Monday, December 5, 2011

Witness tampering in Sandusky case?

A lawyer for one of the alleged victims of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach who now faces 40 counts of child sex abuse, says Sandusky's long New York Times interview raises new questions about whether he may have attempted to influence witnesses just before he got indicted. NBC's Michael Isikoff reports.

Sandusky's dinner with alleged victims raises new legal questions
By Lisa RiordanSeville and Hannah Rappleye
NBC News

While under investigation by a criminal grand jury for allegedly sexually abusing young boys, Jerry Sandusky said he spoke to and even dined with men now identified as his victims. The 67-year-old former Penn State assistant coach accused of sexually abusing young boys for more than a decade holds up these encounters as proof of his innocence, but a lawyer for at least one of the victims believes they could be criminal.

“One of the questions that raised in my mind, ‘Was this an effort on his part to tamper with witnesses?’” said Howard Janet, a Baltimore attorney representing the man known in the grand jury report of Sandusky as Victim 6. “Was it intended as a way to influence the public or the prospective jury pool?”

In early November, Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing boys over a period of about 14 years. But the community knew of the investigation months earlier.

The story went public on March 31, when the Patriot News newspaper broke the story that a grand jury had been convened to look into allegations that Sandusky abused a 15-year-old Clinton County, Pa., boy, now known as Victim 1.

The following day, Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola, issued a statement saying that his client was prepared to fight.

“Should the allegations, as set forth in today’s newspaper article eventually lead to the institution of criminal charges against Jerry, Jerry fully intends to establish his innocence and put these false allegations to rest forever,” he said.

Interviews with lawyers and the grand jury report show that in the months that followed, Sandusky made several attempts to contact boys who had participated in the charity he founded -- the Second Mile – and who later testified before the grand jury, prompting Janet to question whether Sandusky tried to sway the outcome of the investigation.

Witness tampering in the state of Pennsylvania is defined as any act with the intent to intimidate a witness or victim to “refrain from reporting a crime, withhold or give false or misleading information, or to ignore or evade requests for information or a summons.”

Under state penal codes, witness tampering is considered equal to the most serious offense a defendant is charged with. Among the charges against Sandusky are multiple first-degree felonies, which carry maximum sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

Sandusky has not been charged with tampering or intimidation of witnesses.

A 'reunion' dinner
In July, Sandusky called Victim 6 and asked him to dinner. Sandusky framed it as a “reunion” of former Second Mile children, Janet said. Police asked the alleged victim to wear a wire, Janet said, but he eventually decided not to because he was nervous.

Victim 6 testified before the grand jury that Sandusky showered with him on the Penn State campus. Sandusky was investigated in 1998 after the boy’s mother reported the incident to the police. Sandusky at the time admitted that he had showered with the boy – as well as another youth whose name surfaced in the subsequent investigation -- and was advised by a Penn State University detective not to do it again. The district attorney closed the case.

On the night of the July dinner, Victim 6 said he met Sandusky at his home then continued on, along with Sandusky’s wife, to a local restaurant. Janet said his client was “surprised” to find no other former Second Mile children he knew among those at the restaurant, but he finished the dinner and reported back to the police.

In an interview with NBC, Janet said it was “inconceivable” that Sandusky did not know he was under investigation at the time. “It was public knowledge and it was widely reported,” he said.

According to Amendola, Sandusky’s lawyer, Victim 2 was also at the dinner. Victim 2 is the boy who Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary testified to seeing being raped by Sandusky in the showers in Penn State’s Lasch Football Building in 2002. Victim 2, however, has not been identified by prosecutors and did not testify at the grand jury.

Amendola told reporters in November that a man he believes is Victim 2 had appeared in his office weeks before to say he had no sexual contact with Sandusky.

Amendola said that both Victims 2 and 6 maintained a relationship with the Sanduskys in recent years, including visiting their home and attending other dinners. The July dinner, he said, was friendly. “Neither of them had any knowledge 2 or 6 had been or were going to be questioned” by the grand jury, and there was no mention of the investigation, Amendola wrote in a statement to NBC.

“Jerry and Dottie have maintained positive contact with 2 and 6 as well as many other kids they helped who have grown into adulthood over the years,” he said. ”They are both deeply saddened and perplexed by the allegations.”

Sandusky and his wife also reached out to at least one other alleged victim prior to his testifying, according to the grand jury report. Victim 7, a former Second Mile participant who Sandusky allegedly met around 1994, told the grand jury that weeks before his testimony, Sandusky, his wife, and an unidentified friend left several messages on his voicemail. It had been nearly two years since he last spoke or had contact with Sandusky. Victim 7 said he did not return their calls.

Sandusky confirmed to the The New York Times that he had contacted at least one of his accusers but did so believing he would serve as a character witness. He said he did not know the prosecution had listed the individual as a victim.

An unorthodox defense strategy
Sandusky’s defense has so far been unorthodox. He spoke live to NBC’s Bob Costas following his arrest and last week gave an extended interview to the New York Times.

Asked by Costas if he was sexually attracted to young boys, Sandusky said, "Sexually attracted, no -- I enjoy young people, I love to be around them."

The New York Times revisited the comment last week in an extended, four-hour interview in which reporter Jo Becker asked Sandusky about his answer to Costa's question.

"If I say, no, I'm not attracted to boys, that's not the truth because I'm attracted to young people, boys, girls," Sandusky said.

Amendola, sitting nearby, jumped in. "Yeah, but not sexually, you're attracted because you enjoy spending time..." he said.

"Right, I enjoy, that's what I was tryin' to say, answer that," Sandusky clarified. "I enjoy spending time with young people. I enjoy spending time with people."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz answers special interrogatories

It's always instructive to learn how a big, successful law firm answers special interrogatories.

Rancho California RV Resort Owners Association v. Outdoor Resorts of American, Inc.


STUTZ, ARTIANO, SHINOFF & HOLTZ. A Professional Corporation.
Robert R. Templeton, Jr., Esq., State Bar No. 116557.
Casey Pope, Esq

Supreme Court will hear disgraced journalist’s moral character case

It's perfectly obvious to most of us that Stephen Glass would fit seamlessly into many, perhaps most, law firms. Why is the State Bar Association pretending that respect for the truth is a requirement for a lawyer's license? It isn't. It absolutely isn't.

Supreme Court will hear disgraced journalist’s moral character case
By Nancy McCarthy
California Bar Journal
December 2011

For the first time in 11 years, the California Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of a would-be lawyer denied admission to the State Bar because of moral character issues. The bar petitioned the court to consider the case of Stephen Glass, a disgraced former journalist who won national infamy for making up whole or parts of stories and now wants to practice law in California. Although the Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE) denied Glass admission on moral character grounds, it was overruled by both a State Bar Court hearing judge and a split review panel that said he should be admitted. The Supreme Court granted review last month on a petition from the CBE.
Stephen Glass

“Journalism and law share core fundamental principles ― those of common honesty and trust,” wrote bar attorney Rachel Grunberg in the petition seeking review. She added that Glass “literally shattered these basic values in the journalism profession, without redemption.” The Committee of Bar Examiners believes Glass “has not established the requisite showing of rehabilitation, given his past misdeeds that have lingered without redemption, to be certified as an attorney” in California, Grunberg wrote.

Glass was once described by Vanity Fair as “the most sought-after young reporter in the nation’s capital, producing knockout articles for magazines ranging from The New Republic to Rolling Stone.” The magazine went on to explain that Glass spun “a breathtaking web of deception that emerged as the most sustained fraud in modern journalism.” The New Republic fired him, finding fabricated material in 27 articles bearing Glass’ byline at the magazine.

It wasn’t until 11 years after “he was outted as a fraud,” Grunberg wrote, that Glass finally compiled a comprehensive list of all of his fabricated articles, totaling 42. He attended Georgetown law school while still working at TNR and authoring false articles, he took and passed the July 2000 New York bar exam, applied for a moral character determination there in 2002 but withdrew after learning his admission would likely be denied, published a book and appeared on 60 Minutes in 2003, and took and passed the California bar exam in 2009.

Glass argues that his current moral character makes him eligible to become an attorney and that he presented “overwhelming evidence” of his rehabilitation. Indeed, Martin Peretz, the editor of The New Republic, which printed the lion’s share of his fabrications, flew from Massachusetts to California to testify on Glass’ behalf before the State Bar Court. Glass said in a submission to the Supreme Court that he was forgiven by other editors as well, including Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone and Lewis Lapham of Harper’s.

Glass presented more than 20 witnesses who testified to his “good moral character,” apologized publicly for his actions, underwent therapy and performed extensive pro bono work. His misconduct ended when he was 25, he said, and his values have changed.

Grunberg dismissed virtually all his arguments and said true rehabilitation means an unblemished record ― something Glass cannot provide. She said he made misrepresentations to the New York bar when trying to win admission there, his pro bono work was part of his regular duties as a paralegal for a Los Angeles law firm, and his remorse came more than a decade late, only “when it suited him, and not when it was most needed by his victims.”

Further, the bar said Glass profited from his misdeeds, earning $190,000, less agent’s fees, from publication of The Fabulist, a fictionalized account of his lies. Glass said he used the profits for his legal fees and therapy, but the bar said the book proceeds were used “exclusively for his own personal benefit.” The concept of profiting from wrongdoing “appears inconsistent with the notion of moral rehabilitation,” Grunberg wrote, adding that Glass appeared to be “cashing in on his infamy.”

Arthur Margolis, Glass’ attorney, declined to comment. Glass works as a paralegal at Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley LLP in Los Angeles.

No date for oral arguments has been set, but Glass has 45 days from the date of the Nov. 16 court order to file a supplemental brief. The bar then has 15 days to file a reply.