Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only

Irv Muchnick printing legal threats from McDevitt in excerpts in 12 tweets each day


Bix
 Share

Recommended Posts

Might as well keep a legible log of this:

 

A Twitter exclusive: my complete June 2008 correspondence with WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt. Full text also included in the companion DVD marketed with my new book on the Benoit murder-suicide. There will be daily 12-tweet bursts; “Daily Dozen” feed updated collectively at site and blogs.

 

HERE WE GO:

 

Eileen M. Wargo to Irvin Muchnick, 6/16/08 6:59 a.m.,

“On behalf of Jerry S. McDevitt”

 

Dear Mr. Muchnick:

 

Typically, WWE has ignored your so-called “reporting” and associated attempts promote your upcoming book seeking to cash in on the murders committed by Chris Benoit last summer. Perhaps you have confused WWE’s disregard of you as a license to print increasingly bizarre and defamatory statements regarding WWE and/or Mr. McMahon in your effort to create some illusion of WWE complicity in Mr. Benoit’s decision to commit capital murder. My purpose in writing is to dispel any such illusion you may have and to advise you of certain facts. Thus, any further repetition of similar falsehoods by you will be treated as a reckless disregard for the truth. We have reviewed certain statements contained in your so-called

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Top Nine List of supposedly "unanswered questions" regarding the murders committed by Chris Benoit. In reality, none are questions at all but rather your uninformed musing and falsehoods. We address each below.

 

1. "Congress: All Lick and No Stick" - Vince McMahon did not "no show" Congressman Rush's hearing, as you have stated. As the written record clearly shows, Mr. McMahon was "invited" to attend and told he had the right to counsel by the invitation. I was personally involved in a criminal trial for another client and had an incurable conflict as a result. Mr. Rush's committee was so advised. Beyond that, I would add that WWE produced all the records Mr. Rush's committee asked for long ago and never heard another word from that committee until it "invited" Mr. McMahon to appear. Additionally, WWE also provided additional documents to Congressman Waxman's committee, and Mr. McMahon personally answered questions by their staff. In short, Congress has received complete cooperation from WWE.

 

2. "Dr. Astin/Signature Pharmacy/DEA" - As noted, the precise "unanswered question" you seek to raise here is not clear, nor is the importance of the "unanswered question" evident given the certainty that Chris Benoit murdered his family. There are a few clear things, however, which your piece omits. First of all, it was WWE which provided law enforcement with information it had about Chris Benoit's visit to Dr. Astin on the day of the murders before any search warrant was executed on Dr. Astin. Secondly, I personally met with District Attorney David Soares, who has conducted the Signature Pharmacy investigation, and WWE acted promptly on information provided to us by Mr. Soares in suspending talent who had dealt with Signature in ways that violated the Wellness Program. Third, there is little mystery now about Chris Benoit's medical condition on the date of the murders. His autopsy report confirms the existence of a medical condition requiring testosterone replacement therapy. In that regard, despite original statements made by the United States Attorney suggesting that Dr. Astin overprescribed testosterone, the fact is that Dr. Astin was never charged with any illegality in regard to those prescriptions. Indeed, after nearly a year of further investigating Dr. Astin, the recent new indictment of Dr. Astin does not contain any steroid related charges. Additionally, the toxicology report issued by Georgia authorities reveals the presence of other substances found in his body on autopsy, and Dr. Astin has been charged with improperly prescribing with respect to those drugs. The toxicology report of Nancy Benoit also indicates the use of various drugs, and the recent indictment of Dr. Astin appears to charge Dr. Astin with prescribing such drugs to her outside the course of proper medical treatment. If these charges are sustained at the eventual trial of Dr. Astin, it would indicate that Chris Benoit and Nancy Benoit were both abusing prescription medications at the time of the murders.

 

3. "Civil Litigation" - Simply put, there is no civil lawsuit against WWE, nor was it necessary to settle estate issues to clear the path to any such frivolous lawsuit. There are no legitimate estate issues, as the surviving children of Chris Benoit are the only persons under Georgia law who should inherit the estate on the facts of that case. If Chris Benoit first murdered his wife and then his son, which is the official conclusion of that investigation, neither Nancy's parents, nor Michael Benoit, are entitled to a dime of estate assets. In that regard, as a reporter, I would think you might find it interesting that the settlement of which you speak involving Michael Benoit and the parents of Nancy Benoit has been "sealed" from the public. As a reporter, I would think you might be more interested in finding out whether estate assets are being transferred in their entirety to the surviving children of Chris Benoit or are being diverted elsewhere, including to persons with no legal right to state assets.

 

4. "Fayette County Authorities - Threat or Menace" - The notion that District Attorney Scott Ballard and Sheriff Johnson "got played like a cello by WWE" is utter nonsense. Nobody from WWE, including myself, ever spoke to Scott Ballard. As to the sheriff's office, we provided numerous facts to them to aid their investigation, including that Chris Benoit had seen Dr. Astin earlier in the day. In point of fact, the authorities did not do

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm happy for you Irv, and I'mma let you finish, but Sean Shannon had the best internet meltdown of ALL TIME!

 

 

 

(sorry I had to go there)

 

 

 

 

Also, Irv has quickly become the poster child for "what he's saying may be right but you feel compelled to disagree with him because he comes off as an obsessed nut".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Twitter exclusive: my complete June 2008 correspondence with WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt. Full text also included in the companion DVD marketed with my new book on the Benoit murder-suicide. There will be daily 12-tweet bursts; "Daily Dozen"feed updated collectively at site and blogs.

 

HERE WE GO:

 

Eileen M. Wargo to Irvin Muchnick, 6/16/08 6:59 a.m.,

"On behalf of Jerry S. McDevitt"

 

Dear Mr. Muchnick:

 

Typically, WWE has ignored your so-called "reporting" and associated attempts promote your upcoming book seeking to cash in on the murders committed by Chris Benoit last summer. Perhaps you have confused WWE's disregard of you as a license to print increasingly bizarre and defamatory statements regarding WWE and/or Mr. McMahon in your effort to create some illusion of WWE complicity in Mr. Benoit's decision to commit capital murder. My purpose in writing is to dispel any such illusion you may have and to advise you of certain facts. Thus, any further repetition of similar falsehoods by you will be treated as a reckless disregard for the truth. We have reviewed certain statements contained in your so-calledTop Nine List of supposedly "unanswered questions" regarding the murders committed by Chris Benoit. In reality, none are questions at all but rather your uninformed musing and falsehoods. We address each below.

 

1. "Congress: All Lick and No Stick" - Vince McMahon did not "no show" Congressman Rush's hearing, as you have stated. As the written record clearly shows, Mr. McMahon was "invited" to attend and told he had the right to counsel by the invitation. I was personally involved in a criminal trial for another client and had an incurable conflict as a result. Mr. Rush's committee was so advised. Beyond that, I would add that WWE produced all the records Mr. Rush's committee asked for long ago and never heard another word from that committee until it "invited" Mr. McMahon to appear. Additionally, WWE also provided additional documents to Congressman Waxman's committee, and Mr. McMahon personally answered questions by their staff. In short, Congress has received complete cooperation from WWE.

 

2. "Dr. Astin/Signature Pharmacy/DEA" - As noted, the precise "unanswered question" you seek to raise here is not clear, nor is the importance of the "unanswered question" evident given the certainty that Chris Benoit murdered his family. There are a few clear things, however, which your piece omits. First of all, it was WWE which provided law enforcement with information it had about Chris Benoit's visit to Dr. Astin on the day of the murders before any search warrant was executed on Dr. Astin. Secondly, I personally met with District Attorney David Soares, who has conducted the Signature Pharmacy investigation, and WWE acted promptly on information provided to us by Mr. Soares in suspending talent who had dealt with Signature in ways that violated the Wellness Program. Third, there is little mystery now about Chris Benoit's medical condition on the date of the murders. His autopsy report confirms the existence of a medical condition requiring testosterone replacement therapy. In that regard, despite original statements made by the United States Attorney suggesting that Dr. Astin overprescribed testosterone, the fact is that Dr. Astin was never charged with any illegality in regard to those prescriptions. Indeed, after nearly a year of further investigating Dr. Astin, the recent new indictment of Dr. Astin does not contain any steroid related charges. Additionally, the toxicology report issued by Georgia authorities reveals the presence of other substances found in his body on autopsy, and Dr. Astin has been charged with improperly prescribing with respect to those drugs. The toxicology report of Nancy Benoit also indicates the use of various drugs, and the recent indictment of Dr. Astin appears to charge Dr. Astin with prescribing such drugs to her outside the course of proper medical treatment. If these charges are sustained at the eventual trial of Dr. Astin, it would indicate that Chris Benoit and Nancy Benoit were both abusing prescription medications at the time of the murders.

 

3. "Civil Litigation" - Simply put, there is no civil lawsuit against WWE, nor was it necessary to settle estate issues to clear the path to any such frivolous lawsuit. There are no legitimate estate issues, as the surviving children of Chris Benoit are the only persons under Georgia law who should inherit the estate on the facts of that case. If Chris Benoit first murdered his wife and then his son, which is the official conclusion of that investigation, neither Nancy's parents, nor Michael Benoit, are entitled to a dime of estate assets. In that regard, as a reporter, I would think you might find it interesting that the settlement of which you speak involving Michael Benoit and the parents of Nancy Benoit has been "sealed" from the public. As a reporter, I would think you might be more interested in finding out whether estate assets are being transferred in their entirety to the surviving children of Chris Benoit or are being diverted elsewhere, including to persons with no legal right to state assets.

 

4. "Fayette County Authorities - Threat or Menace" - The notion that District Attorney Scott Ballard and Sheriff Johnson "got played like a cello by WWE" is utter nonsense. Nobody from WWE, including myself, ever spoke to Scott Ballard. As to the sheriff's office, we provided numerous facts to them to aid their investigation, including that Chris Benoit had seen Dr. Astin earlier in the day. In point of fact, the authorities did not do many things which should have been done, and which they were urged to do, and did several things which should never be done in any competent investigation. Foremost among such actions was releasing the crime scene, together with critically important evidence, to persons with financial interests within a day of discovering the bodies. Indeed, it is a matter of historical record that I called on authorities during a national television program to locate Chris Benoit's diary when I learned of it since it might have shed light on the murders. Incredibly, when it finally was located or retrieved, it was evidently given to Michael Benoit rather than maintained in police custody. Similarly, Mr. Ballard made numerous public statements which were inappropriate and ultimately belied by the actual forensic evidence and failed to see to it that certain tests were done which might have supplied a motive and/or more complete picture of the circumstances within the Benoit family. Indeed, the disdain for Mr. Ballard is evident to anybody who speaks to the actual investigators. Likewise, your insinuation that Mr. McMahon in some unspecified way kept authorities from charging Jimmy Snuka for murder in 1983 is an odious lie. I gather this lie was told to support some inference that Mr. McMahon in some way influenced the investigation of the Benoit deaths. I would note that Mr. McMahon never spoke to any of the officials investigating the Benoit murders, so your attempted inference that he did something improper in Benoit's case, or would have any reason to do so, is also false.

 

5. "WWE’s Head Start" - In this particular piece of drivel, you state that "the company knew the score at least two hours before calling 911." Nowhere, of course, do you plainly state what you mean by "the score." From this phony predicate, which I gather is designed to suggest that somehow WWE knew Chris Benoit had murdered his wife and child two hours before supposedly calling 911, you then compound that lie by claiming WWE used its "early knowledge" (of what is not said) to get out in front of and shape the public story by "slowing down" the timeline and garnering early sympathy. Exactly who supposedly knew something two hours before calling 911, or how they or anybody would have known two hours before calling 911, or what these unknown persons supposedly knew, is conveniently left out of your report, precisely because you know that the whole construct is utter nonsense. To be clear, WWE’s timeline reflects what it knew and when, and your attempts to suggest otherwise, are simply malicious fabrications. There is not a shred of evidence anywhere that Chris Benoit told anybody what he had done-orally, by text message, or by any means-before taking his own life.

 

6. "Yo, Scott and Chavo" - Once again, in your attempts to conjure up unanswered questions and suggest something nefarious, you ignore that Chavo Guerrero gave nationally broadcast versions of exactly what happened and when, including when he advised WWE of Chris Benoit’s text messages. Your desire to create a story out of whole cloth is no excuse to ignore facts of record.

 

7. "Who Let the Dogs Out" - Is the suggestion of this non-issue that unnamed WWE personnel used their alleged, but non-existent, two hour head start to go to Benoit’s house for some reason to leave the dogs out? Exactly what purpose would be served by anybody leaving the dogs out anyway?

 

8. WWE’s Policies - Once again, no real question here; just hyperbole.

 

9. Cocktail of Death - The police report, incomplete as it is in certain material respects, nevertheless portrays a deeply troubled marriage having nothing to do with WWE. As to the concussion theory, suffice it to say that none of that alleged scientific work has ever been made available for independent review, and the notion that Chris Benoit had the brain of an 85-year old with dementia defies both common sense as well as the observations of those who had contact with him every week. Simply put, he couldn’t have found the airport if that supposed "finding" were even remotely accurate. It was for that reason that we asked the Sports Legacy Institute to turn over all of its "science" for independent review. They have refused to do so. In regard to the alleged concussion issue, I further note that you have posted the comments of Michael Benoit on your web site regarding the new indictment of Dr. Astin together with Mr. Benoit’s statement that "the findings of Doctors Bailes, Omalu and Cantu that the underlying cause of the tragedy was the condition of my son’s brain." Mr. Benoit also characterizes the indictment of Dr. Astin as not alleging anything improper with the prescriptions given Chris Benoit for painkillers and muscle relaxers, stating the amounts were not excessive. First of all, in none of the public comments of which I am aware has any doctor, including Drs. Bailes, Omalu and Cantu, stated that alleged concussions caused Chris Benoit to commit the first degree murders of his wife and son. In fact, I distinctly recall Drs. Bailes and Cantu stating they could not render such an opinion. I would further note that SLI’s purported findings came out before any of the police investigative work was made public. I rather doubt that any reputable physician who has read that report would render an opinion that alleged "concussions" made Chris Benoit hog tie his wife and then brutally murder her in the fashion depicted in the police report, and none has to date. Secondly, the allegation of the new indictment portrays a much different scenario than Michael Benoit portrays, in fact charging Dr. Astin with not only prescribing an illegitimate amount of drugs to both Chris and Nancy Benoit, but also charging him with conspiracy with some of the recipients of his prescriptions to further distribute the drugs. As Michael Benoit surely knows, since he is the executor of the estate, the house where the murders were committed had no mortgage. Instead, the builder was paid by a series of payments totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, and all payments were consistently made by Nancy Benoit from various accounts. In closing, try as you might, Chris Benoit, and only Chris Benoit, is factually, legally, and morally responsible for the murders of his wife and child and his decision to commit suicide rather than face the legal consequences for committing two first degree murders. Notwithstanding your desire to shift blame to WWE by your ill-conceived conspiracy theories in order to promote yourself or a book, please try to get your facts correct in the future. Rest assure WWE will not stand idly by if you don't.

 

Jerry S. McDevitt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Irv has finished posting Jerry McDevitt's legal letter (see above) and has started posting his response to that letter:

 

Irvin Muchnick email to Eileen M. Wargo, 6/16/09 8:49 a.m., "Re: On behalf of Jerry S. McDevitt"

 

Mr. McDevitt: I will post the text of your email. I think independent observers would agree with my position that the questions I am raising constitute a search for the full truth of the surrounding narrative -- not with your position that they show reckless disregard for the truth. I have never said or suggested that anyone other than Chris Benoit committed the double murder/suicide. Inter alia, you object to my reference to the 1983 death of Jimmy Snuka's girlfriend. My chapter about that incident in my book Wrestling Babylon discusses the recollection of an investigator that Vince McMahon served as Snuka's "mouthpiece" when he was interrogated by the police. Your bullet point No. 8 has no specifics. No. 9 goes off on a tangent about Michael Benoit. As for the others:

 

1. Vince McMahon's no-show of the Congressional hearing. Your objection to the term "no-show" comes down to semantics. The controversy was well documented in the mainstream media, as well as in my post "Wrestling Is Back on the Congressional Radar.

 

2. Dr. Astin/Signature Pharmacy/DEA. I am far from the only journalist who has raised questions about how promptly WWE acted on the information given to it by the Albany district attorney, and how consistently the Wellness Program in general has been executed. I do not quite see the point of your complaint about my commentary on Dr. Astin’s indictment; the essence of the commentary is my wondering aloud why charges related to steroids were not part of the indictment. For your part, you offer an articulate argument for the prosecutorial discretion that was exercised here.

 

3. Civil litigation. Nowhere have I said that there is a civil lawsuit on file against WWE, so I do not understand your complaint. Thank you for the background on estate law and pointers to further areas of reporting.

 

4. Fayette County authorities - threat or menace? Your comments on the Fayette County investigation are valuable additions to the public record. WWE’s vice president for corporate communications, Gary Davis, long ago stopped responding to my communications. I am happy to have a direct conduit of future communications.

 

5. WWE’s head start. Analysis of telephone call transaction data indicates that calls to Benoit ceased around 11 a.m. Monday, June 25, 2007. WWE’s first call to 911 was after 1 p.m. What that all means cannot be determined. Good and aggressive advocate that you are, you say that it means nothing.

 

6. Yo, Scott and Chavo. Mr. McDevitt, please share with me Chavo Guerrero's "nationally broadcast versions of exactly what happened and when, including when he advised WWE of Chris Benoit’s text messages," and I will promptly publish them. I will be especially interested in how these versions explain the 30-hour gap between when Benoit sent Guerrero and Scott James (Armstrong) messages, and when the WWE timeline says company executives were told of them.

 

7. Who let the dogs out? I have reported on this issue several times on my blog. Benoit's texts said the dogs were in the enclosed backyard area by the pool, but when the sheriff's deputies got there, the dogs were loose in the general area near the front gate. I also have said that there are two possible innocuous explanations. One is that Benoit, who was surely deranged at that point, was not telling the truth in his text messages about the location of the dogs. Another is that the fence around the pool area did not contain the dogs.

 

Irvin Muchnick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And Irv just keeps going...

 

Jerry McDevitt email to Irvin Muchnick, 6/16/09 1:02 p.m., "[no subject]"

 

Mr. Muchnick, I have received your response, such as it is, to my letter sent earlier today placing you on notice of certain facts. Your response, like your "reporting" leaves much to be desired. In no particular order, a few more observations about your response.

 

First, our objection to your use of words like "No show" to describe Mr. McMahon's inability to attend Congressman Rush's hearing is not "mere semantics". All words convey a meaning, and the reporters selection of words convey a state of mind. That phrase connotes disrespect by WWE for the process, and is intended to portray Mr. McMahon in a negative and arrogant light. It is, quite simply, factually false and know by you to be false.

 

Second, your reference to some unnamed "Investigators" recollection from a quarter of a century ago that Mr. McMahon "served as Snuka's "mouthpiece" when he was interrogated by the police" in connection with the death of Mr. Snuka's girlfriend is yet another example of your willingness to print any unsubstantiated garbage consistent with the portrayal you seek to make of Mr. McMahon. Standing alone, it is offensive. When coupled with the statement on your website about the Fayette County authorities being supposedly "played like a cello by WWE", followed by statements that Mr. McMahon pulled an all nighter to keep Snuka from being charged, you are clearly implying that Mr. McMahon in some unspecified way manipulated authorities in two criminal investigations. That is false.

 

Third, you may be correct that you are not the only so-called journalist to have, as you put it, "raised questions about how promptly WWE acted on the information given to it by the Albany district attorney". Like you, none of those who do so bother to do the basic fact checking emblematic of a real journalist. You never asked WWE to provide the date the District Attorney made information available to it, and you certainly never asked the District Attorney when they did so. Had you done so, you would have learned that WWE acted within a day of being provided the names of persons who had dealt with Signature. Not one of the other leagues or entities like the NBA, NFL, MLB acted as quickly and decisively as did the WWE. As to your criticism of the Wellness Program, much the same could be said. Neither you, nor most of the people who criticize, know enough about drug testing in general, or the WWE program specifically, to fill up a thimble. Finally, the failure to include any steroid related charges in the new Benoit indictment was not, as you surmise, an exercise in prosecutorial discretion. The reality is they spent over a year investigating Dr. Astin after the original charges and then lodged 175 separate charges against him for other drugs. The original reports, now accepted as gospel truth due to the number of times those reports have been repeated, had Dr. Astin prescribing a ten month supply each month to Mr. Benoit. Those reports were almost certainly due to mathematical errors and other investigative mistakes which preceded the press conference making those statements, none of which were ever reflected in an actual charge. Rest assured that if those statements were accurate there would have been such charges, since lodging 175 separate charges is not prosecutorial restraint.

 

Fourth, just as your original reporting failed to do, you have still failed to explain what you meant by your suggestion that WWE supposedly "knew the score" two hours before calling 911. Your reporting is clearly intended to imply that WWE knew something(what is never said), and used this alleged advance knowledge to"get out in front" and "shape the public story". Your response once again completely fails to shed light on exactly what this innuendo is intended to suggest, other than vague notions that WWE did something wrong here. I take it from your feeble response that you infer WWE knew something from the fact that you have discerned that calls to Benoit ceased two hours before 911 was called. Thus, from the simple and frankly neutral and innocuous fact that there is two hours between two different events, you have inferred that WWE "knew the score" and, as you put it, used that "early knowledge" to get out in front of public opinion. Quite frankly, that is pathetic. The reality is you have no evidence, because there is none, that WWE knew anything more than the rest of the world knew and no evidence to even suggest otherwise. All of which is why you never state what it is that WWE supposedly knew, or how they knew it.

 

Fifth, it is illuminating that you would ask me to tell you where and how to do research before you print "facts" and supposedly "unanswered questions", as you do when you ask where Chavo Guerrero provided long ago the history of the relevant issues you claim are unanswered. Perhaps if you took the time to do research before you "report", you would not get letters from lawyers. Did you check to see if he spoke on Greta Van Susteren's show by chance?

 

Lastly, your comments about the "dogs", and ability to scrape the bottom of the barrel to appear as if you are some modern day Mickey Spillane solving some great mystery by focusing on where the dogs were when the police arrived, is almost laughable. It is a matter of record that the police were not the first to enter the crime scene, which is another cardinal error. Instead, when they got there, they asked a neighbor, who was familiar with the dogs, to enter first. She supposedly then entered the premises, secured the dogs so the police could enter, and went upstairs and found Daniel's and Nancy's body, and then exited the premises. I would strongly suspect that your big mystery about the dogs has more to do with those facts, and your desire to write a book before you know the facts, than anything material to the crimes committed.

 

In closing, I do not intend to correct any more of your errors. You are now more than on notice of facts you have printed that are wrong and false, and we trust you will proceed accordingly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

And going...

 

Jerry McDevitt email to Irvin Muchnick, 6/18/09 7:34 a.m., “[no subject]”

 

Dear Mr. Muchnick,

 

In my career, I have had the opportunity to work with real journalists in both the print and electronic media. Real journalists typically try to get the facts from real sources with knowledge, and in my experience welcome being provided facts and correcting errors made in prior reporting. I have also had the misfortune of having to deal with your ilk, who masquerade as reporters, who make no attempt to get facts from real sources, and who resent the truth when it gets in the road of their preordained theories and mindless speculation passed off as factual reporting. Your handling of the information provided to you demonstrates the reckless manner emblematic of your ilk, and provides graphic evidence not only of your reckless disregard for the truth but your actual malice towards those who confront you with the truth. In the process, you have now spewed defamatory per se statements about me on the internet instead of correcting prior false statements. Thus, you have now placed on the internet, in bold print, the statement that I provided you with a misleading account of the contact with the Albany DA. This, of course, was in reference to me pointing out to you that WWE acted within a day of getting the names of talent who had dealt with Signature pharmacy. Your sole basis for falsely and maliciously accusing me of providing a misleading account is not a source with knowledge of my dealing with the Albany District Attorney, but rather another of your ilk, Dave Meltzer, who has precisely no knowledge whatsoever of anything that happened at the meeting with the DA or of the subsequent discussions with the DA. Thus, based on Meltzer's false and incorrect statement that "The company was given the list of names at the meeting, which took place two weeks before Summerslam", you accuse me of provided a false and misleading account. The meeting with the District Attorney did take place on Aug 14th, but we were not given the names of any talent who had dealt with Signature at that meeting, as Meltzer and now you have falsely reported. Instead, the DA asked if WWE would take any action if they did provide their information to us, and I told him I was quite sure the company would do so but would confirm that and get back to him to that effect, which was done by email the next day. The day that information was finally provided to us, which was Aug 29th, the named talent were summoned to be interviewed immediately at WWE headquarters. Those interviews were conducted on the 30th and the morning of the 31st at WWE headquarters, and the disciplinary action taken was immediately announced.

 

Your other headline treatment of the factual information provided to you was also constructed with a view towards disparaging me for providing it to you, rather than using it to cease your mindless theory, still completely unexplained that WWE somehow had advance knowledge of what had happened in the Benoit house, which is an utter and malicious falsehood you have constructed out of nothing. You may think that people don't care about their good name and reputation, and that you have some right to print whatever you like without consequence. I can assure you that I don't intend to give my professional reputation to you to damage with lies as a price of communicating the truth to you in order to prevent you from continuing to print lies about those I represent. You should consider this a formal demand for an immediate retraction of your false statements about me referenced above, to be published as prominently as the lie was published.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And going...

 

Irvin Muchnick email to Jerry McDevitt, 6/18/08 8:09 a.m., “[no subject]”

 

Dear Mr. McDevitt,

 

I have your email. I will recheck my information with respect to what you say beginning with "The meeting with the District Attorney did take place on Aug 14th …" and running through the paragraph beginning "The day that information was finally provided to us, which was Aug 29th, the named talent were summoned to be interviewed immediately at WWE headquarters..." I agree with you that an accurate record of the timing of your actions in this matter is paramount. I will get back to you shortly.

 

Irvin Muchnick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And going:

 

Irvin Muchnick email to Jerry McDevitt, 6/18/09 1:45 p.m., "Muchnick to McDevitt"

 

Dear Mr. McDevitt: Per my previous message, I have looked further into your objection about my item about the timing of your actions upon receiving information from the Albany district attorney on Signature Pharmacy. I conclude that you are correct, and that my post and the headline over that post were wrong. Accordingly, I am outlining for you the retraction and apology I contemplate publishing. I am cc'ing my attorney Karl Olson. I would like to take these steps:

 

* Post the two draft items below.

* Replace the text of the original post with a note in boldface caps: "THIS POST HAS BEEN DELETED. SEE THE RETRACTION AND APOLOGY AT ."

 

(There are arguments both for and against deleting the original headline. The argument for retaining the headline is that it reinforces the retraction and apology. The argument for deleting the headline is that it somehow perpetuates the original objectionable content, even though the content was deleted and retracted. I will be guided by your wishes on that detail. Please also note that I took the liberty of correcting what seemed to be two typographical errors while quoting your email to me.)

 

I sincerely apologize to you privately for this error, and I will proceed to do so publicly. Please get back to me to confirm that this is agreeable.

 

Irvin Muchnick

 

+++++

 

DRAFT ITEM #1 RETRACTION AND APOLOGY TO WWE LAWYER JERRY S. McDEVITT

 

An item published on this blog on June 17 under the headline "WWE's McDevitt (Part 1 of 3): Lawyer Gives Misleading Account of Contact with Albany DA" was incorrect. World Wrestling Entertainment and its lawyer, Jerry S. McDevitt, were notified by the Albany district attorney of the names of the WWE performers on the Signature Pharmacy customer list on August 29, 2007. These performers were summoned to company headquarters and interviewed by WWE officials, and the performers were notified of their violations of the WWE Wellness Program and their suspensions under its terms. The public announcement of the suspensions was made on the morning of August 31, 2007. The original post wrongly suggested that WWE waited 16 days before taking action. I apologize to Mr. McDevitt and WWE for this error. Irvin Muchnick

 

***************

 

DRAFT ITEM #2 Background of McDevitt Retraction and Apology.

 

On June 18 I received an email from Jerry McDevitt, which stated the following: "[Y]ou have now placed on the internet, in bold print, the statement that I provided you with a misleading account of the contact with the Albany DA. This, of course, was in reference to me pointing out to you that WWE acted within a day of getting the names of talent who had dealt with Signature pharmacy. Your sole basis for falsely and maliciously accusing me of providing a misleading account is not a source with knowledge of my dealing with the Albany District Attorney, but rather another of your ilk, Dave Meltzer, who has precisely no knowledge whatsoever of anything that happened at the meeting with the DA or of the subsequent discussions with the DA. Thus, based on Meltzer's false and incorrect statement that "The company was given the list of names at the meeting, which took place two weeks before Summerslam", you accuse me of provided a false and misleading account. The meeting with the District Attorney did take place on Aug 14th, but we were not given the names of any talent who had dealt with Signature at that meeting, as Meltzer and now you have falsely reported. Instead, the DA asked if WWE would take any action if they did provide their information to us, and I told him I was quite sure the company would do so but would confirm that and get back to him to that effect, which was done by email the next day. The day that information was finally provided to us, which was Aug 29th, the named talent were summoned to be interviewed immediately at WWE headquarters. Those interviews were conducted on the 30th and the morning of the 31st at WWE headquarters, and the disciplinary action taken was immediately announced."

 

I immediately responded to McDevitt that I would investigate the matter, get back to him, and take appropriate action. I later sought his approval of the text of the retraction and apology, which is published in the previous post, and shared with him a draft of this follow-up blog item. As noted by McDevitt and directly quoted in my item, the source for the information about the timing of WWE's action in the Signature Pharmacy matter was Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Meltzer is regarded as the foremost journalist in his field, and has been described by the distinguished writer Frank Deford as "the most accomplished reporter in sports journalism." The Observer has become widely recognized as the industry's unofficial journal of record. Whenever I acquire information from the Observer that was not evidently elsewhere in the public record, my practice is to seek to confirm it with the parties if possible. In this instance, I did not consider that a viable possibility because previous queries of mine to the Albany district attorney (on other matters) had gone unanswered. I therefore concluded that that office, like the WWE generally, was not talking to me, and I decided to quote Meltzer without elaboration. I did not simply frame the combination of McDevitt's and Meltzer's statements as a dispute; if I had, I think the item would have been in bounds. However, the headline and the way the two accounts were juxtaposed conveyed the impression that McDevitt's was "misleading," whereas Meltzer's was authoritative. Therefore, my resolution of McDevitt's objection to the item would turn on whatever Meltzer would tell me about the underlying authority for the report of his that I had quoted. After talking to Meltzer, I concluded that my item was wrong, warranting the retraction and apology published in the previous item on this blog.

 

Irvin Muchnick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jerry McDevitt email to Irvin Muchnick, 6/18/09 2:54 p.m., "RE: Muchnick to McDevitt"

 

First of all, you have not quoted the entirety of the email I sent to you demonstrating the falsity and the reckless manner in which you published a defamatory statement about me. Previously, you put both of my communications on your blog without permission from me, and now appear more interested in making yourself and Mr. Meltzer look reasonable than correcting the damage you have done. So that your readers know why you are now removing the libel, you should publish the entirety of the email I sent you this morning.

 

Secondly, I am not particularly interested in reading your tribute to Dave Meltzer, whose sloppy reporting was your source for the defamatory statements made about me. The plain reality is you did nothing to confirm basic facts behind your defamatory statement that I had mislead you, as you now admit. You didn't even attempt to contact the Albany District Attorney, as you know admit, and didn't contact, or attempt to contact WWE to inquire as to when WWE got the list of names. And, it is now obvious that when you contacted Meltzer he had no source for the statement that we received the names at the Aug. 14th meeting. Rather than putting Meltzer over as an authoritative source, your retraction and apology should point out the simple truth that neither of you had any factual basis whatsoever for that statement rather than water down the retraction. This is not, as you would suggest, a matter of framing it as some dispute between Meltzer and I over the events in question. Meltzer had no clue-none-as to what was provided at the Aug 14th meeting. I had personal knowledge of what happened since I was there. His report, like yours, was simply false and had no basis in fact, period.

 

Thus, I suggest that you (1) publish my email entirely to you (2) include only Draft Item #1, modified to include the following sentences in the second paragraph after the single sentence you now have: "I based my accusation on nothing other than a prior written report of Dave Meltzer, which I did nothing to independently confirm as accurate. Upon receipt of Mr. McDevitt's email I contacted Mr. Meltzer and learned that he had no authority or factual basis to state that the WWE received the names of talent on Aug 14th or for the statement that the WWE waited sixteen days to act on such information. Thus, such statements were false when made originally, false when repeated by me, and my statement that Mr. McDevitt had mislead me was also therefore false." I do not agree that your Draft Item #2 should be published for the reasons stated above.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Irvin Muchnick email to Jerry McDevitt, 6/18/09 3:28 p.m., "RE: Muchnick to McDevitt"

 

* I have no problem with publishing your email of yesterday in its entirety.

 

* Even after your feedback, my retraction post reads fine to me -- simply stating that the item was wrong and I take responsibility for it personally and apologize for it. Meltzer has nothing to do with my own decision to publish the mistaken fact, and with my own need to correct it as promptly as possible. I am open to other possible edits that might make it satisfactory rom your perspective. Please let me know.

 

* The second draft post was shown to you in good faith, not with the idea that you could veto it. I didn't think it would be right not to tell you that I would proceed to explain. My more extended commentary, outside the four walls of the retraction, but it does not attempt to weasle out of or undermine the retraction, which is all that's germane.

 

* Under the same principle as the publication of your complete email of yesterday ("more is more"), I also am happy to publish subsequent to my second post an additional email by you including the text of your paragraph beginning "Secondly," as well as, perhaps, other general commentary about whatever you find unsatisfactory about me and my style of running corrections.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jerry McDevitt email to Irvin Muchnick, 6/18/09 4:05 p.m., "RE: Muchnick to McDevitt"

 

It was not my email of yesterday that you proposed to publish in less than complete fashion. It was the one this morning. As to the rest, you have my position on the adequacy of your purported retraction and what is needed here. I do not intend to comment further, and will do what is warranted when I see what you now do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Irv's twittering finally concludes:

Irvin Muchnick email to Jerry McDevitt, 6/18/09 4:33 p.m., "RE: Muchnick to McDevitt"

 

Yes, I did mean to say your email of this morning, not yesterday. I will shortly publish, in order and as three individual dedicated posts, your email this morning followed by the two earlier shown to you. THANKS FOR FOLLOWING THIS SERIES, WHICH NOW CONCLUDES. More info: http://muchnick.net/dvdinfo….

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

In the creepy story of the week, two weeks ago, on the Sweden version of WWE Vintage Collection, the commentator in that country brought up the name Tony Halme aka Ludwig Borga, and said that he was dead. The other announcer corrected him and said that Halme was alive and well.

Get Irv on phone, I smell a story.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...