Mary" is Brady

Jerry Sandusky's attorney will use Brady violations in long-shot request for new trial

Ray Blehar
February 25, 2019, 9:08 PM, EST, Updated 9:40 PM EST

In a small meeting room at the Country Garden Inn of State College,  Sandusky's defense attorney Al Lindsay stated he would utilize Brady violations by the Office of Attorney General (OAG) as a means to get a new trial.

Lindsay was the headliner of a panel that included former NCIS Agent John Snedden, independent author/blogger Ralph Cipriano of BigTrial,net,  and former Penn State University assistant football coach Dick Anderson.  The panel was emceed by WRSC radio's Jeff Byers -- a friend and ardent supporter of the Sandusky family. 

While Lindsay appeared not to have a complete strategy in place at the moment for his request to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, he offered that in order to win a new trial he had to prove that judicial precedence was violated at the June 2012 trial.   Brady v. Maryland requires that the prosecution must turn over all exculpatory evidence that might exonerate the defendant. 

Lindsay argued, and won, that Brady was violated in Sandusky's Post Conviction Relief Appeal (PCRA).  Specifically, he argued that the interview notes showing that the accusers had changed their stories several times prior to trial should have been part of discovery for the case.   

Even though he won on that specific argument, the Superior Court argued that the violations were not significant and that Sandusky's trial attorney was able to use the new/different testimony from the witnesses in an effort to impeach them. 

Winning a decision for a new trial based upon the Brady violations could be a long-shot. 

Sunday, February 17

Freeh's Desperate Arguments About the A7 Report

Louis Freeh's arguments in rebutting the A7 report appear to be the act of a desperate man who will stop at nothing to defend his reputation and the indefensible findings of the Freeh Report.   

Ray Blehar
February 17, 2019, 10:07 AM EST

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh's statement regarding the leaked report by the Penn State University's (PSU) alumni-elected trustees (A7) contains arguments that fabricate information, dishonestly characterize or otherwise ignore the evidence on the record, and suspend the law and logic in order to desperately defend his unearned reputation and the dubious findings of the Freeh Report.

Freeh desperation is also demonstrated by the frequency of ad hominem attacks on those who dare to criticize his report or its findings. 

There is no better example of this than in paragraph 10, where Freeh calls alumni "deniers" for their well-reasoned argument that PSU officials had no reason to suspect that Jerry Sandusky was a serial child molester after he was found not to be a danger to children by child protective services (CPS) and found (by police and the district attorney) not to have committed crimes when he showered with a boy in 1998. 

Shockingly, Freeh's argument in paragraph 11 eliminates
 a citizen's rights to due process rights and contends a person is guilty despite insufficient evidence to support a charge.  And further contends that Sandusky was a known pedophile in 1998 despite all evidence to the contrary.   

The entire statement is a shining example of how Freeh's findings were infected with hindsight bias and completely disregarded the legal processes and requirements involved in an investigation of suspected child sexual abuse.

Complete Analysis of Freeh 2.6.2019 Statement

Ray Blehar
February 17, 2019, 9:28 AM EST, Updated 2/18/19 at 2PM EST

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh's statement regarding the Penn State University's (PSU) alumni-elected trustees' critique of the Freeh Report uses the same faulty reasoning he used back in 2012 in an attempt to defend the his report's findings.

The arguments made by Freeh fit the following descriptions: completely false; mostly false; based on minority, isolated opinions;  rife with hindsight bias; legally insufficient or legally inappropriate; ad hominem attacks on individuals, and inculpatory in nature. 

Recall that the Freeh Report's standard of evidence was that a reasonable person would draw the conclusion based on the evidence.  As you will read below, little to nothing he puts forth meets that standard.

Thursday, February 14

Freeh: No Evidence of Protecting "JP or the Football Program"

The alumni-elected trustees report confirmed that Freeh and his team knew their findings were on shaky ground -- but they chose to align with the prevailing narrative instead of following the evidence 

Ray Blehar
February 14, 2019, 11:40 AM EST

After WJAC's report on leaked alumni-elected trustees critique of the Freeh Report, the true "deniers" quickly appeared on the scene to denounce and criticize the report. 

Mark Dambly and Eric Barron stated the report merely reflects the opinions of its authors, while Louis Freeh's statement accused the authors of "blindly disregarding the incontrovertible facts."

Given the speed of the response from key "denier" Freeh, it was obvious he responded without reading the alumni report.  In fact, his rebuttal states he hadn't obtained a copy of it.

As it turns out, Freeh will be surprised to learn he is the alumni report's star witness.

No Evidence of Protecting "JP or the Football Program"

Page 29 of the alumni report refers to a late June 2012 discussion of the draft Freeh Report, where Freeh commented:

"I understand -- there is a stronger case to be made for "protecting the university" than JP or the 'Football Program' -- which is never really articulated in any of the evidence I've seen."

Saturday, February 2

The Ropes & Gray Report on Nassar is Nonsense, Harmful

The Ropes & Gray report on the Nassar scandal is a public relations document for the sole purpose of "corporate cleansing." Its findings and conclusions are nonsense and repeat the same mistakes of the Freeh Report.  It seems entirely appropriate that I publish this column on Groundhog's Day.

Ray Blehar
February 2, 2019, 5:20 PM, Updated 5:51 PM

On January 2018, nearly 160 women came forward to tell their stories of victimization at the hands of former medical doctor Larry Nassar.   

Many of the women spoke out were athletes.  Some were very famous former Olympic gymnasts.  

The sentencing caused a scandal that wasn't at all about sports (but wrongly focused on sports all along) became focused on elite women's gymnastics. 

Shortly after the sentencing concluded, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) hired the Ropes and Gray (R&G) law firm to conduct a so-called independent investigation to determine who received reports about Nassar's and what they did with the information.  

USOC stated:

“Ropes & Gray will have full discretion to conduct the investigation and make findings in whatever way Ms. McPhee and Mr. Dowden decide is appropriate,” said Susanne Lyons, the independent director of the USOC who is leading the board’s special committee.

“Ropes & Gray will prepare a written report, which will be released in its entirety to the public. The investigation will be professional, independent and thorough, and will take as long as necessary to get to the truth.

“The United States Olympic Committee pledges its full support to Ropes & Gray and will provide access to relevant documents and witnesses. USA Gymnastics (USAG) has confirmed that it will do the same.

“Once the investigation is complete and the report has been published, we will work diligently to ensure that appropriate action is taken based on the facts that emerge.”

“We must ensure that a tragedy of this magnitude can never happen again.”

The USOC announcement wasn't met with confidence from the gymnasts/survivors from the Nassar case.   They refused to speak with R&G because of their concerns over the independence of the investigation (at 15).

Their concerns were on the mark.