Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Very Candid Interview with Jerry Sandusky's Criminal Defence Attorney

Last night on my radio show, Offside, I interviewed Karl Rominger, Jerry Sandusky's criminal defence attorney. To say the least, Rominger was very candid. Frankly, shockingly so. He offered a lot of insight into Sandusky's state of mind, how the case unfolded and what is next. 

Below is a partial transcript of the interview.

Was Jerry Sandusky surprised by the verdict?

He was disappointed. To the very end he held out that things would go his way. Was he upset or surprised by it? He was upset but not surprised. He knew it was an uphill battle given the number of accusers. He is a very intelligent man.

Strictly from the standpoint of making potentially ambiguous statements, are there any regrets over having Sandusky do the interview with Bob Costas?

It was tactically poorly executed but strategically brilliant. Jerry probably could have come across a lot better but he did not and as a result it hurt us. On the other hand if he had come across different it could have helped us.

On the Costas interview being on a loop at trial - was that grounds for a mistrial?

We asked for a mistrial and the court said that it would grant the mistrial but it felt that there was a more effective remedy by explaining to the jury what happened. So the judge told the jury that the tape you heard was not accurate and provided them with a written transcript to take back to the jury room.

Does Sandusky intend to keep fighting?

He does. In fact when I met with him in prison he said he intends to try and vindicate his name. His family is 100% behind him. He has thousands if not ten of thousands of supporters behind him.

Will you be appealing?

Yes. The appeal will have to wait until after he is sentenced, which is 90 days from now.

Why was it decided that Jerry Sandusky was not going to testify?

He wanted to testify. We wanted him to testify. But we felt our case was really strong at the point he was going to testify. The Matt Sandusky tape had come out which mitigated against testifying and that was the chief reason combined with the fact we were doing really well. And the Costas interview hadn’t gone in yet.

Jerry told me yesterday that he wished he had testified.

During the trial did Jerry Sandusky want to testify?

He did.

What was Sandusky disposition like during the trial?

He was cognizant and he was fully participating and understood the kind of event it was. He was a very nice man…he’s a very sharp, kind individual. I don’t think the charges comport with the person you meet.

Did he appreciate the weight of the accusations?

He understood the weight of the charges. He had difficulty with the evidence and I understand why. If you think you are fully innocent it’s hard to believe that people would make all this up about you.

Is Sandusky still under suicide watch?

The idea was to put him under supervision as a precaution. In reality, Jerry is not a suicide risk in any way, shape or form.

Can you describe his state of mind?

He’s tired and worn down - but he’s not broken or beaten.

Did he believe he was innocent?

Sandusky said, “I didn’t do it; I’m innocent”.

Describe the prison where he is being held and will he be transitioned to another prison.

He’s in a very clean and modern county facility. Very impressive. Everyone there is very friendly…it is professionally run. It’s top notch.

That said, the state prison system where he may be moved to eventually is questionable and I will be carefully monitoring him when he is moved there.

As a defence lawyer can you explain why it is so important for people to be afforded a full defence?

A criminal defence attorney has to go forward and argue on behalf of his client as best he can no matter what the nature of the allegations or how unseemly they are. I am proud to do it.

If Jerry Sandusky had said he was guilty but he still want you to represent him would that have tied your hands?

It would tie our hands as far as letting him testify that he didn’t do it - but we could still make the prosecution make its case out beyond a reasonable doubt.
Do you think that Jerry Sandusky is guilty?

My belief is irrelevant. I have to assume he is innocent.

Do you expect to succeed on appeal?

It’s an uphill battle.

Are there any misconceptions about Jerry Sandusky?

Yes. People say he is a monster. Best I can tell is if he is guilty of what he did he has also helped hundreds of thousands of kids.

The point is at the end of the day he deserves some credit for all the good he has done.

Monday, June 25, 2012

TSN Radio Clip: What's Next for Sandusky

TSN Radio's Scott MacCarthur and I chat about what is next for Sandusky. We also address the tentacles in this case - perjury charges against Curley and Schultz, civil lawsuits and a possible indictment of Spanier. Click here to listen.

Sandusky: Jury Verdict Slips

The jury verdict slips in the Sandusky case have been made available online at the Pennsylvania County website. These are slips where the jury indicates how it intends to rule:

To view them, click on these 2 links:

Jury Verdict Slip - Link 1

Jury Verdict Slip - Link 2

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Offside Podcast: Clemens, Perjury, Sandusky, Cromartie, Expos, Karlsson and World's Richest Athletes

Last night on the Team 1200, we had a 1 and a half hour edition of Offside. The great Steve Lloyd and I covered a whole bunch of stuff:

- Clemens verdict

- The importance of dealing with suspected perjury

- Interview with Mike Sisiak, reporter in the courtroom during the Sandusky trial

- Interview with Expos legend Warren Cromartie on the Montreal Baseball Project

- Interview with Erik Karlsson on his new deal

- Interview with Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor at, talking Richest Athletes on the planet

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why Roger Clemens Walked Today

The case against Clemens came down to his trainer, Brian McNamee.

McNamee was the prosecution's key witness, and if he was believed then Clemens would have been in trouble. The issue for the prosecution, though, was that McNamee failed as a witness.

There were two problems: McNamee's credibility and the integrity of his Clemens DNA samples.

First, McNamee did not come off as terribly credible on cross-examination. The jurors probably had a tough time believing him. He cut a deal with the Feds in exchange for his testimony - so he had in the eyes of the Clemens defence team the incentive to lie. As well, he had a bit of a rap sheet, including tax evasion and drug trafficking. His ex-wife, he was a composed and believable witness, didn't back up McNamee's story that she urged him to safe Clemens' DNA.

Second, McNamee testified that he had the DNA of Clemens preserved on syringes, pads and gauze. The problem is that he admitted that he stored the DNA in a Miller Lite can - and worse - along with the DNA of other players. The integrity of the DNA samples became a major issue. Given the way they were stored, could the samples be considered reliable? Were they contaminated? 

The issues of credibility and DNA integrity were very likely key considerations for the jury. the prosecution must convince the jury that Clemens was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high standard to meet. Before a jury is going to toss someone in jail, they want to be fairly certain the defendant is guilty. In this case, they could not find any such assurances.

Is it now proper to conclude that Clemens did not do PEDs? No. This was not a referendum as to whether Clemens did PEDs. This was a trial about whether Clemens lied about doing PEDs - or perjured himself when he said he didn't do PEDs. There is a slight distinction but an important distinction nonetheless.

For Clemens, the next significant moment will be the Hall of Fame vote and whether he gets in.

Ultimately, before the trial started, the prosecution had a decent case in some respects. However, things unravelled when its key witness, McNamee, took the stand. That's when things fell apart. 

And that's why Clemens walked today.

TSN Radio: Quick Hit on the Roger Clemens Verdict

I joined James Cybulski on TSN Radio to discuss the Roger Clemens verdict. Click here to listen.

Team 1200 Radio Clip - We Break Down Clemens Verdict from Today

I joined Steve Lloyd and Lee Versage on the Team 1200 today to talk the Roger Clemens verdict. We talk about why the verdict is not a surprise. Listen to the clip here.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Draft Picks and Phenoms - A Real Superstar or Just Another Joe?

By Ken Bungay

With the 2012 NHL Draft just days away, I started thinking about past draft picks and sports phenoms.  With today's salaries, teams can't afford to make too many mistakes drafting and signing players.  It can take a team years to recover if players don't work out.  Salary cap rules and contract terms can make it difficult for teams to trade away mistakes.   Every sports fan has their favourite boom or bust story.   Here are a few names that come to mind:

Pitcher Stephen Strasburg seems to be working out for the Washington Nationals.  Called the "most-hyped pick in draft history" by ESPN when he was selected number one overall in the 2009 MLB draft, the Nats signed him to a 4 year $15 million contract.   He is 8-1 this year with a 2.45 ERA and 100 strike outs - second only in the majors to Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers.   Strasburg's MLB record to date is 14-5 over 2+ seasons.   Maybe it will work out, who knows.   But the Nats are currently leading their division and home attendance is up, maybe that's all that matters.  

Guy Lafleur definitely lived up to expectations.   Lafleur was a highly touted junior star with the Quebec Remparts.  Montreal Canadiens GM Sam Pollock had previously obtained the 1971 first overall pick from the California Golden Seals  in one of the more lopsided deals in NHL history.   Lafleur is the Habs' all-time leading scorer with 1,246 points in his 14 seasons with the Canadiens, winning 5 Stanley Cups in the process.  A superstar.  Nice trade Sam.

Gilbert Perreault and Dale Tallon - 1970 was an interesting NHL draft year, with the league expanding by adding Buffalo and Vancouver.   The expansion franchises had the first 2 picks and the selection order was determined by spinning a giant roulette wheel.   

Both teams wanted Perreault and Buffalo won the pick.  Perreault played his entire 17 year career with the Sabres, totalling 1326 points, much of the time centering the fabulous French Connection line, with Rick Martin and Rene Robert.  Defenseman Dale Tallon was selected 2nd by the Canucks.  He had a solid career (he was also a terrific golfer, winning the 1969 Canadian Junior Golf Championship).  Tallon played 10 years in the NHL and has become a first rate NHL executive.   He has been nominated for the NHL's 2012 General Manager of the Year following the success of the Florida Panthers this past season.  I hope he wins.  But the clear winner of the 1970 NHL draft was Buffalo.

Alexander Daigle - perhaps one of the most famous Ottawa Senator draft picks.  Sorry Sens fans, but here are the facts.   Daigle was selected first overall in the 1993 NHL draft.  He was selected before Chris Pronger, Paul Kariya, Rob Niedermayer, Viktor Kozlov, Jason Allison, Saku Koivu, etc.   (Wow.  There were some great players available in 1993.)  He managed 74 goals in 4 plus seasons in Ottawa.   There were some off-ice issues apparently.  Off-ice issues seem to get ignored when you are winning scoring titles and championships.  

Wayne Gretzky - definitely walked the walk.  What can you say?  Growing up in Southern Ontario in the 1960's, it was common to read stories out of Brantford about some 10 year old kid scoring 400 goals a season.  No one on my Peewee hockey team was doing that.  I figured they must have some special kind of Astro-Ice in Brantford, or their nets were 12 feet wide.  Apparently not.

Which brings me to Joe - Super Joe Charboneau of the 1980 Cleveland Indians.  He was the 1980 American League Rookie of the Year - batting .289 with 23 home runs and 87 RBI's.   Super Joe ended his MLB career with 29 total home runs, which pretty much tells you what happened after his rookie season.  Not much.  They wrote a song about Joe - a punk rock song.  

He was the King of Cleveland in 1980.  He was featured in Sports Illustrated and People magazine.  He was the third player in baseball history to hit a home run into the third deck in left field at Yankee Stadium.  Joe was a man of the people - he ate raw eggs and drank beer through his nose.   He won a chicken wing eating contest against the San Diego Chicken mascot.  Joe was injured in spring training in 1981 and released by the Indians in 1983.   But to this day he is still known in Cleveland as Super Joe Charboneau. 

Postscript:  The draft order for next week's NHL Draft has Edmonton picking first (again).  The Oilers have had the first pick 3 years in a row.   You would think a team that has had so many good draft picks could make the playoffs.   Maybe this is their year.  Canada's beloved Toronto Maple Leafs select 5th overall this year.   In 2009 they selected Nazem Kadri with the 7th pick.  An optimist would say he is still young and he has some upside.  Maybe, but after trading away their 2010 and 2011 first round pick picks to Boston in the Phil Kessel deal, Leaf fans are weary of hearing "wait until next year".  Toronto's 2012 selection needs to be a winner.

Note:  Stanley Cup winning LA Kings Captain Dustin Brown was selected 13th overall in the 2003 NHL draft.   Good pick.   MVP Goalie Jonathan Quick was selected by the Kings in the 3rd round of the 2005 draft, the 72nd player chosen.  Great pick.  He was the 8th goaltender picked that year, behind Tyler Plante, Jeff Frazee and Kristopher Westblom.  Who?   

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Interview: Former NHLPA Head Paul Kelly

This week on Offside on the Team 1200, I interviewed former NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly.

We hit on a lot, including his opinion of Donald Fehr, issues in the upcoming CBA negotiations and whether talk of a lockout is premature.

Paul also reflects on his time as the head of the Union.

Understatement: Paul is a terrific and accomplished lawyer.

Interview: Mike Altieri, VP of LA Kings

This week on Offside on the Team 1200, I interviewed LA Kings Vice-President of Communications Mike Altieri. 

We covered a lot, including the ways the team is activating fans, the new $250 million TV Deal with Fox, the critical importance of social media and Wayne Gretzky's imprint on hockey in California and how the Kings got the Great One to do the opening faceoff before Game 3.

Oh yes - we also talked Alyssa Milano.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

TSN Radio Clip: Boogaard, NFL and Bertuzzi

Scott MacCarthur at TSN Radio and I talk Boogard legal action, the latest on Bertuzzi and explaining the recent arbitrator ruling in the NFL case. Listen here.

Scott's show airs Monday to Friday between 9 and 12. It's a really good show. You can listen here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

TSN Radio Clip: Tatti and I Hit Clemens and NFL Lawsuits

I join Jim Tatti at TSN Radio to chat about the latest on the NFL lawsuits (there are a few as you may remember) and the Roger Clemens trial and why it's not shaking out like the prosecution had hoped. As usual, Jim takes a pretty interesting and introspective position on things. In all, the clip is about 8 minutes.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Moore/Bertuzzi Lawsuit & How It Affects Crawford’s Employability as Habs Coach

With Bob Hartley now out of the mix for the Montreal Canadiens coaching job, the list of rumoured candidates has been narrowed to Michel Therrien, Marc Crawford and possibly Guy Carboneau. (this is according to Bob McKensie and my uncle Bob). Again this is just a rumour.

If indeed Crawford is up for the job, the Steve Moore/Bertuzzi lawsuit may play a role in whether he is hired as the next head coach of the Canadiens. Even if he is not a candidate, the impact of the Moore/Bertuzzi lawsuit on his employability generally is worth a look.

If you place the Bertuzzi affair aside, Crawford seems aligned with the profile and culture owner Geoff Molson is trying to create for the Canadiens. Crawford is known as a strong communicator, open, amiable and press friendly. For this reason, of the rumoured candidates, Crawford makes the most sense from that standpoint.

However, when you throw in a possible fall trial in the Moore/Bertuzzi case, or simply the threat of pending litigation, things become a bit murkier for the gregarious coach.

To say the least, the Moore/Bertuzzi trial would get a lot of attention and would be heavily covered by the media. The case is a watershed moment for violence in hockey, and with that will come great interest and scrutiny.

Moore has alleged that Crawford, Bertuzzi and then Canucks GM Brian Burke entered into “an unlawful plan and agreement to assault, batter and injure Moore”. As well, after Bertuzzi was sued by Moore, he turned around and sued (or issued a crossclaim) alleging that Crawford encouraged Canuck players to make Moore “pay the price” for knocking out Vancouver captain Markus Naslund in an earlier game. Bertuzzi also alleged that some of the responsibility for the attack should fall on Crawford who "failed to exercise control over and caution his players against physical aggression toward Moore” (here’s a copy of the crossclaim).

Bertuzzi has since discontinued or dismissed his Claim against Crawford. However, Crawford remains part of the narrative of this case and part of the story. And more importantly, Crawford will be a witness at trial. Given that the trial may start in the September or October, Crawford may end up testifying during the NHL season.

Indeed, all this could be very distracting, and something the Canadiens will look at in determining whether Crawford is the right person for the job. Do the Canadiens want this type of distraction? Are they willing to put up with Crawford as a witness in a trial that may go down as a seminal moment in hockey history? There is a lot for the team to consider.

Ultimately, it may not be determinative, but will certainly be part of the decision making process.