ESPN report alleges Donald Trump offered money to deceased senator to stop ‘Spygate’ investigation

The son of the late US Senator Arlen Specter and a ghostwriter of the Pennsylvania lawmaker claims former President Donald Trump offered money to the Specter campaign in 2008 to stop its investigation into the Spygate scandal, according to an ESPN report.

Through spokespersons, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Trump have denied any efforts to affect Specter’s investigation.

“Mr. Kraft is not aware of any Trump involvement in this matter and he has not had any other engagement with Specter or his staff,” a Patriots spokesperson wrote to ESPN via email. Patriots spokesperson declined to make further comments to the Herald today.

“This is completely wrong,” Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told ESPN. “We have no idea what you are talking about.”

In 2008, Specter called an independent investigator to determine how many games the Patriots illegally filmed, how video recording of opposing coaches’ signals affected the integrity of their games, and why the NFL destroyed all evidence. after concluding his own investigation. . He was outraged by the way the league and the Patriots had “blocked” his own investigation.

Specter was a longtime league fan and critic and had previously threatened to introduce legislation 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 video recording ended after just four days, ESPN story states. Goodell fined the Patriots $ 250,000, coach Bill Belichick $ 500,000 and offered the franchise a first-round pick. Goodell did not reply to either of the two letters, according to ESPN.

Specter, then a senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, stepped up his pressure on the league. It was possible that players, coaches and officials would be subpoenaed. Patriots employees refused to speak to him.

In early 2008, ESPN reported that a friend of Patriots owner Robert Kraft called in: Donald Trump.

Trump had contributed to Specter’s campaign committees for decades, often donating the maximum amount, per ESPN. The story goes on to state that Specter and Trump were friends and had dinner in Palm Beach, Florida shortly before Trump’s call, saying, “If you fire the Patriots there would be a lot of money in Palm. Beach. ”

Shanin Specter, Arlen’s son and a Philadelphia lawyer, told ESPN he recalled speaking with his late father immediately after the call.

“My dad told me Trump was acting as a messenger for Kraft,” said Shanin Specter. “But I’m just as sure the reference to money in Palm Beach was campaign contributions, not money. The offer was Kraft assistance with campaign contributions. … My dad 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) would occur because he felt it amounted to solicitation of a bribe, even though the case law on this subject says it is not. . … He would tell me these things when they happened. We were very close.

Specter did not report Trump’s offer to Senate ethics officials after determining the offer did not constitute solicitation of a bribe, according to case law. Election experts told ESPN it would be difficult to pursue the offer as a bribe. A Republican election lawyer categorically said, “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 drop your investigation. . It’s a bribe.

The encounter is described in Specter’s 2012 book written by former communications assistant Charles Robbins, 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 insist. Robbins told ESPN. But in the end, it didn’t really matter, Robbins now says, “I was pretty darn sure the offer was made by Trump. At the time, it didn’t seem like such a big time. At the time, Trump was a real estate con artist and TV personality.

Senator Specter then met with Kraft in March 2010 to seek funds for his re-election campaign. According to ESPN, records show that neither Kraft nor the Kraft Group have ever donated to Specter’s campaign committees. Trump’s last donation was $ 1,300 in March 2008.

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