The son of late U.S. Senator Arlen Specter and a Pennsylvania legislature ghostwriter claim former President Donald Trump offered cash for the Specter campaign in 2008 to stop his investigation into the Spygate scandal. This comes from an ESPN report.
Through spokespersons, Patriot owners Robert Kraft and Trump denied any efforts to influence Specter’s investigation.
« Mr. Kraft is not aware of Trump’s involvement in this issue, and he has had no other relationship with Specter or any of its staff, » a Patriots spokesperson emailed ESPN. A Patriots spokesperson declined to give further comments to the Herald today.
« This is totally wrong, » Trump’s senior advisor Jason Miller told ESPN. « We have no idea what you’re talking about. »
In 2008, Specter called on an independent investigator to determine how many games the Patriots had illegally videotaped, how much video recording of opposing coaches’ signals was affecting the integrity of their games, and why the NFL after completing their own investigation destroyed all evidence. He was outraged at how the League and the Patriots had « blocked » his own investigation.
A longtime fan and critic of the league, Specter previously threatened to file laws that would end the NFL’s antitrust exemption.
In the fall of 2007, he wrote two letters to Commissioner Roger Goodell, whose own investigation into the patriots’ illegal videotaping was completed in just four days, according to the ESPN story. Goodell had fined the Patriots $ 250,000, coach Bill Belichick with $ 500,000, and docked the franchise with a first-round draft pick. Goodell did not reply to either of the letters, according to ESPN.
Specter, then the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, increased his pressure on the league. It was possible that players, coaches and executives could be summoned. Patriot employees refused to speak to him.
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In early 2008, ESPN reported that a friend of Patriot owner Robert Kraft called to intervene: Donald Trump.
Trump had contributed to Specter’s campaign committees for decades, often donating the maximum amount per ESPN. The story goes on to say that Specter and Trump were friends and had dinner in Palm Beach, Florida just before Trump’s phone call and allegedly said, « If you fired the Patriots, there would be a lot of money in Palm Beach. »
Shanin Specter, Arlen’s son and attorney in Philadelphia, told ESPN that he remembered speaking to his late father immediately after being called.
« My father told me that Trump acted as a messenger for strength, » Shanin told Specter. « But I’m just as sure that the note on money in Palm Beach was campaign dues, not cash. The offer was Kraft’s campaign contribution support. … My father said it was Kraft’s offer, not someone else’s. »
Shanin Specter continued, according to the story, “He was pissed off. … My father was upset when (such overtures) were going to happen because he felt it was tantamount to a bribe, even though the case law on the subject does not say so. … He would tell me these things when they occurred. We were very close. »
Specter failed to report Trump’s offer to Senate ethics officials after the case law did not consider the offer to be a solicitation of bribery. Campaign experts told ESPN it was difficult to pursue the offer as a bribe. One Republican electoral attorney flatly stated, « You can’t go to a US senator and say my friend has a big bag of money for you, even if it’s campaign money, if you stopped your investigation. That’s a bribe. »
The encounter is described in Specter’s 2012 book, ghostwritten by Charles Robbins, the former communications assistant, although Trump is not mentioned by name. Robbins spoke to ESPN twice.
« I asked Specter and he said, » It doesn’t matter, let’s move on « and I didn’t press it. » Robbins told ESPN. But in the end it didn’t really matter, Robbins says now, “I was pretty sure the offer was made by Trump. At the time, it didn’t seem like that important moment. Back then, Trump was a real estate agent and a TV personality. »
Sen. Specter later met in March 2010 with Force to apply for funds for his re-election campaign. According to ESPN, records show that neither Kraft nor the Kraft Group ever donated to Specter’s campaign committees. Trump’s last donation was in March 2008 for $ 1,300.
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