Behind Gag Order in Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka Murder Trial: Fear of Reporting and Commentary on Prosecutorial Misconduct

Published November 2nd, 2015, Uncategorized

by Irvin Muchnick

 

P.S. 1:10 p.m. Pacific time: Contrary to what was reported by Lehigh Valley Live (and, possibly, incorrectly told to reporter Sarah Cassi), deputy district attorney Charles Gallagher did not speak to NBC’s “Dateline.” See our follow up item,  https://concussioninc.net/?p=10497.

 

A Pennsylvania judge today issued a gag order in the murder trial of WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka for the 1983 death of his girlfriend Nancy Argentino.

I recommend the report from the ground by Sarah Cassi of Lehigh Valley Live: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/index.ssf/2015/11/jimmy_superfly_snuka_back_in_c.html#incart_2box_lvl-homepage-featured. Cassi’s story also updates other procedural wrinkles, including Snuka’s claim that he has dementia and his request for a change of venue.

The principle of a fair trial for the accused is, obviously, crucial in our criminal justice system. But judges tend to defer too much to prosecutors on gag order motions, and I believe this is an example.

According to Cassi’s story, Lehigh County’s chief deputy district attorney, Charles Gallagher III, said “he was contacted by the NBC show ‘Dateline’ related to the case, spurring him to request the gag order.” Gallagher also cited what he called “blasphemous” public statements by the Snuka defense team, but I think that is political cover for his boss James B. Martin’s real fear, which is national media coverage suggesting incompetence, or worse, by the Whitehall Township Police and the D.A. across 32 years of this absurdly distended “cold case.”

Further — and I can’t talk about further details regarding this just yet — I can assure you that NBC’s “Dateline” is not at the top of Martin’s concerns in this connection.

To review, I was the first national journalist to report on the Snuka-Argentino incident, and the first, national or local, to report on it in any depth. Whitehall detective Gerald Procanyn, now double-dipping on his retirement pension in a job with the county D.A.’s office, lied about the state of the evidence against Snuka in a 1992 interview with me. This September’s long-overdue indictment of the wrestler, on charges of third degree homicide and involuntary manslaughter, differs insignificantly from the case that could have been brought decades ago. If anything, the case is now inferior because of the passage of time, for multiple reasons. At minimum, justice has been inordinately delayed, and if Snuka is not clearly convicted as a result of this flaw, “justice delayed” will be proven to have been “justice denied.”

Of course, Judge Kelly Banach’s gag order does not apply to me.

And of course, I will not be gagged.

 

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Our 2013 ebook, JUSTICE DENIED: The Untold Story of Nancy Argentino’s Death in Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka’s Hotel Room, annotates our original article and benefits a women’s shelter in Nancy’s memory. You can order the ebook for $2.99 on Amazon Kindle (http://amzn.com/B00CPTP6VM) or a PDF copy by email (send $2.99 via PayPal to nancyargentino@gmail.com). One hundred percent of the proceeds are donated by the Argentino family, in Nancy’s memory, to the women’s shelter in development at the Salerno, Italy, church Centro Evangelical dei Fratelli.