[posted 9/23/10 to http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com]
Ladies and gentlemen of Connecticut, stop and reflect for a moment on the undeniable savvy of Linda and Vince McMahon. If the game of the U.S. Senate election is knowing how to lower the bar, then without a doubt, no one does it better.
* In December 1989, as the New London Day revealed, Linda McMahon told another executive of her wrestling company to tip their Pennsylvania ring doctor, George Zahorian, that he was under federal investigation for illegal steroid distribution. (Soon thereafter, Zahorian was indicted, and in 1991 he became the first physician in the country to be convicted and sent to federal prison for violation of a statute criminalizing the prescription of steroids for non-therapeutic purposes.)
McMahon’s defense against The Day‘s story came from lawyer Jerry McDevitt: “At no time did they ever charge anybody with any kind of obstruction of justice ...” Gee, thanks, Jer!
* In 1994 Vince McMahon himself and the then-World Wrestling Federation went on federal trial for conspiracy to distribute steroids. A year later, after the McMahons were acquitted, the New York Post and the Village Voice both reported in painstaking detail how Rudy Giuliani crony Martin Bergman, the husband of McMahon lead defense counsel Laura Brevetti, made highly inappropriate pre-trial contact with Vince’s secretary, Emily Feinberg; Bergman represented himself as a television news producer offering Feinberg cash for her story, and these bribe precursors may well have suborned her subsequent testimony at trial.
On this one, Linda McMahon hasn’t even had to bother defending herself – not a single Connecticut news outlet has had the guts to pick up the accounts of the episode on this blog. (Traffic statistics, however, show that the reprint here of “In Bed With the WWF: Sex and Scandal in Pro Wrestling,” a chapter of my book Wrestling Babylon, which includes the Feinberg anecdote, is my most heavily visited individual post.)
Of course, if anyone does ask about l’affaire Feinberg, I’m sure Jerry McDevitt will be at the ready. After all, at no time was Martin Bergman or Laura Brevetti or Vince McMahon charged with any kind of obstruction of justice.
* And now the state of Connecticut is investigating World Wrestling Entertainment for abuse of independent contractor classification for its performers, who drop dead by the bushel. The McMahon campaign, which joined with WWE in leaking the news of the state audit (whose launch may well predate the campaign), has calibrated the perfect line on this. If WWE is charged with violating the law, the charge was politically motivated; if WWE is not charged with violating the law, “at no time” was it charged with violating the law.
As Wile E. Coyote used to say, “Brilliant!”
Even senatorial timber — unless people in the Nutmeg State wake up and realize how Linda McMahon’s money and media are playing them for fools.