My praise for today’s article by John Avlon of The Daily Beast, about presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s role in ending regulation in the 1980s of what is now World Wrestling Entertainment, goes beyond the fact that Avlon was once a Rudy Giuliani aide. (See previous post. The Daily Beast link is http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/09/rick-santorum-family-values-candidate-and-pro-wrestling-advocate.html.)
Besides the Avlon-Giuliani connection, props go to The Daily Beast for call-it-as-they-see-it journalism despite my having mercilessly ripped it and writer Lloyd Grove for coverage of Linda McMahon’s 2010 Senate run, which swallowed her ridiculous account of her and husband Vince’s 1970s bankruptcy.
(That is, unless the explanation is that your humble blogger’s earlier efforts didn’t even register on TDB’s radar screen. In which case they don’t have to admit it.)
Getting back to Giuliani … Hizzoner officiated the 1994 wedding of crony Marty Bergman and prominent defense attorney Laura Brevetti at City Hall. And after Brevetti got Vince McMahon, along with WWE’s predecessor corporation, TitanSports / World Wrestling Federation, acquitted of federal steroid-trafficking charges, convincing reports in the New York Post and the Village Voice showed how Bergman – as an undisclosed Mr. Brevetti – had helped fix the trial by suborning one of the government’s star witnesesses: ex-Vince secretary and ex-Playboy model Emily Feinberg.
Let me say again that I don’t believe the feds made the case that Vince’s complicity in dirty Pennsylvania ring doctor George Zahorian’s pushing of steroids to WWF talent was criminal; the jury’s not-guilty verdict got it right. But the dirty tricks department of the McMahons’ defense team – also led by long-time family counsel Jerry McDevitt of what is now the global law firm K&L Gates – obviously was taking no chances.
Earlier in the (successful in this case) prosecution of Dr. Zahorian, Linda McMahon was arguably involved in obstruction of justice when she received a tip, via McDevitt’s partner Jack Krill, that Zahorian was “hot” and should be dropped as the attending physician at WWF shows in his section of Pennsylvania.
Below, some links from our archives.
In 1988 I wrote an article for The Washington Monthly titled “The (Thwak!) Deregulation of (Thump!) Pro Wrestling.” It would become a chapter of my 2007 book Wrestling Babylon. The piece was republished at this blog at https://concussioninc.net/?p=2441.
Rick Santorum — who today announced his candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination — was not named in that story, but at the time he was working as a World Wrestling Entertainment (then World Wrestling Federation) lobbyist out of the Pittsburgh office of Jerry McDevitt’s law firm, then known as Kirkpatrick & Lockhart.
Santorum contacted me by phone shortly after the Washington Monthly article was published in the spring of ’88. He wanted to tell me how funny he thought it was. I have a vivid memory of his reading lines back to me and laughing uproariously. As we conversed, he was listening in the background to live radio reports about the demise of some Pennsylvania politician in an ethics scandal; at one point he shushed me so we could listen together to the latest development in that case. Santorum couldn’t contain his mirth about that, either. He was obviously high on something – politico adrenaline, I suppose.
* “Senate Candidate Linda McMahon, Former Senator Rick Santorum, and Pro Wrestling Deregulation,” December 9, 2009, https://concussioninc.net/?p=1241
* “No WWE Lobbying? Why, Rick Santorum Handled the Account!”, April 8, 2010, https://concussioninc.net/?p=2147
* “In Pennsylvania, Wrestling Deregulation Is Tied Up With Another Small Piece of Linda McMahon Baggage: Obstruction of Justice,” October 21, 2010, https://concussioninc.net/?p=3239