“At no time did they ever charge anybody with any kind of obstruction of justice or whatever it is you were suggesting…”
World Wrestling Entertainment lawyer Jerry McDevitt to Ted Mann of New London’s The Day
The Sunday Linda McMahon bombshell to which I had alerted readers of this blog turned into the Friday evening Linda McMahon bombshell: the superb report in The Day that McMahon, in a 1989 memorandum, instructed a then-World Wrestling Federation executive to warn a Pennsylvania ring doctor, who was also the No. 1 illegal steroid connection of wrestlers, that he was under investigation.
See “McMahon warned steroid doctor of investigation,” http://www.theday.com/article/20100409/NWS12/100409727/1017.
What is equally important is for everyone to take a gander at the unexpurgated December 1, 1989, memo from Linda McMahon to Pat Patterson: http://www.theday.com/assets/pdf/NL7163449.PDF.
In the third paragraph Linda tells Patterson that her husband Vince “would like you to call [Dr. George] Zahorian to tell him not to come to any more of our events and to also clue him in on any action that the Justice Department is thinking of taking [emphasis added].”
With extraordinary enterprise, reporter Ted Mann went out and uncovered a long-buried document that was produced at Vince McMahon’s 1994 steroid trafficking trial. The court record had redacted the second paragraph of the memo. But as part of her one-day exercise in transparency, the McMahon campaign calculated that it was wise to take the initiative of releasing the complete document.
The previously blacked-out verbiage explains how the McMahons’ lawyers, Jack Krill, got wind of the fact that Dr. Zahorian was “hot” at a social occasion with a Justice Department official. (The memo says “State Department,” but Linda McMahon acknowledges that she meant to say “Justice Department.”)
This story is valuable from every imaginable angle. In the McMahon-for-Senate morphology, the most significant may be that, for the first time, it puts Linda’s own fingerprints on the very foundations of pro wrestling’s steroid-and-death scandals. These words are not Vince’s; they are hers. Nor can this one be spun as an example of a “party atmosphere” that “evolved” over time to the upstanding “Wellness Policy” of today. It is, pure and simple, a company directive, from the very top, to tip a target of a federal criminal investigation – at the precise moment when the company was separating itself from him for precisely the same reason.
In the next post in this series, I’ll briefly explain why The Day rushed this piece onto the web late Friday and into print on Saturday, the lowest-circulation day of the newspaper week. But not tonight. Let’s keep our focus on Ted Mann’s fine work here. In February I wrote that the Brian Lockhart/Hearst investigation of the quashing of the Waxman Committee investigation had “filled a syringe with substance and injected it deep into the flabby gluteus maximus of Linda McMahon’s Senate campaign.” Today another enterprising Connecticut journalist showed us that the substance isn’t just steroids. It may be kryptonite.
In later posts, I will direct readers to other facets of what lawyer McDevitt called “obstruction of justice or whatever it is you were suggesting.”
Before doing so, I invite campaign watchers everywhere to bone up on “Linda McMahon’s Husband Vince Fought the Law, and the Law Lost (complete text as a single post),” http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-husband-vince-fought-the-law-and-the-law-lost-complete-text-as-a-single-post/.
If that’s more than you can handle in one sitting, consider reviewing “Part 4 – The Defense Lawyer, the ‘Fixer,’ and the Playboy Model,” http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2009/12/24/linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-husband-vince-fought-the-law-and-the-law-lost-part-4-%E2%80%93-the-defense-lawyer-the-%E2%80%98fixer%E2%80%99-and-the-playboy-model/.
Good night from California.