Louis Freeh’s post-mortem hatchet job on Joe Paterno deserves to be booed out of every stadium in the country. So does the NCAA’s absurdly hypocritical, overblown response. Nice to see that other knowledgeable observers agree, as Paul Mirengoff writes at Powerlineblog.
Mirengoff quotes an (unfortunately) unidentified friend and former prosecutor who wrote:
As to the issue about whether Joe Paterno should have done more with the McQueary information, I keep coming back to one critical missing piece of evidence: what did Curley and Schultz tell him? Schultz, in particular, is the important actor here because he was the top university official in charge of the University Police. Freeh Report at 33. If JoePa wanted to cover this up, he would never have reported McQueary’s information to Curley and Schultz within a day of receiving it. Is waiting one day on a weekend evidence of a cover-up? Mr. Freeh and others seem to think so. The Freeh Report repeatedly cites Mr. Paterno’s comments about not interfering with the weekend as evidence of some kind of evil intent. But, again, this proves nothing. Would the Report conclude differently if Mr.Paterno had spoken with Curley and Schultz on Saturday evening instead of Sunday?
Furthermore, if Mr. Paterno had reported the McQueary information to me (were I, like Schultz, the official in charge of the University Police), I would have told him to keep his mouth shut going forward and let the authorities handle the matter. Otherwise, Mr. Paterno could have tainted the investigation. And, because he was a potential trial witness (to McQueary’s prior consistent statements, see Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(1)(B) and Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence613(c)), any further statements or action by Mr. Paterno could have become cross-examination fodder for the defense. Any further action by Mr.Paterno could only have damaged the integrity of the investigation and any prosecution against Sandusky. (emphasis added)
Exactly. It would have been legal madness for Paterno to have further immersed himself in any investigation against Jerry Sandusky, especially in light of Paterno’s own historical (professional) relationship with Sandusky. Conflicts of interest galore, with obstruction of justice written all over them.
If this (fact-) Freeh Report is the best that former FBI Director Louis Freeh can do “after more than 430 interviews and a review of more than 3.5 million documents,” there isn’t much of a case to be made against Joe Paterno. If Paterno were living and I were his lawyer, I might advise him to sue Penn State for retaliating against him as the whistleblower who tried to get Penn State to put a stop to Jerry Sandusky. I think Freeh’s gratuitous mischaracterization of the record can fairly be described as malacious defamation commissioned by the Penn State Board of Trustees.