[by fax April 20, 2010]
Mr. Dennis C. Pfannenschmidt
United States Attorney
Middle District of Pennsylvania
Dear Mr. Pfannenschmidt:
This is a request for comment on media reports suggesting that there was either an inadvertent mistake or misconduct by your predecessor in 1989. (I am an author, journalist, and blogger; see below for my contact information and links to my work.)
Earlier this month The Day of New London, Connecticut, reported on the involvement of U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s former company (now known as World Wrestling Entertainment) in two federal criminal investigations of steroid abuse in professional wrestling. The first of those cases, prosecuted by your office, resulted in the conviction at trial of Dr. George Zahorian.
Attached for your reference are the two published accounts in The Day, as well as a facsimile of the December 1, 1989, internal company memorandum by Ms. McMahon referenced in those reports.
According to The Day, Ms. McMahon and WWE cite James J. West, U.S. Attorney at the time, as the source of a tip to them of the investigation of Dr. Zahorian. In the newspaper story, Mr. West denied this, though without detail or addressing the obvious follow-up questions flowing from that denial.
In an email earlier today, I solicited further discussion of the 1989 events. Mr. West responded, “I am not commenting on something that happened 20 years ago.”
That is the background of this request. Unless resolved, the issue of Mr. West’s alleged tip calls into question the integrity of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (and no doubt has legal ramifications as well).
I will take the liberty of following up by phone tomorrow.