Check out the complete chronicles of the 1994 WWF Steroid Trial, as mentioned on the popular “Brother Love” Bruce Prichard podcast ‘Something to Wrestle’.
Here is the entire transcript!!!
Vince McMahon is scheduled to face three counts of steroid-related charges in Long Island, N.Y. at the U.S. Federal Court House of the Eastern District of New York on July 5 (United States of America vs. Titan Sports, Inc. & Vincent K. McMahon). Although WCW officials are hoping and others in the industry believe another delay or a plea bargain is possible, WWF attorney Jerry McDevitt tells us he expects the trial to take place as scheduled on July 5 and says a plea bargain won’t happen.
McDevitt summarized Titan’s view of what has happened since the indictments were originally served Nov. 18, 1994. The following are key excerpts of the letter:
McDevitt summarized Titan’s view of what has happened since the indictments were originally served Nov. 18, 1994. The following are key excerpts of the letter:
·On the government seeking forfeiture of Titan Towers: “On Mar. 4, 1994, we moved to dismiss the indictment in its entirety on various grounds. With respect to the forfeiture count, our moving papers demonstrated that Titan did not even own or occupy the corporate headquarters on Oct. 24, 1989 and could not, therefore, use it to facilitate anything. We also demonstrated that this fact was known to the prosecution when they included the forfeiture demand in the indictment since we had provided the deed to them a month before the indictment which showed on its face that the corporate headquarters had not been purchased until Apr. 5, 1990.
“On Mar. 30, 1994, shortly before its response to our motion was due, the prosecution obtained a superseding indictment which did not add any charges but which did drop the forfeiture count. By doing so, the government did not have to justify why it was included in the first place. The abandonment of the forfeiture count had nothing to do with the recent Supreme Court cases, as has been speculated. It was dropped because it had no factual basis in the first place, period.”
·On the governments two new counts added to the original indictment: “On Apr. 13, 1994, the prosecution obtained a second superseding indictment which attempted to add two more charges. The new Count IV sought to charge Titan alone with possessing steroids with the intent to distribute to Mr. McMahon on Apr. 13, 1989. The new Count V sought to charge Mr. McMahon and Titan with possession with intent to distribute steroids on Apr. 13, 1989 to a WWF performer.
“Following oral argument on Apr. 29, 1994, the Court took our motion under advisement. On May 12, 1994, the Court dismissed Counts II and IV which attempted to charge Titan with being a drug distributor because Mr. McMahon used steroids, finding that no crime had been charged. The court also expressly granted us leave to renew various motions prior to trial; ordered the government to particularize certain aspects of the charges; and to provide information to us which it was supposed to provide to us but had not.”
·Summarzing the WWF’s current view of the situation: “Thus, as matters now stand, one-half of the six charges made by the government have been dismissed already. The indictment now contains three counts, the original “conspiracy” charge and the charge that Mr. McMahon and, therefore, Titan possessed steroids with the intent to distribute to a WWF performer on Apr. 13, 1989 (Count V) and on Oct. 24, 1989 (Count III).” According to McDevitt, both counts allege distribution to the same WWF performer.
·On media coverage of the case: “As I am sure you would agree, my client is entitled to the presumption of innocence and I would hope that you would minimize any unfair and/or incorrect reporting which might interfere with that right until the evidence is presented, and confronted, in accordance with law.”
McDevitt says the original “conspiracy” count has been handled unfairly by the government in that they haven’t specified what event actually triggered a conspiracy between Titan and convicted steroid distributor Dr. George Zahorian in 1985. “You should be entitled to know what you’re being charged with so you can develop a defense,” says McDevitt.
The original indictment (Count I) does charge the WWF with “defraud(ing) the U.S., in particular the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) by impairing, impeding, and defeating its efforts to regulate and control the manufacture and distribution of steroids with the United States” and “misbranding of drugs… in that the drugs were prescription drugs distributed without a prescription.”
The trial of Vince McMahon is scheduled to begin July 5 in Uniondale, N.Y. McMahon, indicted last year by the U.S Justice Dept. on two counts of steroid distribution and one count of conspiracy to distribute steroids, faces up to eleven years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.
While no one can consider themselves an expert in predicting a likely outcome for this case since it is a precedent setting indictment, various observers predict the government will have a tougher time proving conspiracy charges against McMahon than possession.
Putting aside legalese terminology, the government is accusing McMahon of two offenses: (1) possessing with intent to distribute steroids to a WWF performer (believed to be Hulk Hogan) for non-medical purposes on two specific occasions and (2) trying to cover up and thus defraud the government’s attempts to regulate illegal use of steroids by WWF performers so the wrestlers could continue to use steroids and be bigger and thus sell more tickets.
The trial begins Tuesday morning with jury selection and is predicted to last around six weeks (based on the number of witnesses expected to be called by the prosecution and defense). The lengthy trial could be damaging to pro wrestling in several ways, including the Hulk Hogan testifying against his former boss, Vince McMahon.
With the trial being held in New York, the chances of the local media picking up on the story is great. The attention that is being paid to the trial of O.J. Simpson may be the major factor if this trial doesn’t receive significant national coverage.
WCW may have not done themselves any good with the recent string of publicity for Hulk Hogan, who may be the subject of tough cross-examination by WWF attorneys.
At the same time, WCW may have hurt the WWF. Had Hogan remained out of wrestling he might be considered “yesterday’s news” by the media and thus editors may have been more reluctant to cover this trial. Now that Hogan’s return to WCW has been the subject of national newspaper and TV stories, his appearance in court regarding steroids may seem more relevant or timely. That could lead to much greater publicity of what is sure to be a far from flattering portrayal of the wrestling industry – an industry with a bad image already.
The significance of Hogan testifying against McMahon is historically monumental given how they manipulated the media together in attempts to temper negative publicity over the last three years regarding the steroid use (among other allegations) in the WWF, not to mention how they created together and rode the wave of wrestling’s national coming out party in the mid-’80s.
In dealing with the media, Hogan has a history of, how shall we say, publicly using whatever version of the truth he perceives best suits his needs at the time. That policy could land him in jail for perjury later this month.
If there were a chance Hogan would, for old time’s sake, choose to tell a version of the truth in court that might help Vince McMahon, there is none now. First, Hogan signed with WCW. That creates an incentive for Hogan to do whatever he can to damage the competition, even if it means rekindling memories of his “past mistakes.” Second, the WWF aired nasty videos that grouped Hogan with dead and retired wrestlers. The only way McMahon may benefit from the above two situations is if as a result his lawyers can build a strong case that Hogan is not a credible witness due to conflicts of interest and a personal grudge.
Hogan doesn’t have as much to lose as Vince does, but bad publicity could hurt his marketability in future years. He does, however, have a signed multi-million dollar contract with WCW and will become richer this year no matter what. Vince may not only become less rich, but may be sent to prison.
ETTING: Uniondale, N.Y., Long Island Courthouse
JURISDICTION: Eastern District of N.Y.
DEFENDANT: Vincent K. McMahon
DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Jerry S. McDevitt (Titan Sports) and Laura Brevetti (McMahon)
PROSECUTION: United States of America
PROSECUTORS: Sean O’Shea (prosecutor) and Tony Valenti (lead investigator).
JUDGE: J. Mishler
Nov. 18, 1993 Vince McMahon, owner and promoter of Titan Sports, and Titan Sports were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on five counts of illegal activity related to anabolic steroids from 1985-1991. After changes in the indictment, there were three counts as of the start date of the trial.
COUNT ONE Count one, broken into four separate charges, alleges McMahon conspired to defraud the United States.
The four separate charges of count one, only one of which needs to be proven true for a conspiracy to be legally established, were as follows: (1) defrauding the FDA in its attempts to regulate steroids; (2) introducing into commerce steroids which were distributed in ways prescription drugs shouldn’t be; (3) causing steroids to be distributed in ways prescription drugs shouldn’t be; and (4) knowingly possessing (with intent to distribute) and distributing steroids for purposes other than treatment of disease in humans.
All of the above is essentially what Dr. George T. Zahorian III was convicted of doing in 1991, so count one charges Titan with doing nothing more than conspiring with (i.e. creating, aiding, or maintaining circumstances that allowed) Zahorian to act in those illegal ways for the company’s benefit, i.e. making it convenient for its wrestlers to get steroids, and thus get bigger, and thus sell more tickets.
The indictment spells out several ways Titan conspired with Zahorian which during the trial the prosecution had the burden of proving took place: McMahon and Titan attempted to evade detection of steroid transactions by using Titan resources to purchase bank checks which were then used to pay Zahorian for steroid shipments; between August and December 1989 Titan executives (Pat Patterson, Linda McMahon) instructed a Titan employee (Anita Scales) to hire Zahorian for its events after the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission no longer required his presence; after learning of the government’s investigation of Zahorian, one Titan executive (Mrs. McMahon) sent a memo to another Titan executive (Patterson) instructing him to make sure Zahorian was not at future events; Mr. McMahon and an executive (Patterson) discussed informing Zahorian he was under investigation; a Titan executive (Patterson) phoned Zahorian, instructed him to call back on a pay phone to avoid detection, and directed him to destroy records of Zahorian’s contact with WWF wrestlers and personnel; McMahon instructed WWF wrestlers to carry a prescription for their steroids at all times.
To justify the trial being held in the Eastern District of New York, the indictment states Zahorian purchased steroids from pharmaceutical companies in Westbury and Rockville Center, Long Island, N.Y. It also states steroids were delivered as part of the conspiracy to wrestlers who performed at various times at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale (across the street from the courthouse).
COUNTS TWO AND THREE The other two counts allege that McMahon and Titan possessed steroids with intent to distribute to Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan) on Apr. 13, 1989 and Oct. 24, 1989.
CHANGES Originally count two was broken into two separate counts, one aimed at Titan Sports and the other at McMahon, but it was ruled redundant since McMahon is sole owner of Titan Sports and thus they are one in the same. What is now count three was amended to the original indictment as counts four and five, but for the same reasons as above was combined into one count. There was an original fifth count that sought forfeiture of Titan Towers because funds from the conspiracy were said to have been used to purchase the building, but that count was dropped because Titan Towers was built after the time frame of the indictment.
JULY 5, 1994
Jury selection was delayed until the afternoon after a private session took place in the judge’s chambers where, among other things, Titan attempted to the get the case thrown out because of lack of jurisdiction (they had attempted that several times already).
At 2:07 p.m., jury selection began and by 5:30 p.m., 12 jurors had been randomly selected from a pool of approximately 100 potential jurors who were present. About 35 jurors were selected and eliminated from the jury for various biases or conflicts, such as having relatives who worked for the pharmaceutical company in question or saying that because wrestling matches are predetermined that would affect their judgement or that they were wrestling fans and didn’t want to see the WWF hurt. Judge Mishler asked if anyone had seen the feature about the trial that aired on ESPN the night before. After dismissing several jurors who thought that because wrestling is “fake,” that somehow this trial was, too, the judge said: “Do not question whether wrestling is sports or entertainment… It’s not whether wrestling is pure entertainment or sport. The only issue at stake is the case of distribution and to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the substance, not whether wrestling is phony or sports or entertainment.”
JULY 6, 1994
Judge Mishler opened by angrily telling Jerry McDevitt that “for the tenth time,” he refused to throw out the case based on the jurisdiction argument.
McDevitt then said he had a “brief statement” and argued that Dr. Wadler should not be allowed to testify for the prosecution as an expert witness because he also testified at the Zahorian trial and such exposure could taint his opinion on this case. The judge angrily interrupted McDevitt, saying, “I thought it was going to be a brief statement” and said he would take up that issue at a later time.
The jury was then let into the court room for the first time. Sean O’Shea made his opening statement, which set forth his outline for the next two weeks and established what he intended to prove. His statement to the jury was as follows (paraphrased, but true to content):
·(“) I am going to tell you the story of Anita Scales, who worked for Titan Sports. Wrestling is the primary business of Titan Sports, which is the largest wrestling company in the country. It promotes shows in the United States and across the world. Anita Scales was the director of compliance and regulations with Titan Sports and she was in a quandary. She heard about a doctor – Dr. Zahorian – selling wrestlers drugs. She heard he was “bad news” and “a real sleazy guy.”
She wanted to get rid of him and thought doing so would be easy since it’s her job. Zahorian, though, called her and told her Hershey is “my town” and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. So she approached Pat Patterson, the vice president of the company. He said “the boys want Zahorian.” She approached Jay Scarpa, known as Jay Strongbow, who was an executive with Titan. He told her “Zahorian has to be hired because the boys want their candies.” Two important people in the company knew the doctor was giving steroids to wrestling performers so she went to Linda McMahon, number two in the company. Linda listened and said, “Do what Pat tells you.”
Anita Scales was frustrated at being forced to hire a steroid dealer. After a couple of months, she received a phone call from Elizabeth DiFabio, executive assistant to Linda. DiFabio asked Scales to “get rid of Dr. Zahorian” and to make sure he wasn’t at the Dec. 26, 1989 Hershey, Pa. show.
She did not know that Zahorian had been illegally distributing steroids for years to wrestlers who took them to build muscles and that Vince McMahon aided and abetted his distribution and that when she tried to stop it, she was working against a conspiracy to illegally distribute to wrestlers. She did not know that after she had to hire him, she would be told to fire him because of a government investigation that had begun. Now the doctor had to be gotten rid of quickly because the government was about to catch Zahorian and McMahon red-handed. Titan denied involvement when Zahorian was convicted.
This case is about the dark, corrupt underbelly of Titan Sports which pumped up wrestlers for profit. It is about a conspiracy that began long before 1989 and long before Dr. Zahorian was convicted.
The story starts in the early 1980s. Zahorian was a backstage official at Pennsylvania towns – towns important to Titan because they were the cites of TV tapings. The WWF wrestlers were using steroids – illegal to get until prescribed by a doctor for a legitimate medical purpose, so they were difficult to obtain. In November of 1988 they became illegal to prescribe unless for treatment of disease. Zahorian distributed to wrestlers. He was a fan and he knew he was wrong. His practice grew, but he knew it was illegal. As his business grew, he began sending steroids to wrestlers via Federal Express all over the country. It was open and notorious within the WWF. Zahorian set up shop in locker rooms. He’d hand steroids out like Strongbow said, “like candy.” New wrestlers were told by agents “the doctor’s here, need a cash advance?” In other words, do you need money to buy steroids. So McMahon approved explicitly the distributing of these for years. McMahon even became a customer. McMahon bought steroids for Hulk Hogan.
Steroids became a way of life at Titan Sports such that Doug Sages, chief financial officer of Titan Sports, needed a quiet, safe way to buy steroids for Hogan – untraceable money. So he provided large amounts of money and Titan checks to buy bank checks to use to pay Zahorian for steroids that were later distributed to Hogan. It was virtually untraceable to Titan. So much was this the way of life at Titan that Emily Fineberg, Vince McMahon’s executive assistant, was to make sure Hogan got them. Vince McMahon urged and cajoled wrestlers to use steroids.
Dr. Zahorian was dropped like a hot plate because law enforcement was about to learn of this special relationship. But Patterson, Linda McMahon, and defendant Vince McMahon got together to cover their tracks. They had to warn Zahorian so Vince urged Pat to call Zahorian.
Patterson knew of phone taps by the government, so he told Zahorian “call me from a pay phone” to avoid police knowing. Patterson warned Zahorian of the investigation and told him to destroy records of the Titan-Zahorian relationship. A few months earlier this doctor was wanted so badly, but now he was told to stay away. It was a complete about-face.
It was not just Zahorian. They continued to conspire. McMahon ordered another wrestler to get on steroids – Rick Rude – who was off steroids because he wanted to have a baby. Rude got smaller, and that was not acceptable to McMahon, so he told Rude to “get back on the juice” or gas, as they called steroids.
McMahon didn’t say, after he learned of Zahorian, “We need to stop.” Instead, he suggested in a memo that wrestlers get prescriptions for steroids for medical injuries and carry the prescriptions with them.
(O’Shea then summarized count one – see “Background Review” for details – and moved on to explain counts two and three) We will focus on two of many distributions made by Mr. McMahon, two occasion in April and October of 1989 when McMahon distributed to Hulk Hogan.
We will convince you beyond a reasonable doubt the above is true. Witnesses, including Dr. Zahorian, will tell you what he did. He testified falsely at his own trial, so you’ll have to weigh his testimony carefully. He’ll say McMahon helped him over the years and that the majority of his customers were WWF wrestlers and that he got his steroids from a Long Island pharmaceutical company and that Patterson told him to destroy records. Hogan will tell you steroids were everywhere and all he had to do was call Emily Fineberg for steroids. He’ll say that Patterson warned him and said, “Stay away from Zahorian, things are hot.” Sages will testify that he was approached about getting quiet, untraceable money. Fineberg will testify she got checks from Sages and that steroids were a way of life in Titan and that she was instructed to destroy records. Patterson will be forced to admit he had full knowledge and requested Zahorian call him on a pay phone and he’ll say McMahon told him to do it. Gary Wadler, a foremost expert on steroids, will tell you what they are – a chemical derivative of testosterone.
We will offer documentary proof with memos, documents, and checks confirming a conspiracy and cover-up and telling wrestlers how to cover up. (“)……
At 9:40, after O’Shea concluded his opening remarks, a 15 minute sidebar (where the lawyers meet with the judge without the jury hearing the conversation) took place. The judge then ruled that the fact that Zahorian was convicted of a crime has nothing to do with this case and “cannot be considered.” Jerry McDevitt began his opening statement at 9:55.
·(“) We raised no objection during Mr. O’Shea’s opening statement. We want you to know everything he intends to prove to you. You have now heard everything. I have a lot of information Mr. O’Shea didn’t provide you.
(McDevitt then introduced Vince, Linda, and Laura Brevetti to the jury. He then explained the difference between the grand jury proceedings which led to the indictment and the current proceedings, stating that the defendant does not get to confront his accusers during the grand jury proceedings. He said there is no judge or media to make sure rules of evidence and fairness are followed.) It is filled with innuendo and is a totally one-sided proceeding. The prosecution decides who goes before a grand jury and decides what questions will and will not be asked. You the jury are the only protection against unjust prosecution.
You must presume innocence throughout the trial. You must decide not just whether a crime was committed but whether these people committed a crime. Zahorian is not here as a defendant. He is not charged with conspiracy.
This is our first chance to confront our accusers. Most people try to tell the truth, but honest differences of recall and outright lies take place. You will see all of that.
We are talking about events that began in a cow town in Pennsylvania 17 years ago when Jimmy Carter was president. Everybody called George Zahorian a doctor. My client is not a doctor. He is a layman. Layman don’t understand prescription drugs as well as doctors.
Steroids are not an illegal drug. It is a legal product produced by legal pharmaceutical companies. Did Mr. O’Shea tell you about steroids? I’m not here to advocate steroid use, but I also don’t want to be part of the hysteria. Let us give you factual information on why men take it. If you hear the evidence, you will understand the conspiracy did not make men take this drug. Steroid have been used to enhance athletic performance for decades. From 1985 to 1991 no law made it a crime to take steroids to build up muscles. O’Shea is talking about prescription drug law, which he did not tell you, which is the role Dr. Zahorian must play in this process.
(McDevitt then drew a flow chart on a large paper sheet showing the flow of regulation from the pharmaceutical companies to the FDA to wholesalers to pharmaceutical distributors to doctors to patients, saying that all of those steps exist to protect the consumer.) Wrestlers violated no laws.
The conspiracy charge says Zahorian was a drug dealer. From 1977 to June 1989 he functioned as a State Athletic Commission doctor. In June of 1989 Pennsylvania changed its law so that a state physician was no longer required to be present, so it was up to the promoter to decide on a doctor. Mr. O’Shea gave you the sizzle, but not the steak. Zahorian never appeared at a WWF card again after the law changed.
What did O’Shea emphasize? He talked about a cover-up, destroying records. Steroids are a stigma. Some think of taking steroids as cheating or that they corrupt athletics. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But, at all times pertinent to this case, it was not in violation of the law to use steroids. (McDevitt then points to the reporters in the court room and blames them for the hysteria about steroids.) Is there a steak here? Look to the cake, not the icing.
What is a conspiracy? If I’m charged with conspiring to murder, I know how to avoid crossing the line. If you have six people plotting in a room to rob a bank, that is a conspiracy. Did you hear anything like that? Neither did I. Zahorian didn’t speak to McMahon more than five minutes in his life. This man (points to Vince) is the busiest man in the building. He has a show to run, wrestlers to coordinate, people to work with.
Wrestlers took steroids because they wanted to be big and strong and enhance their performances. They’re gonna buy them and use them whether or not there is a conspiracy. Focus on this alleged conversation (McMahon and Zahorian had). What did they say? They only talked once in six years. Do you have a feel for the conversation. Were wrestlers taking steroids before the conversation. Evidence will show it wasn’t hard to fine steroids at this time, so there was no reason for a conspiracy.
You’ll also have to decide which time Zahorian perjured himself. Mr. O’Shea told you he is going to change his testimony. When O’Shea took Zahorian before the grand jury Zahorian had interest in getting out of jail; he wanted to see his family. O’Shea told Zahorian we want a case against “the target,” Vince McMahon.
That’s the only evidence of a conspiracy – one conversation. McMahon asked Zahorian if he sold steroids, Zahorian said yes. Zahorian, a doctor, then told a layman, Mr. McMahon, that it was better he sold wrestlers steroids than they get them from the black market. If you believe the conversation took place, do you believe McMahon should have said, “No, let the wrestlers go to the black market.” No one ever told Zahorian, “Don’t be a doctor, be a drug dealer.” Zahorian made money off of his steroid sales. Titan never shared in his profits.
Mr. McMahon admitted using steroids. He admitted it publicly. He said he experimented with the drug. He’s charged with possession with intent to distribute. Did he distribute drugs? Why isn’t he charged with distribution. On April 13, 1994, the government claimed McMahon obtained steroids with intent to distribute on April 13, 1989, which was the final day before the statue of limitations ran out – at which point, we wouldn’t have dignified a stale charge with court time. Steroids are $2.15 a bottle, so it was a $40 crime.
The evidence will show a reasonable doubt that ever happened, that Hogan didn’t need Zahorian to order steroids. After three summers of investigating Mr. McMahon, how many wrestlers did they find he distributed to? Why, no more than Hogan, his best friend then. Hogan was indeed the WWF’s success – a remarkable, charismatic character. He brought in crowds and flexed his muscles. They are criminalizing a friendship – two men who used steroids together.
We will give you a different view of the witnesses. Anita Scales is still a WWF employee. You will see she has a need to be right, to say, “I told you so.” She still has her job.
Wrestling is not an athletic contest, if that comes as any revelation. It is entertainment. Studio wrestling is what they used to call it. Today, many Titan Sports employees have good, high-paying jobs. Consider whether the wrestlers took steroids before and after working for the WWF. Are wrestlers mad that they are no longer with Titan. Are they people with axes to grind, or trying to get money. Dr. Wadler makes good money being a government witness by being a “foremost expert,” but does he really explain what the drug is and why it’s made?
I have to prove nothing to you. We will vigorously cross-examine the government’s case and find there is not proof of a conspiracy between McMahon and Titan. (“)……
Laura Brevetti, counsel to Vince McMahon, then took center stage and dazzled – if not at times intimidated – the jurors with her energy and charisma.
(“) A lot has been said and a lot has not been said. Nothing in that man’s (pointing to Vince) life is as important as what happens in this courtroom. What happens will alter his and his family’s life forever. (Brevetti then talked about the sanctity of the court room. She then said Zahorian never came into the Eastern District of New York to distribute.) You’ll have to judge memories of conversations of events and conversations four, six, ten years ago that took place not here, but in Pennsylvania and Stamford.
Before 1991, wrestlers and bodybuilders took steroids to enhance their physiques. If you take steorids, you’ll still have to work out and eat right. Workouts build bodies, not steroids. McMahon wanted wrestlers to be in shape because they wouldn’t become popular if they looked ordinary. Witnesses will say wrestlers were encouraged to be in shape and work out. Does that mean only what O’Shea said, that “in some words, he meant get on the gas.” Don’t let people get away with saying, “I understood him to say.” Ask them, instead, what did you see and what was told to you – only. (angrily) If they say they didn’t talk to Vince McMahon, then say THANK YOU, BUT YOU’RE NOT HELPING.
Wrestling is not a competitive sport. It has existed for dcades… My client was the first person to say, “It’s not real. We try to entertain audiences and I think we do a pretty good job.” Mr. Bollea said “Old wrestling was insulting people’s intelligence. Wrestling was going nowhere with beer drinking, cigar smoking fans. Wrestling is acting, charisma. Wrestlers are some of the greatest actors, entertainers, athletes in the world. That’s what made the WWF popular with the young, the old, families. If you don’t like wrestling, don’t take that out on him (Vince). All wrestling matches are scripted for TV. Who will win is sripted. How they win is scripted. There is still a debate today among fans – that’s part of the mystique that makes wrestling popular. Mystique doesn’t belong here, just the truth.
I wish we all had 20/20 hindsight. I wish we all had that so we wouldn’t make mistakes. Years ago, bodybuilders ate 12 raw eggs for protein. Kids were given eggs by parents to help them grow. We learned years later that eggs were bad for cholesterol and that they clotted our arteries. The act of using steroids was a personal choice. You will come to know my client is a very smart businessman. Mr. McMahon made a choice to take steroids, but didn’t know what we know today.
We are not Dr. Zahorian’s lawyers – THANK GOD! While he distributed steroids, athletic commissers were present. He has testified under oath he told key Pennsylvania State Athletic Commissioners, “I’m dispensing steroids to wrestlers” and nothing was done by the commission. (angrily) The Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission is not seated at my defense table!…
The government will bring you a learned expert saying Zahorian was not acting as a doctor. If that was supposed to be so clear to a layperson like my client, then why do they need an expert to testify to that fact. Zahorian says he didn’t know of the ’88 law change. The prosecution says Zahorian is a liar under oath. He’s not considered a liar now because he’s being used to prosecute Mr. McMahon…
Some of the prosecution’s witnesses were released a decade ago, some more recently. Some have recently worked or presently work for Titan’s prime and sole competitor – that is WCW owned by Ted Turner. You will hear that Mr. Bollea shortly after or before it came to be a possibility my clinet would be indicted began negotiating with WCW and just recently signed a multi-million dollar contract on TV. Others will try to shift the cloud of hysteria onto my client so they can continue to be stars in hollywood, on TV, and sign multi-million dollar contracts. You may learn of mistakes or foibles and I hope you put them in perspective.
Emily Fineberg left Titan in October or September of ’91 making $64,000 a year. Her husband worked for Titan at $130,000 a year. She was paid for a full year after she left and in October of ’92, when her severence pay ended, she marched over to the FBI and became an informant, a mole, to give them her version, her spin of events. She had no personal knowledge of events.
The stakes are high, the self-interest and motives will fill this courtroom. You can cut it with a knife. It’s not whether or not Zahorian should have dispensed steroids, but was there a meeting of the minds that Zahorian should not act as a doctor. What was left out was that Zahorian will testify he told Mr. McMahon, “I’m keeping them healthy.” Was that true? Only Zahorian knew. Suppose McMahon said, “As long as they’re healthy.” (Brevetti then questions Zahorian’s motives, bringing up his requests for work release.) Zahorian will tell you McMahon did not pay him to dispense steroids – he never got anything from McMahon. McMahon even had to pay for steroids he was getting from a Zahorian, his supposed “partner in crime.” McMahon even had to pay in advance. This is a partner in crime? This is a conspiracy (pause) – some partnership.
Watch out for sudden memories or late recall from those who hold a grudge or hold a personal interest in the outcome of this case.
No one was trying to hide anything from the government because that check is going to be presented in this courtroom. The check went into Zahorian’s bank account.
Can you think of another reason someone might not want someone to know they take steroids in a company that is like a small town? It’s the same reason someone might hide that they take Rogaine for bald spots. It’s called vanity. You need a crime before you can cover it up. This was a case of fear of bad publicity. Hulk Hogan will tell you. “I lied on national TV when I said I didn’t take steroids.” Did you misbrand drugs to defraud the FDA, or conspire with Zahorian? “No,” he’ll say, “I feared the publicity of it. My family would be hounded. My life would be ruined.”
(Brevetti closed by talking about patriotism and the Fourth of July and the jury’s obligation to presume he’s not guilty until they hear the evidence.) He has said, “I am not guilty and I want my day in court.” (“)……
Judge Mishler then told the jury that they should await his instructions on what is legal and what isn’t and if they are different from what the attorneys just told them, they must take his instructions, not theirs.
The rest of the day saw four former WWF wrestlers testify. The following are the main points made by each of them:
·Randy Colly (a/k/a Moondog Rex). During O’Shea’s direct questioning he said Dr. Zahorian was known as the guy you would buy steroids from. He said Zahorian checked blood pressure and then you could buy his drugs. He said he bought steroids with the cash advance he got earlier from WWF officials. He said Zahorian would ask him what he needed, he would tell him, and Zahorian would give the drugs to him. He said Zahorian didn’t take down medical history, ask about allergies, or administer blood tests. He said there was no follow-up. He said a line would form of wrestlers with money wanting to purchase steroids. He said road agents would tell wrestlers to see Dr. Zahorian “if you looked like you were worn out.” He said McMahon was in the proximity at times and that he saw Vince talk with Zahorian.
He said McMahon told his partner, Mr. Booker (Moondog Spot), in 1986 he wasn’t looking quite like the type of athlete he likes. Colly said he was taking steroids and McMahon didn’t complain about his look, but his partner only “played around, but wasn’t dedicated” to steroids. When O’Shea asked Colly what he believed McMahon to mean when he talked to his partner, the defense objected and the judge sustained. He said when Hershey was no longer frequented every three weeks by the WWF for TV and became merely a location for house shows, Zahorian would sell more steroids at one time so wrestlers had a longer supply. He said Zahorian would either fill a brown bag with drugs or send them via Federal Express.
On cross-examination by McDevitt, Colly said he used steroids once before meeting Zahorian. McDevitt asked him what his education level was and he said he didn’t finish high school. He said when he began buying steroids from Zahorian in 1979 or ’80, McMahon was just a ring announcer. He said he used steroids after leaving the WWF in 1980. He said he got steroids from Zahorian through the mail while in the NWA and from other suppliers at gyms. When McDevitt asked if Colly saw Zahorian as a doctor, Colly laughed and said no. “If I was really sick, I’d go find someone else.” McDevitt established that Colly was taken out of the Demolition tag team not because he wasn’t on steroids, but because the fans chanted “Moondog” at him the first two nights because they “recognized my nose.” He said he used steroids in WCW in 1987. He said Zahorian was in the locker room distributing steroids some times and other times was in a separate room. McDevitt held up a brown paper bag. Colly said Zahorian’s were bigger. McDevitt asked Colly if he knew the contents of the bag he was holding. Colly said no. McDevitt then established that Colly filed a civil lawsuit against Titan in December 1992. Colly said he once talked to McMahon while he had steroids in his hands. Brevetti established that Colly used Zahorian for help when he was suffering mental anguish by obtaining valium from Zahorian in 1987. He said neither McMahon nor WWF road agents told him to take steroids.
On cross-examination by Brevetti, Colly said he got advance money at all WWF events, around $100 or $200. Brevetti established that WWF wrestlers are independent contractors and thus paid their own rental car, food, and hotel expenses, thus had a need for cash advances. She established that Colly cited Zahorian was his physician in his civil suit against Titan for emotional distress, which contradicted his earlier testimony that he didn’t consider Zahorian his doctor.
On redirect from O’Shea, Colly said he suffered roid rage. “You become bitter, grouchy, anything will set you off. Without sleep, you feel you’re gonna explode, so Valium and Halcyons would help you calm down from that.”
Tom Zenk. During O’Shea’s direct, Zenk said he began using steroids in 1981 under a doctor’s supervision and that he used steroids long before going to the WWF. He said the first time he was in Hershey, road agent Jack Lanza asked if he wanted to see the doctor. “He said, ‘If you want anything, He’s got it,’ meaning drugs,” said Zenk. Zenk said Lanza also asked if he needed an advance. Zenk said he never actually bought steroids from Zahorian because he had his own doctor in Minneapolis whom he got them from. Zenk said there was once a complaint by a high school where a WWF show was held that needles were left lying around by wrestlers after the WWF event.
Zenk said he left the WWF on bad terms. He said he told Linda he wasn’t happy with the money, so on July 10, 1987 he just walked out on his contract. Zenk said when he was contacted by All Japan, Linda and Titan found out and wrote him demanding a percentage of his income because of their investment in him. Zenk said, “I told them I have the New York Times phone number in front of me. How would you like me to call them and tell them you sell your product of men on steroids to kids. She said, ‘I don’t think that would be a good idea.’ I took it as a threat.”
Zenk laughed when asked if he was subpoenaed to be a witness. “Yes, I was,” he said. (Zenk had to miss part of his Japan tour to be present and definately did not want to testify.)
On cross-examination by McDevitt, Zenk admitted he called the McMahon residence at 2 a.m. about three weeks earlier. McDevitt asked Zenk if he was on drugs at the time of the call. Zenk said no. Zenk said he asked Linda why they were still tormenting him after 7 years. McDevitt pointed out the irony of the phone call: “You called the McMahons even though the government subpoenaed you?” Zenk said that was correct. Zenk said he got in trouble for steroid possession while in WCW, but said it was only a first offense. Zenk said McMahon never asked him to take steroids.
On cross-examination by Brevetti, Zenk said he could buy steroids at gyms or from other physicians. He said he chose a physician to avoid the risk of fake steroids. Zenk said it was his personal, individual choice to take steroids. He said he never told McMahon he was on steroids. He said advances were available, not just at WWF events where Zahorian was. Zenk said taking steroids was like fertilizing a lawn and it gave him energy, a better physique, and a better recovery rate from injuries. He said he didn’t take steroids in WCW because they had a policy against it, but after his contract expired May 16, 1994, he began taking steroids again and as recently as three weeks ago.
Terry Szopinski (a/k/a The Warlord). On direct from O’Shea, Szopinski said he began taking steroids in 1986. He said he injected other wrestlers with steroids between 1987 and ’92 while in the WWF. He said he flushed needles down toilets. He said Bret Hart was known for putting drawings on blackboards in locker rooms and he often drew a wrestler leaning over with needles sticking out of his butt. He said road agents saw the drawings. He said Dr. Zahorian was known for distributing steroids. He said road agent Dave Hebner told him he could get steroids and pills from the doctor. He said he never bought steroids from Zahorian because his prices were too high. He said Zahorian didn’t take down any medical history or ask if he had any ailments. He said McMahon didn’t tell him not to use steroids until after the Zahorian trial.
On cross-examination by McDevitt, Szopinski said he weighed 195 pounds before taking steroids and now weighs 305. He said he used steroids in college obtained from gym people. He said Vince was never in the room where Zahorian set up shop. He said he was arrested in November 1992 for steroid possession in Eagan, Minn. and was put on 18-month probation. He said he has not used steroids since, although he also said he hasn’t lost weight. He said he never saw McMahon and Zahorian talk. He said he recently wrote a letter to McMahon asking for his job back.
On cross-examination from Brevetti, he said he feels healthy today. He said he was concerned about fake steroids and that’s why today he gets his steroids from doctors overseas. He said McMahon only attended TV tapings.
On redirect, O’Shea asked if any wrestlers were still on steroids after steroid testing began. Szopinski said Harvey Whippleman took a urine test for Sid Justice (Eudy) and was caught. (The judge later ruled the jury should disregard the Sid incident.)
Tully Blanchard. On direct from O’Shea, Blanchard said he took steroids before going to the WWF. He said he had a meeting with McMahon at McMahon’s pool while he was still with the NWA. He said the drug testing policy was discussed and that McMahon said cocaine were not acceptable, but steroids and other stuff was okay. Upon arriving in the WWF, he said Zahorian, after a short meeting, held up a white box, shook it, and told him he could have whatever he wanted. Blanchard said he heard about Zahorian years before joining the WWF.
On cross-examination by McDevitt, Blanchard said he did’t specifically remember the word “steroids” being used by McMahon when he talked about the drug policy. McDevitt said, “Taking steroids was a continuation of what you did before?” Blanchard said yes. Blanchard said steroid use in the NWA was “pretty close” to that in the WWF at the time. McDevitt tried to hurt Blanchard’s credibility as an ordained minister by making an issue of Blanchard having been ordained after less than a year of training.
On cross-examination by Brevetti, Blanchard said he wrestled for WCW two months ago.
JULY 7, 1994
The start time was delayed from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. because of O’Shea was ill. At 12:30, after a discussion over whether Dr. Wadler should be allowed to testify, the judge ruled he would be allowed. Dr. Zahorian then took the stand and remained on the stand, except for one brief interruption on Friday, through noon on Monday.
Dr. George Zahorian. On direct examination from O’Shea, Zahorian said no promises were made in exchange for his testimony. After going over his background, Zahorian said he sold anabolic steroids, Valium, Tylenol 3 and 4 and Halcyon to wrestlers from 1981-’82 to 1989. He said 98 yo 99 percent of his customers were WWF wrestlers. He said he got some of his steroids from the Rugby-Darby Pharmaceudical company in Long Island. All he had to do was send in his DEA license and apply the first time, and from then on could order anything he wanted via an 800 number. He said he gave wrestlers whatever they wanted, but rarely were WWF officials watching when he did so. He said state athletic commissioners were sometimes in the area. He said he was not acting properly as a physician. He said he did not do follow-up examinations. He said giving steroids to wrestlers was “against my ethics and I was wrong.” He said it was improper to let patients decide what they wanted. He said the cash and carry method was wrong. He said sending steroids via Federal Express was wrong. He admitted he let the customers decided what drugs he gave them.
He said he dispensed steroids to road agents, specifically Arnold Skaaland for his son George Skaaland in 1983-’84 and to Chief Jay Strongbow for his son. He said in 1985, Patterson asked if he was distributing cocaine or heroine to wrestlers. He said he told Patterson he was only giving them steroids, Valium, and Tylenol 3 and 4. He said he talked with Vince McMahon in Hershey, Pa. in early 1988. He said he was summoned by Patterson at the arena and that McMahon wanted to see him. “McMahon asked if I was giving the wrestlers steroids,” said Zahorian. “I said I was, but it was better they got pharmaceutical grade steroids than black market drugs from people they didn’t know. I told him if he wanted me to stop, I would, but that wrestlers might end up getting tainted drugs and they could get sick and die. He said, ‘Okay, don’t stop what you’re doing.”‘
He said he spoke with McMahon another time and McMahon suggested he send a cycle of anabolic steroids to his office in care of Emily Feinberg. He said he had four or five conversations with Feinberg related to McMahon’s steroids. He said he did not have a legitimate doctor-patient relationship with McMahon. He said Feinberg would tell him she wanted a certain amount of medicine and mention either Mr. Bollea or Mr. McMahon. “With her calls, amounts varied. Orders placed could have been 7 or 8 cycles sent to Titan Sports. Cycles could last six weeks to three months depending on how much the individual was taking.”
Zahorian said in 1989 when his presence was no longer mandatory at Hershey events, Patterson called him and said, “We’d like to see you at our events.” He said Skaaland also called him about staying behind the scenes. He said after the law changed, he showed up behind the scenes at a WWF card and it appeared to him Skaaland and Patterson were happy he was there.
He said later in 1989 he received a message to call Patterson. When he called Patterson back, Patterson told him to call back on a pay phone. “He told me there was an investigation going on that concerned Titan Sports.” Because of the investigation, he said Patterson told him he and McMahon wanted him to destroy all information of phone numbers and information on wrestlers. “He said it may be something minor, but I should be careful. He said after this was over we could meet and continue with our relationship.” Zahorian said he took all records for wrestlers and put them in a storage area in the basement of his office building and eventually brought them to his lawyer’s office for protective custody. O’Shea presented a blown up photo of Zahorian with Hogan and McMahon taken in Hershey.
On cross-examination from McDevitt, Zahorian said he didn’t perjure himself in front of the grand jury even though his story changed from his Apr. 8, 1993 appearance to his Apr. 15, 1993 appearance. He said he was scared on Apr. 8 and didn’t know why he was being questioned. By Apr. 15, he was able to think clearly. “It takes a certain amount of time and orientation to recall things.” The judge sternly interrupted McDevitt and instructed the jury that perjury is knowingly and intentionally making a false statement under oath. McDevitt established that Zahorian was granted immunity from prosecution as long as he didn’t lie or perjure himself. McDevitt established that Zahorian asked O’Shea to write a recommendation letter to a cadre work program in Philadelphia. O’Shea wrote a letter, but Zahorian was still not accepted.
McDevitt tried to establish that Zahorian was treated poorly before he gave his grand jury testimony and better after he told the government what they wanted to hear. McDevitt began fishing for signs of improper action by the government by questioning the prep work Zahorian engaged in with the government, but McDevitt came up empty.
McDevitt tried to characterize a portion of Zahorian’s grand jury testimony as perjury (he said never started anyone on steroids, but later realized Bill Dunn, who he sold steroids to, said he was going to distribute steroids to new people). As McDevitt pressed on, fishing for an indication the government warned Zahorian about his contradiction, the judge angrily interrupted and reiterated to the jury that a statement made under oath that is not knowingly and intentionally false is not perjury. Vince McMahon, looking on, appeared shocked at the vociferousness of the judge’s statement.
Zahorian said he received a call once from Hogan during the filming of “No Holds Barred” and he said Zeus needed three or four bottles of testosterone. “Hogan asked if I’d send the package to Vince.
JULY 8, 1994
McDevitt continued his questioning of Zahorian. Zahorian said he never split his profits with Titan and Titan never offered to split their profits with him. He said there was no way, without x-ray vision, that anyone could know for sure what was in the brown bags wrestlers carried out of his examination room in Hershey. He said in 1977 some wrestlers were already on steroids, such as Ken Patera, Ivan Putski, and Billy Graham. He said he is not responsible for knowing when a drug goes off the market. He said he was not aware of a package insert that stated steroids do not enhance athletic performance. When presented with the insert by McDevitt, he read it and said the statement was inconsistent with the effects of steroids. Zahorian said the alleged conspiracy begins when his trial’s evidence begins – in 1985. Zahorian said Gorilla Monsoon, Phil Zacko, and Vince McMahon Sr. – the three owners of Capital Sports (the predecessor of Titan Sports) – never asked him to sell steroids to wrestlers. He said it would be very difficult to pinpoint the contents of any particular FedEx package.
He said road agent Arnold Skaaland once called him and asked if he was coming and if he was going to bring his medication. McDevitt asked Zahorian if anyone from Titan Sports ever encouraged him to make wrestlers bigger than life so they’d have a better product to sell to the public. Zahorian said no. Zahorian said he once considered the wrestlers his patients, but after two years of incarceration, he realized they were not his patients. He said he sometimes instructed wrestlers on how to use steroids, other times he gave no instructions.
Zahorian said the 1 or 2 percent of his business that was not from WWF wrestlers was Brian Socia (football player), Bill Dunn (strength coach), and Kevin Sheehan (a correctional office). McDevitt pointed out that his 98 percent figure included wrestlers not in the WWF at the time of the shipments. Zahorian stood corrected and said that probably 85-90 percent of his business was to wrestlers who were wrestling for the WWF at the time. “You knew it was a lie when you told it, didn’t you,” pressed McDevitt. Zahorian said no. McDevitt tried to direct suspicious toward Zahorian’s wife getting $40,000 from the sale of his office building (implying it might have been a bonus for cooperating with the government), but apparently since his wife was not convicted of a crime, she owned half the building and was entitled to half of its sale price.
Zahorian said, while he was not hired after the commission law changed in July of ’89, he showed up at WWF events two more times, but they asked him not to show up at the Dec. ’89 event.
Zahorian’s testimony was interrupted briefly so Lance McGlaughlan, a Federal Express employee could take the stand. He testified to three things: weight is rounded up so a package weighing 1.3 pounds would actually be recorded as a 2 lb. package; that Titan’s account number could be used by anyone in the company, not just McMahon; and there is no indication of what the contents of FedEx packages are.
At 1:55 p.m., Zahorian returned to the stand. McDevitt established that the last time he sent Deca to Vince was in August of 1989. McDevitt then established that Zahorian, when the athletic commission no longer required his presence, did not go directly to Vince McMahon for a job (since Titan was now deciding who would be the physician present at matches), thus they must not have been good friends, much less co-conspirators.
“Did you ever sit around and plot and scheme to defraud the FDA,” asked McDevitt. Zahorian said no. McDevitt then read a list of wrestlers Zahorian said he did not distribute to, including Nikolai Volkoff, Ray Rougeau, Butch Miller, King Kong Bundy (who Zahorian said was a brittle diabetic), Sgt. Slaughter, George Steele, Bob Backlund, Tugboat, and Mike Rotunda.
Zahorian then talked about the time in Hershey he was pulled aside by Patterson and brought to another room to meet with him and McMahon. He couldn’t pinpoint which room in Hershey Arena they met in. He said they met for four to eight minutes. McDevitt then stressed that Zahorian told McMahon he was keeping wrestlers “more healthy” by providing them with genuine steroids. Zahorian reiterated that he told McMahon, “If you want me to stop, let me know and I’ll stop doing what I’m doing.” He added, “He (McMahon) then knew I was dispensing steroids, but I believe he knew that ahead of time.” McDevitt said, “You said you were dispensing steroids. Don’t you mean, as you testified in your trial, that you were acting as a physician and providing education on prescription drugs for grown men?” Zahorian responded, “I said that and I was wrong.”
McDevitt established that Zahorian was charged with crimes dating back no further than the Nov. 8, 1988 law change, yet McMahon is accused of a conspiracy dating back to 1985. Zahorian said after Patterson’s phone call warning him about the investigation he still sold steroids via mail, mentioning Dunn, B. Brian Blair, Eddie Gilbert, and others as customers.
During Brevetti’s cross-examination, she tried to establish that Zahorian’s memory got better between his Apr. 8 and Apr. 15 grand jury sessions because he learned what the investigation was about and what the prosecution wanted to hear. “You told McMahon if they took tainted steroids, they could die?” asked Brevetti. Zahorian said he wasn’t certain he used the word “die.”
Brevetti had Zahorian run down his medical background and tried to paint him as being an award winning, successful physician. Most of his recognition came from studies on premature ejaculation, which led to joking by observers and trial participants in the lobby after recessing for the day.
Zahorian said Randy Savage came to his office and purchased steroids. Brevetti asked Zahorian if the big photo of him, Hogan, and McMahon that the prosecution showed was taken at a time when there was a meeting of the minds concerning the alleged conspiracy. As Brevetti went over his treatment before, during, and after his grand jury testimony one more time, jurors, the judge, and even the court reporter yawned or dozed off.
JULY 11, 1994
Brevetti continued her questioning of Zahorian. She brought out a diagram of Hershey Arena and tried to get Zahorian to establish where the meeting with McMahon and Patterson took place. Brevetti tried to establish that Zahorian was acting as a physician by having him cite cases where he gave advice to Bundy and Gorilla Monsoon about their diabetes and to Skaaland about drinking too much. She had Zahorian cite a time he accompanied S.D. Jones to the hospital when his appendix ruptured. She also established that Zahorian tried to answer wrestlers’ medical questions and kept their conversations confidential, much like a personal physician would. Zahorian said he told some wrestlers about the medical pitfalls of steroids and that some listened and some didn’t care. He recounted a story of Andre the Giant showing up at his house for dinner and how his kids reacted when Andre showed up at their door.
Brevetti established that the contents of Zahorian’s FedEx shipments were not always steroids. He said he sent a FedEx package to the I.R.S. “You didn’t send the I.R.S. steroids, did you?” asked Brevetti. Zahorian said packages contained drugs other than steroids and sometimes just documentation.
Zahorian said he sold steroids to Hulk Hogan who wanted them for Zeus (essentially painted Hogan as a distributer) and Hogan paid for it with a personal check even though he said he was fairly certain he was told to address it to Vince at Titan Towers. Zahorian said he sent Gene Okerlund Rogaine. Zahorian said that when he spoke to Emily Feinberg it was concerning payment for McMahon’s steroids, not the actual ordering of them. He said more often than not he sent Hogan’s steroids to Titan Towers or to his home in Florida. Brevetti established McMahon never called Zahorian to order steroids. Brevetti established that Zahorian did not speak to McMahon via telephone or in person after his last official commission appearance.
On redirect from O’Shea, Zahorian said he was put on solitary confinement both before and after his grand jury testimony and while the conditions were not pleasant, it was for his own protection from other inmates. Zahorian said he was never told his conditions would change based on what he testified to. Zahorian said McMahon never complained about his actions. He also said he never discussed his awards or background with McMahon. Zahorian said while he didn’t know the contents of every FedEx package he sent, he has a particular recall that those sent to Emily Feinberg were steroids.
Rick Rood (a/k/a Rick Rude) testified next. He said he wrestled for the WWF from ’87 to ’90. Rude spoke in short, disjointed sentences and seemed to give as vague of answers as possible. He said, “I’d imagine a lot of people were on (steroids).” and “I’d hear guys now and then talk about steroids.” He said Zahorian was known for supplying steroids, sleeping pills, anti-biotics, and other drugs. He said, “(Road agents) would ask if anyone needed to see the doctor and if you needed a draw (a cash advance).”
Rude then told the story of how he was off steroids because he was trying to start a family with his wife and steroids tend to lower the user’s testosterone level. He said that McMahon commented to him at a TV taping that “I didn’t look good.” He said McMahon was happy with his wrestling and interviews, but not his look. “I told him I was trying to establish a family so I was not on anything. He told me to push myself. I understood that to mean I wasn’t taking anything (but should be).” “You mean steroids,” asked O’Shea. “Yes,” said Rude.”
On McDevitt’s cross-examination, McDevitt established that McMahon was concerned about Rude partying too much and warned him against smoking and that McMahon never told Rude to go to Zahorian for steroids. Rude said he wouldn’t have injected steroids around McMahon because it’s not something you’d want to do in front of the boss.
On Brevetti’s cross-examination, Rude said he used steroids in WCW over the last four years. He said he is getting his steroids from England and he doesn’t carry a prescription, but he takes steroids to relieve joint pain and build strength.
On redirect, O’Shea established that not only did Rude not inject steroids in front of McMahon, but rarely injected in front of anybody.
Kevin Wacholz (a/k/a Nailz, Kevin Kelly) testified next. Wacholz said he witnessed the 1988 conversation between McMahon and Rude because he was in Wisconsin for a tryout at the WWF’s TV tapings. Wacholz said McMahon questioned Rude’s size and Rude said he was working out as hard as he could, but he was off everything because he trying to start a family. Wacholz said, “The defendant told Rude that in the position he was in (main eventing against Ultimate Warrior at the time) that he needed him to be bigger. McMahon then suggested he go on the gas (slang for steroids). Rude then said he wasn’t interested in going on steroids at that time.”
Wacholz then testified that in January 1992 he met with McMahon alone in a camper trailer regarding his Convict gimmick which he was being hired to portray. He said J.J. Dillon and Pat Patterson saw him go in there. He said McMahon told him he needed to be as big as he can be. “I said I was already 300 pounds, but he told me I needed to be a lot bigger,” said Wacholz. “He said I needed to get on the gas. I told him I would not get on steroids to get the job. He told me, ‘Sometimes life isn’t fair. The ball’s in your court. Do what you have to.'”
On cross-examination by McDevitt, he readaloud Wacholz’s grand jury testimony of that very conversation, testimony that included details on that conversation, but Wacholz said nothing about McMahon asking him to take steroids, even though he was asked, “Do you recall anything else about that conversation?” and Wacholz said no. As McDevitt pressed Wacholtz on that omission, the judge interrupted and said, “The cross-examiner may confront witnesses and present questions and answers from grand jury testimony. You (the jury) decide whether the questions originally asked should have elicited the statement not made before.”
McDevitt asked Wacholz to describe his outfit. “Did it reveal your musculature?” “Yes it did.” Wacholz said he was hired, but he did not take steroids while in the WWF. He said his civil suit against Vince McMahon is still pending.
Laura Brevetti asked two questions of Wacholz. “Isn’t it a fact you have personal animosity against Vince McMahon?” Wacholz said, “No.” Brevetti asked, “Do you hate Vince McMahon..” Wacholz said, “Yes.”
Pat Patterson was announced as being the next witness. As Wacholz was leaving the court room, he laughed at the mention of Patterson’s name. At 4:38 p.m., Patterson took the stand.
Patterson said he has worked for the WWF continuously since 1979, which means he is either mistaken or he never truly resigned from the company in 1991 during the sexual misconduct media frenzy. He said he moved into the front office in 1985 and became a vice president in 1986. He said he earns $3,500 a week. O’Shea asked, “Is it fair to say you are the eyes and ears of the company?” Patterson responded, “I was concerned with the show being put on well.” O’Shea: “You would report on events and tell Mr. McMahon of important events?” Patterson: “Yes.” O’Shea: “You had more than a working relationship.” Patterson: “We have become friends.”
O’Shea: “When you were a road agent, you knew Zahorian was getting wrestlers steroids.” Patterson: “I heard rumors about it.” O’Shea: “Did you in fact know?” Patterson: “I heard rumors, yes.” O’Shea: “You saw wrestlers line-up to see Dr. Zahorian and come out with bags?” Patterson: “Yes.” O’Shea: “Is it fair to say wrestlers talked in the locker room about steroids, or the gas, or juice?” Patterson: “Yes.” O’Shea: “Did you use steroids yourself.” Patterson: “No.” O’Shea: “Did you ever hear the term ‘candy bag.’.” Patterson: “No.” O’Shea: “Did you ever complain to McMahon about Dr. Zahorian?” Patterson: “No.” O’Shea: “Did you discuss steroids with McMahon?” Patterson: “No.” O’Shea: “You knew what Zahorian was doing was wrong.” Patterson: “No.” O’Shea: “He once offered halcyon?” Patterson: “Yes.” O’Shea: “So you knew he was doing the same thing for wrestlers.” Patterson: “Yes, I heard he was giving pills to wrestlers.” O’Shea: “And you did nothing?” Patterson: “No sir.” O’Shea: “You told Zahorian you didn’t like what he was giving to wrestlers?” Patterson: “That’s true. He just told me he was helping them. I didn’t know what halcyon was.” O’Shea, in a quick and accusatory tone: “You didn’t know steroids were bad for the wrestlers?” Patterson: “Sometimes I heard they were bad and other times I heard it was okay if they were used right.”
O’Shea: “Did you talk to Zahorian about steroids being bad for wrestlers?” Patterson: “No. I was talking about the pills.” O’Shea: “You knew that pills included steroids.” Patterson: “No.” O’Shea: “You never heard about steroids.” Patterson: “We never talked about steroids.” O’Shea: “Didn’t you warn Dr. Zahorian about an investigation?” Patterson: “I just warned him.” O’Shea: “Did you warn him that the investigation was about steroids?” Patterson: “I didn’t know it was about steroids.”
In a humorous moment, O’Shea handed Zahorian a Titan internal memo dated 12/1/89 and asked him if it was confidential. Patterson said it wasn’t. O’Shea then asked Patterson to read the big word at the top of the page. Patterson, laughing, said, “Confidential.”
Patterson said he never saw the memo before. O’Shea asked him to read from it. The memo was from Linda McMahon informing Patterson that they learned of the Zahorian investigation from Jack Krill at a fund raiser. Krill mentioned it to someone because he had a conflict of interest he felt needed to be addressed.
O’Shea: “This memo tells you to warn Zahorian.” Patterson: “That’s what the letter says.” O’Shea: “You knew he was distributing steroids.” Patterson: “You knew before 1986 he was distributing steroids to wrestlers.” Patterson: Yeah, I heard.” O’Shea: “Starting in July of 1989, the athletic commission rules were changed and Dr. Zahorian was no longer required to be at Hershey?” Patterson: “I’m not sure.” O’Shea: “You could now hire any doctor.” Patterson: “I’m not sure.” O’Shea: “Didn’t you have a conversation with Anita Scales about this.” Patterson: “Yes.” O’Shea: “You also had a conversation with Zahorian about him wanting to remain the attending physician.” Patterson: “No sir.” O’Shea: “Isn’t it true Anita Scales wanted to get rid of Zahorian?” Patterson: “No.”
At this point, 5 p.m., the judge adjourned for the day. Outside the courtroom, Brevetti told reporters that a conspiracy cannot occur legally through mere acquiescence. “There must be a meeting of the minds,” she said.
Wacholz interviewed with WNBC. Wacholz told the reporter that Vince McMahon first approached him to use steroids in 1985. He said he told Vince he wasn’t interested in taking steroids. He said he wasn’t hired in 1985 because he wouldn’t take steroids. “In 1992, when he hired me, he made it a point for me to take steroids – me and everyone else who worked for him,” he said. Wacholz said McMahon wanted wrestlers on steroids to help his business no matter what it did to their health and body. “People know I don’t have an axe to grind,” he added.”
JULY 12, 1994
O’Shea began the day by reading a statement to the jury: Prior to the enactment of the new act, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission appointed doctors. In July of 1989, they required a physician be in attendance, but put the promotion in charge of hiring him from a commission approved list and then the promoter must pay him.
O’Shea then began addressing the attempts to keep Zahorian at WWF events after the July ’89 provision was enacted. Patterson said in December ’89 the inter-office memo from Linda McMahon was addressed to him, Titan’s senior vice president. Patterson said that was just a title. O’Shea established that at the time Linda was executive vice president and a level above him. Patterson said he first heard Zahorian was distributing steroids to wrestlers in 1986 or ’87 (contradicting his testimony the day before.) O’Shea pointed out that Zahorian said he had offered Patterson pills in early-’84. Patterson said it was ’84 or ’85.
O’Shea pointed out that the memo said Vince spoke to Linda about the investigation of Zahorian, stressing that Vince is the owner of the company. O’Shea restated that the WWF found out about the investigation, according to the memo, because Krill was representing the WWF when he heard about the investigation and thus warned the WWF not to continue working with Dr. Zahorian.
O’Shea challenged Patterson, saying he told Scales that the boys really wanted Dr. Zahorian to be their doctor. Patterson said no and O’Shea looked angry, one of the few times he showed emotion. Patterson then denied he spoke with Linda McMahon about keeping Zahorian aboard as the doctor, but eventually said he just “didn’t recall.” O’Shea pointed out the memo said that now that Zahorian is being investigation, it’s not a good idea to keep him around. Patterson first denied that Vince told him to warn Zahorian about the investigation, but then Patterson read the memo: “Vince agreed and would like me to call Zahorian and tell him not to come to any more of our events and clue him in on any action the justice department plans on taking.”
O’Shea: “Did you call him to warn him?” Patterson: “I called him to discuss it with him.” O’Shea: “Vince makes all the decisions in the company?” Patterson: “Yes.” O’Shea: “He’s not shy?” “No.” O’Shea: “He speaks his mind.” Patterson: “Yes.” He told you you should go ahead and make the call to Zahorian?” Patterson: “Yes.” O’Shea: “It was Mr. McMahon’s idea?” Patterson: “Yes.” O’Shea: “You say you didn’t learn of the investigation from Mr. McMahon. Who then?” Patterson: “From Linda.” O’Shea: “The executive vice president of the company at that time?” Patterson: “Yes.”
O’Shea: “How did you communicate with Zahorian?” Patterson: “I called him at the office.” O’Shea: “How many times did you call before he called you back?” Patterson: “Twice.” O’Shea: “What did you tell him when he called?” Patterson: “I told him to call me back on a pay phone.” O’Shea: “You didn’t want to be recorded?” Patterson: “Yes.” O’Shea: “In the grand jury you said you thought the call might be recorded by law enforcement officials?” Patterson: “Definitely. Yes.”
O’Shea: “Isn’t it true you told Zahorian he couldn’t come to WWF events?” Patterson: “No.” O’Shea: “Did you tell him to get rid of records.” Patterson: “I don’t recall.” O’Shea: “It could have happened?” Patterson: “It could have.” O’Shea: “Then you warned others?” Patterson: “The wrestlers.” O’Shea: “And agents?” Patterson: “Yes, I passed the word on to others.”
McDevitt then began his cross-examination. He spoke to Patterson about his background in wrestling, how he has been wrestling 37 years since he was 17 years old. Patterson said he didn’t speak English when he got into wrestling. McDevitt: “You don’t have medical training to recognize what a doctor should or shouldn’t do?” Patterson: “No.” McDevitt talked about Patterson’s early days with Capital Sports (the WWWF). Patterson said Vince McMahon was announcer then and was busy from start to finish at the tapings. Patterson, who tag teamed with Billy Graham, said he didn’t know anything about steroids in the ’70s. McDevitt: “Did using steroids in the ’70s carry the stigma they do today?” Patterson: “No.” McDevitt spoke more to Patterson about how busy McMahon was at TV tapings, the only time he and Zahorian could have crossed paths. McDevitt: “Have you ever met a man who works more hours than Vince McMahon? He works seven days a week from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to sleep?” Patterson: “True.” Patterson also agreed that Linda McMahon works as hard.
Patterson: “We used to get mad when people would say wrestling is fake. Vince said he was going to tell the truth and say wrestling is sports entertainment. It made wrestlers mad who were protective of what it was supposed to be.” McDevitt talked with Patterson about what made the WWF successful, trying to steer the image away from the muscular bodies being the primary factor. He mentioned character development and tie-ins with movies and television.
McDevitt then asked Patterson about what made Hulk Hogan successful, mentioning that his physique was only one element. Hogan also had charisma, interview ability, ability to work a crowd. McDevitt credited McMahon with creating the Hulk Hogan character. Patterson said Wrestlemania was the first time wrestling was seen on pay-per-view (which is not true). Patterson listed the celebrities who were involved.
McDevitt: “Did you understand it was unlawful for wrestlers to use steroids?” Patterson: “No.” McDevitt: “Has a wrestler ever been prosecuted for steroid use who bought them from Dr. Zahorian?” Patterson: “Don’t recall so.” McDevitt: “Did you order Anita Scales to hire Zahorian?” Patterson: “Absolutely not.” McDevitt: “Were you ever present for conversations Mr. McMahon had with Zahorian concerning his dispensing of steroids?” Patterson: “No.” (which contradicts Zahorian’s testimony that Patterson, McMahon, and he met at Hershey.) McDevitt: “Did you tell Zahorian he was under investigation?” Patterson: “I told him.” McDevitt: “Was your concern the reputation of the wrestlers?” Patterson: “Yes.”
Laura Brevetti then began her cross-examination. She repeated many areas McDevitt covered. She asked Patterson if Wacholz’s physique could be distinguished given his outfit and Patterson said no.
On redirect from O’Shea, he asked Patterson if he heard him right when he said it was the “late-’80s” when he heard about steroids. Patterson said it was. O’Shea pointed out sworn grand jury testimony where Patterson said he learned about steroids when he was a road agent, which was in ’85 or ’86. Patterson then said it was “more like the mid-’80s” when he learned about steroids.
·Anita Scales was next up. She is currently working for Titan Sports as the Director of Compliance and Regulations. She has worked for the WWF for eight years. She lumbered into the court room as if she had just been woken up and was being pushed from behind into the court room. She had long, dark hair, appeared to be in her mid-’30s, and gave the impression her appearance to others wasn’t a concern of hers. As she gave her testimony, she spoke methodically without much energy, but had a matter-of-fact, dry charisma to her that seemed to give her credibility with court room observers. She had a solid grasp of facts and dates and definitely came off as someone who paid attention to and remembered details. As Brevetti warned in her opening statement, Scales seemed to have a “need to be right.”
O’Shea began his direct questioning. Scales said she was in charge, among other things, of making sure Titan Sports complied with various state athletic commission regulations. She said she was informed of the change in commission rules around July 9, 1989. She then did research looking for information on specialties of a doctor that would be best for the requirements at WWF events. When she decided to go with a doctor other than Zahorian, Zahorian began to call her. “After he made a number of calls, I got irritated and began to document them. Aug. 7 Dr. Zahorian called and wanted the Hershey assignment. I said it was assigned. He said that Hershey was his town. I said it didn’t belong to anyone in particular… He said he would speak to someone else and go over my head. I said go ahead.”
O’Shea: “Did you speak to Pat Patterson?” Scales: “Yes. Around the end of August or September or October, he called and said he wanted Zahorian to work Hershey. I said that assignments were done. He said the boys wanted him. I said that was too bad.” O’Shea: “Did you get a call from Jay Scarpa (Strongbow)” Scales: “Yes. Shortly after Patterson called, he called and said he wanted Zahorian to work the Hershey shows. But this time, I was getting annoyed because I had received other calls from Zahorian at the office. I said no, but he said the boys need their candies. I said they can get their damn candies somewhere else. I told him (the new doctors) had already been hired through the end of the year.”
O’Shea: “Did you speak to anyone else?” Scales: “Yes. One I remember is Mel Phillips. I saw him in the hall and asked if Zahorian was doing inappropriate things in Hershey. He said he had a lot things he made available and that he was a very sleazy individual. He didn’t name any particular drugs. He just said he was sleazy… I also spoke to Bob Marella (Gorilla Monsoon) and told him I was being pressured to assign Zahorian to Hershey. He said Zahorian was sleazy and said there was no place in the business for someone of his type. I told him my situation and he said, ‘I guess, kid, you’re between a rock and a hard place.'”
O’Shea: “Did you speak to Tony Garea (another road agent)?” Scales: “Yes. It was quite similar to my call with Marella. He said Zahorian opened up shop. He said his bag was so heavy, he had to roll it in. I was left with the distinct impression Zahorian dealt in volume, not in samples.”
O’Shea: “Despite your efforts, you learned he appeared at Hershey anyway?” Scales: “After one of the shows – I don’t remember the date – I received a call from Rene Goulet, the secondary agent the night before in Hershey. He wondered why two doctors were at the show. He said Zahorian had been in the locker room.” O’Shea: “What did you do with respect to Zahorian still appearing at Hershey?” Scales: “I realized there was a powerlessness.” O’Shea: “Did you go directly to your supervisor?” Scales: “Yes. I went to see her because I was agitated. I did not go to see her often. But I believed it was my responsibility to assign doctors to Hershey… I told her I heard scurrilous things. She told me to do what Pat says… (after the meeting with Linda) I was ranting and raving in the office and said I refuse.” Scales said, without regret, she was well known for ranting and raving in the office. “That’s quite frequent with me,” she said. Scales said she and her assistant Margaret Sharkey wrote a letter to Zahorian telling him since he expressed interest in being the physician at the Dec. 26, 1989 event, let us know if he would attend. She said they worded it in a way to not be too inviting. The letter was dated Nov. 3.
She said Elizabeth DiFabio, executive assistant to Linda McMahon, called and asked if Zahorian would be scheduled for the Dec. 26 Hershey event. “She told me they no longer wanted Zahorian at the event. I said I would take care of it, so I went to Pat Patterson’s office. I didn’t have to tell him why I was there. He said he heard about Dr. Zahorian. I told him Zahorian said he wanted him there, but that I would get rid of him. I told Patterson to find his replacement.” O’Shea entered into evidence a letter from Scales to the athletic commission saying Dr. Zahorian was “no longer available” which Scales called a euphemism. “We made him not available,” she said.
During McDevitt’s cross examination, he asked Scales if she really sent that letter inviting Zahorian to return to Hershey. She said it went in the stack with all the other mail. McDevitt asked Scales if she ever got a call from Zahorian. She said she didn’t, but didn’t think anything of it because she was going on vacation and was backed up with a ton of other work. McDevitt established that when Zahorian told her on the phone he was going to go above her head, she didn’t know for sure if he actually did. McDevitt, after a half hour of dabbling in her previous testimony for inconsistencies (during which event the court reporter took brief naps), referred to her opinion of Dr. Zahorian being formed via a “little straw poll.” Scales said she went to people whose opinions she values, people who treated her decently and who she respected.
When Scales said Scarpa referred to “candies,” McDevitt said she didn’t know that to mean steroids. Scales responded, “I knew they weren’t Hershey Kisses,” which got a rise out of the court room.
Brevetti began her cross-examination by establishing that Scales never had verbal or written conversation with Mr. McMahon in 1989 nor any year prior. Brevetti: “Is there any question in your mind that if Vince McMahon wanted Dr. Zahorian at Hershey, he could have pushed a button and had him hired?” Scales: “I guess he could have.” Brevetti: “If he had, would you have hired him?” Scales:” “I would have.” Brevetti established that Scales was still working at Titan earning around $54,000 a year.
Brevetti: “You said the Zahorian matter was infinitesimal relative to your work load (and that’s why you didn’t take notice of him not responding to your letter inviting him to return after he had previously begged for the job).” Scales: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Do you think the matter may also have been infinitesimal to her (Linda), too?” Scales: “I guess.” Brevetti: “Did Linda McMahon show any particular knowledge or awareness of Dr. Zahorian?” Scales: “No.” Brevetti: “Pat asked you to hire Zahorian?” Scales: “Yes.” Brevetti: “And this sort of thing wasn’t Mrs. McMahon’s bailiwick?” Scales: “Yes.” Brevetti: “(So she simply directed you to follow the instructions of an experienced employee, Patterson, who was more familiar with the situation than she was)?” Scales: “You’re making it sound flippant and it wasn’t.”
Brevetti then pointed out a sign on the door of Scales’s and Sharkey’s office, which reads, “Beware of the women in this office.” Scales said it’s not exactly those words, meaning “b-tches” was the word instead of “women.” Brevetti then established that Scales had taken files out of Titan offices and gave them to the government in September of last year. Scales said she considered that her “insurance policy.” The tone and accusatory nature of Brevetti’s questions made it seem like Scales may not remain an employee of Titan sports for long.
On redirect, O’Shea asked a few questions and established that Zahorian was physically present at a WWF card after July 1989 when the commission rules changed.
·Jim Hellwig (a/k/a Ultimate Warrior) testified next. Warrior said he worked for the WWF from 1987 through Aug. ’91 and from Apr. ’92 to Nov. ’92. Hellwig said he used steroids (deca and testosterone) before joining the WWF.
O’Shea: “Did you see signs of others using steroids?” Hellwig: “I had been around long enough to see it and hear casual conversations. It wasn’t like a great silence fell across the room when someone talked of steroids.” Hellwig approximated 85-90 percent of the WWF wrestlers while he was there were on steroids.
About Dr. Zahorian, Hellwig said, “He’d take your blood pressure, check your eyes and ears, ask how you were doing, and then ask if there was anything you needed.” On McMahon asking about HGH, Hellwig said, “He asked me one time if I could get HGH. It’s a hormone, either synthetic or taken from cadavers from the pituitary gland. Warrior talked about an incident in February 1991 at Capital Center at the Marriot where he got in trouble for leaving steroids in his hotel room. He got a call at home in Dallas from McMahon who said a syringe and vile were found by the maid. Hellwig said at first he said someone else left it in his room, but as he had time to think about it, he admitted it was his. He said McMahon said things had heated up in regards to Dr. Zahorian and I should be careful, even though in my mind and other wrestlers’ minds we didn’t think they were illegal at the time. Hellwig said prior to that McMahon never told him not to take steroids.
On McDevitt’s cross-examination, he established that Warrior began using steroids in 1984, prior to joining the WWF. Hellwig said, “I didn’t think anyone would consciously take steroids if they thought they were pouring toxins or poisons into their body. Steroids were a small sacrifice I was going to make. I was willing to make that sacrifice to maintain that character for my career or bodybuilding.” Hellwig added that he justified using steroids because he ate right, kept in shape, didn’t smoke, and didn’t drink.
Hellwig said he never got steroids from Zahorian. He said he never saw steroids actually being taken or injected while in the WWF. Hellwig said McMahon never told him to take steroids, never told him he wanted him to be bigger than life, or hinted that he should take steroids. Warrior said he had a close relationship with McMahon as one of his inner-circle because he made it to the top. McDevitt said, “If he was going to tell anyone to take steroids, it would have been you?” Hellwig said, “Yes.” Warrior said he didn’t know when steroids became a controlled substance in 1991.
During Laura Brevetti’s cross-examination, she tried to establish that Warrior’s use of steroids was a personal choice and that he was successful only in part because of his physique – stressing he was the only wrestler to run to the ring (ignoring that The Road Warriors established that long before Hellwig) and his interviews, look, and rope-shaking were all popular characteristics of his.
Warrior said he was made aware through word of mouth when steroids became illegal to purchase and use for any reason other than the treatment of disease.
On redirect, O’Shea established that had Hellwig wanted steroids from Zahorian, he could have purchased them. He also established that McMahon was mad at Hellwig for leaving the steroids behind because he was caught, not because he was using them. O’Shea: “McMahon knew you were using steroids.” Hellwig: “Yes.”
·Margaret Sharkey (assistant to Anita Scales) testified next. She testified that Patterson called her and told her they were going to use Zahorian (after the commission rule changed) because the boys loved him and then essentially reiterated some of Scales’s testimony.
On cross-examination by McDevitt, he drew attention to Sharkey admitting she discussed the case with Scales and while Hellwig was testifying actually talked with him about questions she was asked while on the stand. McDevitt tried to establish suspicioun that the letter inviting Zahorian back wasn’t even sent, but was simply filed and labeled as having been sent by Scales and Sharkey. Sharkey said she was not expecting a call back from Zahorian because he would be more apt to call Patterson if he was accepting the offer. She said she was hoping he wasn’t going to show up. McDevitt asked if Scales embellishes sometimes and Sharkey said, “No, she’s pretty straight forward.” Sharkey contradicted Scales after a pretty clever set-up by McDevitt. He portrayed Scales as “ranting and raving” after meeting with Linda McMahon and made it seem those were his choice of words and that such action would be considered a negative reflection on the testimony she gave. Sharkey said Scales was very angry, but not ranting and raving.
JULY 13, 1994
Doug Sages was the first witness of the day. He is currently an executive vice president and chief financial officer with Titan Sports and has been since October 1985. Sages started out without much credibility as when he was asked if Terry Bollea was the top money-maker for Titan Sports, he said, “One of the top.”
Sages testified that McMahon told him to get money for steroids in a quiet way. In front of the grand jury, he used the word “untraceable,” but said that was his wording, not Vince’s. He said he told Vince a bank check is harder to trace than a personal check and makes the transaction unrelated to your name. He testified there were three transactions, May of ’88 (which he believed to be cash), June of ’88 (bank check), and October ’89 (bank check).
O’Shea: “McMahon told you he wanted to buy steroids for himself and Hogan?” Sages: “In substance.” Sages agreed that according to documentary, Feinberg asked him to draft a bank check again in June of ’88 for payment to Dr. Zahorian. He said he assumes it was for steroids. He said he marked the outflow as medical expenses.
O’Shea pressed Sages for financial figures for Titan Sports. Sages said profits have been several million per year from 1985 to ’89, but not more than $100,000 million during those years. He said the highest net income before taxes in one year was $6 million.
On McDevitt’s cross examination, Sages said he didn’t know for sure steroids were purchased with those checks. He said the total of the two bank checks was $1,180 and there is no record of the cash expenditure. McDevitt established that McMahon used Titan funds for his personal steroids because Titan is incorporated under sub chapter S, meaning he has to pay taxes on company earnings before he takes out his personal income, and then has to pay taxes on his income. By purchasing steroids from Titan funds, he didn’t have to pay personal taxes on that money. Sages also said the I.R.S. has audited the WWF the six years leading to 1991 and that the I.R.S. “looked at documentation and did not raise any challenges” concerning Titan classifying its wrestlers under contract as “independent contractors.”
In detailing the May ’88 cash transaction, he said he asked Vince what the money was for and he told him steroids. He told him steroids were lawful for his personal use. He concluded by saying no one asked him to destroy records related to Dr. Zahorian.
Brevetti cross-examined Sages. Sages said Feinberg did not tell him the $650 check was for steroids. He said McMahon’s philosophy on accounting is “to do it right and take the proper approach.”
On O’Shea’s redirect, he asked Sages if McMahon said the May ’88 steroid purchase was for personal use. Sages said it was. O’Shea: “But he said they were for him and Mr. Bollea?” Sages: “Yes.” O’Shea: “Mr. Bollea is a different person?” Sages: “Yes.” O’Shea: “Thank you.”
At this point, three key witnesses remained – perhaps the most important three for the government’s case against Vince McMahon. First, Emily Feinberg, McMahon’s personal secretary, then Terry Bollea, and then Dr. Gary Wadler, who would testify as an expert witness that there was not a legitimate doctor-patient relationship between Zahorian and the wrestlers, thus making all distribution illegal from ’85-’91.
·Emily Feinberg took the stand at 10:35 a.m. and finished at just past 5 p.m. O’Shea’s direct questioning began with the basics. Feinberg said she had a professional relationship with McMahon and they were friends. She worked for Titan from July ’87 to Sept. ’91 with her first year being spent as secretary to Dick Glover and the rest as executive assistant to Vince McMahon. O’Shea entered into evidence four steno notebooks. Feinberg said McMahon gave her a list of things to do each day and she would date each page. Feinberg said she had responsibilities when it came to drug testing and said wrestlers needed to take drugs to take life on the road, control roid rages, and do their jobs. The judge instructed the jury, “Titan was not required to give these tests or reveal the results.” Feinberg said she heard of wrestlers tearing up hotel rooms while in Europe, either due to cocaine or roid rages. She said she talked to Patterson about the roid rages.
Feinberg said Hogan was the number one money-maker, the number one star, the most important wrestler in the company. She said he had complete special treatment. “He was treated with kid gloves,” she said. “We were scared to bother him. He was always driven in a limousine, he had bodyguards, he had planes chartered to get back with his family.
She said she first learned of steroids when she began working for Vince. She said slang for steroids was “gas” and “juice” and slang for needles was “riggs.” She said usually Vince used those terms, but Patterson did also. She said Patterson was one of her husband’s closest friends and Patterson came over to their house for family picnics. She said Patterson knew and used slang terms for steroids (something Patterson denied in his testimony).
She said in June of ’88 Vince called her and asked her to send a check to Zahorian, but to make sure it wasn’t a company check. He gave me money and wanted me to call Zahorian to check for a dollar amount. Then I went to Benny (Morales, Titan account supervisor) for (untraceable checks.)
After a sidebar, Brevetti was allowed to question Feinberg about the stenopads before they were admitted into evidence. Brevetti established that the books were meant mainly for her eyes and that she would occasionally put personal notes in them. She established that Feinberg had them in her personal possession 12-18 months before giving them to the government. Brevetti then tried to establish that pages might have been ripped out and there would be no way to tell unless one counted the pages and the judge got angry at Brevetti for her approach. The notebooks were then entered into evidence.
Feinberg testified that McMahon wanted her to buy a new small refrigerator to store cold sodas in his office. She did so, but later found vials stored in there which required refrigeration.
She testified that she was asked to provide steroids to Hulk Hogan. “A shipment arrived from Zahorian. He (McMahon) dumped the package on his desk, separated some of them, and asked me to get them to the driver who would give them to Hulk at a local building – MSG, the Meadowlands, or Nassau Coliseum. She said this occurred more than once. She said steroids were delivered to Hogan via the driver or Federal Express. She said she didn’t have first-hand knowledge of Hogan picking them up in the office. She did say Vince was not secretive of this activity. She said Vince began using steroids with Hogan when Vince was producing the movie “No Holds Barred” in Atlanta. She said Vince said he started using steroids with Hogan that summer (’88).
O’Shea then pointed to several entries in her notebooks and asked her to explain them. First, a Dec. 7, 1988 entry “needles and stuff.” Feinberg: “That means Vince needed more needles and steroids. ‘Stuff’ was my indication for steroids.” A Dec. 20, 1988 entry “B12 and Riggs.” Feinberg: “That meant Vince wanted more B12 and more steroids and needles.” Ditto for Dec. 29. A Dec. 30 entry “riggs at TV?” Feinberg: “That was a reminder for me to see whether Vince wanted me to get him an envelope. He was one day on, two days off and he needed a package if he was going to be away at TV. A Mar. 20, 1989 entry “Get Hulk stuff.” Feinberg: “Get Hulk steroids.” An Apr. 10, 1989 entry said “riggs” again. An Apr. 11, 1989 entry “call Hulk riggs.” Feinberg: “Call to see if he needed steroids.” An Oct. 11, 1989 entry: “Zahorian 1 1/2 inch riggs, deca, 4 bottles HCG personal.” Feinberg: “Vince wanted me to order a certain gauge and more steroids and four bottles of HCG because often when you take steroids for a while your testicles shrink and need HCG to get back to regular size.”
She said that later in 1989, McMahon told her that he and Linda heard of a dinner party tip-off that there was an ongoing investigation of Zahorian, so he said to get the word out to the boys not to use Zahorian anymore. She said Jan. 25 entry “check FedEx, roids” meant Vince wanted her to check FedEx records for Zahorian-Titan transactions.
O’Shea then had her read a letter dated Jan. 25, 1991 sent to all wrestlers stating that if they use steroids to overcome an injury, they are responsible for carrying a prescription at all times and to please see information on steroid laws in the United States and Canada. She said that memo was typed the same day she was asked to destroy records. A Jan. 28, 1991 entry said “check roids correspondence” which she said indicated McMahon didn’t want anything in his office related to Zahorian. She said McMahon was angry at some wrestlers for continuing to use Zahorian for FedEx shipments of steroids.
She said as part of the office-evacuation of Zahorian-related material, Vince asked her to take an envelope of steroids home with me. Eventually, I threw them away. She said much later she went through the chest and found buried under her ski clothes (where she originally hid the envelope) a vial of steroids. She said she turned that over to the government, which the government found contained Deca.
McDevitt began cross-examination by establishing she began talking to the government in Nov. ’92, which was within a few weeks of her 52 weeks of severence pay from Titan expiring. She said she had met with the government five times and had 15 phone calls with them. She said while she was seeking out the government, the government was seeking her out. She said she met with O’Shea the previous morning for about 40 minutes talking about general subjects.
McDevitt established that McMahon started using steroids while with Hogan was in Atlanta in 1989, that Feinberg never ordered steroids from Zahorian, and that she didn’t know what the contents of the packages were that were to be sent to Hogan at MSG, Nassau, or the Meadowlands or even if they were delivered.
She said she never called Zahorian to order steroids except for once (10-24-89) when she ordered deca. McDevitt: “Did you tell prosecutors you ordered for Hulk Hogan and Vince was just paying.” Feinberg: “Maybe. There were times I called Zahorian for prices without having placed an order.” She said she destroyed drug testing summaries for Vince when things got hot early in ’91.
Brevetti began by asking Feinberg if she had been paid to be an actress in the past. Feinberg said no, but she had been paid to model. Brevetti asked if she had been handed a script by a producer to read from in the filming of a video. Feinberg said no. Brevetti continued to refer vaguely to a video that appeared on cable. The questioning didn’t seem to end up anywhere.
Brevetti then asked if Feinberg was wearing attire typical of her style while at Titan. Feinberg said it was and that the outfit she was wearing she wore while working for Titan.
Brevetti established Vince told Feinberg that Hogan taught him about steroids while in Atlanta. Feinberg said McMahon never asked her to order steroids for any other wrestler. She said she never heard McMahon encourage another wrestler to use steroids. She said the last time she saw Vince’s driver, Jim Stuart, was in May of ’91 and that about four months ago she spoke with Stuart on the phone when he by chance answered her call to a limo service. Brevetti said, “So he was alive as of then.” (No one seemed to know what that meant.)
Brevetti established that Feinberg believed McMahon was concerned about bad publicity when news of the Zahorian investigation reached Titan and she had no knowledge of McMahon wanting to cover up a crime by destroying records. Brevetti: “Is it fair to say during the Zahorian investigation, the media attention was intense?” Feinberg: “Yes.” (This was during the time the WWF received its first bad press as a result of its Gulf War angle with Sgt. Slaughter and Hulk Hogan.)
She said that, before helping Vince draft the memo where he advised wrestlers to carry prescriptions with them when they carried steroids. she believed steroids were legal “in some respects.” Brevetti tried to establish the memo as McMahon alerting the wrestlers to a change in the law.
Brevetti began trying to establish McMahon’s whereabouts on certain dates. During the questioning, Brevetti said McMahon got a haircut once every ten days. Brevetti began to delve into Feinberg’s schedule, asking “Were you in L.A. in April of ’89 with Vince McMahon?” Feinberg said, “No.” At this point, Linda McMahon began crying (although it was not obvious to anyone not looking at her because she didn’t make a spectacle out of it and wasn’t necessarily clear why she began crying) and Vince looked at her with a concerned, caring expression. Brevetti then pinpointed that Feinberg filmed a promotional video on Apr. 21-24, 1989 in California.
Feinberg talked about Hogan requesting charter planes: “There were times when Vince was generous with Hogan and other times it seemed like Hulk should pay himself. He was always asking to have his flights paid for.”
A good 15 minutes after she first began crying, Linda was still welled up and McMahon continued to look at her with what appeared to be an apologetic smile, asking for reassuring eye contact, as Brevetti went over some dates in Feinberg’s book where she had no notes concerning Vince’s whereabouts. A few minutes later during a sidebar, Vince walked over to Linda, sighed, and talked with her. He returned to his seat after the sidebar with a very distressful look on his face.
Brevetti then established that Feinberg’s husband worked at Titan and earned $130,000 a year while she earned $63,000. Brevetti established that Feinberg and her husband attempted to receive payments beyond Oct. ’92 before going to the government. Brevetti established that by testifying, Feinberg and her husband were granted immunity for any statements made. Feinberg said neither she nor her husband have plans to write a book.
By the time Brevetti concluded her cross-examination, a lot had been alluded to, but it seemed nothing was outright said that the jury could consider imperative to deciding the case.
On redirect, O’Shea established that Feinberg didn’t write down every steroid purchase in her notebook. He also established that McMahon was using steroids to build his physique, not repair injuries.
JULY 14, 1994
Detective Gregory S. Taylor from the Lower Paxton Police Dept. in Harrisburg, Pa. was the first witness of the day. He spoke about William Dunn being an informant for the FBI, FDA, and Va. State Police who were investigating Zahorian. He established that the lot number of the steroid vial that Emily Feinberg found in her storage chest matched steroids purchased by the government through Dunn from Zahorian on Oct. 18, 1989. McDevitt questioned him briefly.
Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan) testified next. He entered through a side door rather than the public entrance of the court room where every other witness entered. Bollea was dressed in a dark navy blue suit and a red tie with his long blond hair neatly combed to his shoulders. He spoke in a soft, polite voice. Not once did he make eye contact with McMahon. McMahon not once looked directly at Bollea.
O’Shea conceded up front that Bollea was promised he would not be prosecuted for statements made in court. Bollea ran down his background in wrestling, including that he first wrestled for Capital Sports in 1978 and returned in 1983. Hogan said he began using steroids in the middle of 1976. He said he used injectable and orals including dianabol, winstrol, anavar, testosterone, and deca. He said he used deca the most. He said steroid use was fairly common in the WWF upon his 1983 return. He said he saw steroids used in locker rooms and said “Yes sir” when asked if he used steroids in the locker room himself. Bollea said Dr. Zahorian was known for steroids, sleeping pills, and other drugs. He said when wrestlers came to TV, “he’d check your pulse, all the standard things, then ask if you needed anything.” He said Zahorian neither asked for medical history nor did lab work. O’Shea: “He’d give you anything you asked for?” Bollea: “Yes.” O’Shea: “Who decided what you got – him or you?” Bollea: “You.” Bollea said Zahorian brought with him his medical bag and two tackle boxes with drugs. Bollea said McMahon was sometimes in the area when Zahorian was there. Bollea said he didn’t remember McMahon using slang terms like gas and juice.
O’Shea: “Did McMahon order steroids from Zahorian?” Bollea: “Yes. We discussed ordering steroids together in Atlanta.” O’Shea: “Were steroids new to him?” Bollea: “As far as subject matter, he knew what they were.” O’Shea: “Did you ask Emily Feinberg to order steroids for you.” Bollea: “I’d call Emily Feinberg and ask her to place orders for drugs from Zahorian.” O’Shea: “How many times?” Bollea: “Ten or less.” O’Shea: “How would you get them?” Bollea: “I’d go by the office with my normal routine. I’d pick up my paycheck, my pictures, and fan mail.” O’Shea: “One of those (things you picked up) was steroids?” Bollea: “Yes sir.” O’Shea: “Who paid Emily Feinberg for the steroids?” Bollea: “Mostly I’d pay with a check or cash.” O’Shea: “Did the company pay for them?” Bollea: “There were times I’d get them without paying as a payback since I had given Vince steroids.”
O’Shea: “How often were you using steroids as Hulk Hogan in the WWF?” Bollea: “It was very common. At the time, all wrestlers were using it and I had a prescription for it.” O’Shea: “Is it fair to say it was like writing a check for car insurance?” Bollea: “It was more frequent.” Bollea said he learned Zahorian was in trouble from Patterson. Bollea: “He said Zahorian was under investigation and not to call him or use him.” O’Shea: “Did he say not to use steroids.” Bollea: “No.” O’Shea: “Did you talk to McMahon about Zahorian?” Bollea: “He said don’t call or use him.”
O’Shea then presented a document to Bollea and asked him if that was his signature at the bottom of the page. Bollea said no. A sidebar was called during which Hogan looked around nervously, very alone, very sad. He didn’t look the direction of McMahon. After the sidebar, the document was not brought up again. (It is believed to have been the document regarding an H.I.V. blood test taken for Bollea by Howard Finkle in Oregon.)
It was announced to one of the jurors that his wife was locked out of the house and she needed his key. Everyone in the court room laughed – even the judge – except for Hogan, who remained uptight and uncomfortable.
Hogan said he used steroids while on the road to heal injuries, keep on going, give you an edge for going many days in a row, and for bodybuilding. O’Shea: “Why did you first use them in the gym?” Bollea: “To gain weight, get bigger.”
McDevitt did not question Bollea, apparently because he at one time represented Bollea. Brevetti cross-examined Bollea for about two hours. Bollea said his youngest child’s birthdate is July 27, 1990. Brevetti: “In ’89, you and your wife decided you would take no drugs prior to conceiving?” Bollea: “We decided to wind down and come off of them.” Brevetti: “Did you use drugs after October 1989?” Bollea: “My wife and I had a big argument over whether or not I was on drugs when I got her pregnant.”
Brevetti then focused on April ’89 after Wrestlemania V whether Bollea had any recollection of Jim Stuart delivering steroids from Titan to an arena in the New York area. Bollea said he did not. Brevetti: “Is it fair to say that any orders were placed to Dr. Zahorian from you for your personal use.” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “You were not in the business of distributing steroids?” Bollea: “No.” Brevetti: “It was only personal use?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Did you believe steroid use to be legal.” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Besides Zahorian, you had other doctors from ’85 to ’89 to get steroids from?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “You tried to get steroids in a legal manner?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “It was because of the quality of steroids you preferred to buy steroids from doctors?”‘ Bollea: “That’s fair.” Brevetti: “One concern was getting fake or bad steroids?” Bollea: “Yes. Correct.”
Brevetti: “If you were to look back, you did not have the knowledge about steroids and what their effects are in the ’80s compared to now, 1994?” Bollea: “That’s very fair.” Brevetti: “Had more information been given to you, you wouldn’t have used them?” Bollea: “That might have been the case.” Brevetti: “Using steroids was common among athletes and other professionals?” Bollea: “From my knowledge, that would be a very fair assumption.”
Brevetti tried to establish that Bollea used a private locker room and was a private individual while in the WWF, but Bollea said he had his own locker room but didn’t necessarily use it and wasn’t all that private. (Bollea was known for being “one of the boys” in the locker room and was popular for not being stuck up, despite his star-status and preferential treatment.)
Hogan said the photo of him with Dr. Zahorian and Vince McMahon was not at a time they had a discussion about steroids. Brevetti: “You have no recollection of conversations on steroids with McMahon or Zahorian in a room?” Bollea: “No. Not in a room.” Brevetti: “McMahon never ordered you to take steroids?” Bollea: “He never ordered or directed me to take steroids.” Brevetti: “Taking steroids was your own personal choice?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Other wrestlers’ decision to take steroids was also a personal choice?” Bollea: “From my knowledge, yes.”
Brevetti: “Did you ever see McMahon tell a wrestler to take steroids?” Bollea: “No.” Brevetti: “Advances were given by agents to wrestlers everywhere?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “The money was deducted from the wrestlers performance fee; it wasn’t extra money?” Bollea: “Correct.” Brevetti: “Did you ever hear in your course of time any agents say, ‘The Doctor’s here, anyone want an advance?'” Bollea: “No. They just asked if they needed an advance.”
Brevetti: “Have you heard of the slang term riggs?” Bollea: “Yes. It’s a slang term for needles.” Brevetti: “It’s not known commonly as ‘steroids and needles.'” Bollea: “No. Riggs are needles.” Brevetti: “Have you heard of roid rage?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Is it fair to say in your 12-13 years using steroids, you never experienced roid rage.” Bollea: “No, I didn’t.” Brevetti: “You knew McMahon to be using steroids. Did you see him have a change of personality or roid rage?” Bollea: “Never.” Brevetti: “Wrestlers are by nature more aggressive?” Bollea: “When performing.” Brevetti: “But being on the road night after night, wrestlers are boisterous.” Bollea: “Not all of them.” Brevetti: “Some got in trouble when they partied?” Bollea: “Some.” Brevetti: “Would you connect steroid use to boisterousness at a bar?” Bollea: “No.”
Brevetti: “The term ‘larger than life” isn’t a code word for building muscles larger than normal.” Bollea: “Correct.” Brevetti: “In order to create public appeal, it’s very important to build character?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “More people know you as Hulk Hogan than Terry Bollea.” Bollea: “Yes ma’am.” Brevetti: “You have two identities?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “The Hulk Hogan character is bigger than life?” Bollea: “Yes ma’am.”
Brevetti then hit the jackpot on the following questions as all fears of how much damage Hogan could cause McMahon turned into elation. Hogan perhaps turned into the defense’s best witness.
Brevetti: “Did Titan ever pay for steroids for wrestlers?” Bollea: “No.” Brevetti: “You paid for steroids with your own money?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Did you ever see a road agent or any employee distribute steroids to wrestlers who wanted steroids?” Bollea: “Never.” Brevetti: “From 1985-’91, if Dr. Zahorian was not available to you, you had other sources for steroids?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Is it fair to say Titan had nothing to do with providing you with steroids from Zahorian.” Bollea: “Very fair.”
Brevetti: “Is it fair to say packages you picked up (at Titan) were because you knew steroids had been ordered for you?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Am I correct that you never picked up unsolicited packages?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Vince McMahon didn’t order Feinberg to order steroids for you?” Bollea: “No.” Brevetti: “She was doing an accommodation for you?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Who’d you pick up the steroids from?” Bollea: “Emily Feinberg.” Brevetti: “Vince McMahon never divided his steroids for you and him?” Bollea: “Never remember him doing so.” Brevetti: “Jim Stuart never delivered steroids to you at any arena, including Nassau Coliseum?” Bollea: “Never.”
Brevetti: “On occasions you’d request Emily Feinberg to place an order, the package would be paid for by you?” Bollea: “By check or cash, yes.” Brevetti: “If you received steroids from other individuals, you would not pay for them?” Bollea: “No. It was just paying back (for a previous loan).” Brevetti: “You might call them joint orders?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “It was prearranged the package would be for both of you?” Bollea: “Yes… I would pick up my share from Emily.”
Brevetti: “In 1988-’89, Mr. McMahon used steroids?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Is if fair to say from 1984-on, Mr. McMahon was your friend?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “You’ve used the term ‘brother’ in reference to Vince McMahon.” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “You were as close as two men in professional life can be?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “You respected McMahon?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “In fact, in 1993 you called him your hero?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “He respected you and what you did for the WWF?” Bollea: “Yes.”
Brevetti then went back to the Summer of ’88 when Hogan taught McMahon how to use steroids. She established that Hogan let McMahon use deca from his supply of steroids. Brevetti: “So bottles may have been given to you for steroids you gave to him in the Summer of ’88?” Bollea: “It’s possible.” Brevetti: “You paid for your share?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “You made the order out of convenience and you took yours for your personal use and paid for them?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “If you gave Dan Brower steroids, did you charge him for them?” Bollea: “If he gave me ten bottles, I’d give him ten back. We were friends. That’s the way it worked.” Brevetti: “Is it fair to say it’s like friends exchanging a half a pack of cigarettes.” Bollea: “That’s fair.” Brevetti: “Is it fair to say from 1985 to 1991 you gave wrestlers steroids and the reverse is true?” Bollea: “That’s fair.” Brevetti: “Were you in your own mind distributing steroids?” Bollea: “No. They were my friends.” Brevetti: “Were they distributing to you?” Bollea: “No ma’am.” Brevetti: “Did you believe as a layperson from ’85-’91 that doctors had the legal right to distribute to you?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Did you believe Dr. Zahorian was committing a crime for distributing steroids to you?” Bollea: “No.” Brevetti: “You testified that taking steroids helped your injuries heal. Do you feel steroids helped speed your recovery.” Bollea: “Yes.”
Hogan then said after he was instructed not to call Zahorian, he did anyway, not to defraud the FDA or conceal any illegal activity, but as a friend.
Brevetti: “Did you feel personally a tremendous amount of personal pressure?” Bollea: “Yeah, I felt singled out. There was a hysteria, like AIDS. I felt it was unfair that I was singled out despite other athletes taking them.” Brevetti: “Did you feel you and your wife would be singled out?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “To this day, don’t questions of steroid use come up in every media interview?” Bollea: “(pause) 85 percent.”
Brevetti: “Before this trial, did you give statements to the press that weren’t true?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “On Arsenio Hall?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Is it fair to say you did not give your full history of your steroid use?” Bollea: “Very true.” Brevetti: “Did Mr. McMahon give you advice?” Bollea: “Yeah, he gave me advice. He didn’t think I should go on the show because it was the wrong format.”
Brevetti somehow then credited McMahon with helping Bollea on his comeback to the ring for the rival promotion to help give him exposure for his new TV career. Brevetti: “Your new career path has nothing to do with this trial? You and Vince McMahon are still friends?” Bollea: “Yes.”
On redirect, a somewhat deflated Sean O’Shea tried to regroup and salvage some valuable testimony from Hogan. He asked Bollea if Feinberg or McMahon were doctors at the time they distributed steroids to him. Bollea said no. Bollea said he knew McMahon and Zahorian well when that photo was taken (because Brevetti tried to make it seem like they could have been strangers to Bollea since he took so many photos with strangers.)
O’Shea: “A big part of your appeal has always been your size?” Bollea: “Yes.” O’Shea: “Like your 22 inch arms?” Bollea: “Yes, thereabouts.” O’Shea: “Hulk got to be Hulk Hogan in part because of steroids.” Bollea: “In part.” O’Shea: “Every time Zahorian gave you steroids, he didn’t give you a prescription, did he?” Bollea: “He gave you a prescription pad.” O’Shea: “To cover yourself?” Bollea: “Yes. If they found steroids, there would be a piece of paper with my name on it. It said, ‘Deca for Terry Bollea for bodybuilding.'”
O’Shea: “Dr. Zahorian just gave them to you with no limit on the number?” Bollea: “Yes.” Brevetti: “Do you go to your family doctor in Tampa and get all the steroids you want?” Bollea: “No.” O’Shea: “Could you use the cash and carry method with your doctor?” Bollea: “No.” O’Shea: “When Emily Feinberg gave you drugs, it was as Mr. McMahon’s executive assistant?” (objection sustained.) O’Shea: “She was his right hand man, if you will.” Bollea: “Yes.” O’Shea: “It was not a secret from McMahon?” (objection sustained.) O’Shea: “McMahon was in the office sometimes when you picked up steroids?” Bollea: “Yes.” The judge asked for clarification. Bollea: “I call the whole building the office. After talking with Vince, I’d pick up my packages.” Judge Mishler: “That doesn’t mean he was present when you picked up the packages?” Bollea: “Correct.”
O’Shea: “(When you gave steroids to McMahon), you weren’t his physician?” Bollea: “No.” O’Shea: “He didn’t complain of injuries?” Bollea: “No.” O’Shea: “He wanted them for bodybuilding?” Bollea: “Yes.”
Brevetti re-cross examined Hogan briefly. Hogan said he was not on steroids, so Brevetti asked if he was promoting his “pythons” as part of his persona to promote his match with Ric Flair despite not being on steroids. Hogan said he was.
·Robert Gorse, an office manager for Rugby Darby Pharmaceuticals, took the stand. On direct from O’Shea, he testified that Zahorian ordered $2,403 worth of drugs in 1988 and $10,132 in 1989 (virtually all steroids). He said the lot number of the drugs Zahorian sold to a government plant and that Feinberg turned into the government (which she says she got from McMahon) was made available on Aug. 2, 1989.
On cross-examination from McDevitt, Gorse said in 1990 Zahorian bought only $940 worth of drugs and it stopped entirely in Apr. of ’90. McDevitt went fishing again as he tried to shift blame to Rugby Darby for not noticing Zahorian’s purchases rose in 1989 by five-times the amount in ’88. McDevitt asked Gorse if there was a narrower market for steroids after the new law, whereas “prior to Nov. 18, 1988 there were no restrictions on steroid use.” Gorse said, “There shouldn’t be.” (i.e. the proper medical purposes for using steroids didn’t change when the law did). The judge then told the jury, “Do not take the law from Mr. McDevitt. Wait until I instruct to the law.”
·John Minton (a/k/a John Studd) testified next. He testified via telephone because he has Hodgkin’s Disease and he says doctors recommend he not be present at the trial.
On direct from O’Shea, Minton said he wrestled for the WWF from ’81 to ’89. He said he bought steroids from Zahorian. He said Zahorian told him about the meeting with McMahon where he told him, if not for him selling them steroids, wrestlers would buy dangerous black market steroids elsewhere. Minton said he didn’t regard what Zahorian was doing as a crime and he said Zahorian warned about the dangers of steroid use.
O’Shea read from Minton’s grand jury testimony: “At that time, steroids were a very important part of our regime. We had to be in shape. It was a service, not a disservice. I never saw it forced on anyone. It was entirely my choice.”
·Dr. Gary Wadler was the final witness for the prosecution. After O’Shea asked Wadler about his credentials, McDevitt challenged his credentials by asking him trivial questions from more than 25 years ago and quoting his book out of context. Wadler’s main point was establishing what a prescription and a doctor-patient relationship entails. “Steroids are prescription drugs,” Wadler explained. “A physician has to go through a process to determine whether a specific drug can be used. One needs a complaint, then a history of complaints, medical background, to address allergies, do a complete physical – and certainly one that is directed toward the cause of the complaint… A prescription is more than a piece of paper.”
Wadler also ran down a long list of reported side effects from anabolic steroid use when used for medicinal purposes, which is almost always in much smaller doses than those used by athletes. There is a shortage of formal and credible studies of the short-term and long-term effects for those who used large amounts for extensive lengths of time.
The day closed with McDevitt engaging in a battle over the negative impact of steroids, drug laws, and the expertise of Wadler.
JULY 15, 1994
Testimony began at 10:17 a.m. with Wadler back on the stand. He remained there until 12:30. McDevitt repeatedly tried to use quotes from Wadler’s book against him on matters that at best loosely applied to the case. Wadler repeatedly said McDevitt was quoting the book out of context. McDevitt did establish that Wadler was paid around $8,600 (based on $150/hr.) by the government for his testimony at the Zahorian trial and is on pace to earn $38,000 for his testimony at this trial.
Laura Brevetti, in her cross-examination, used breast implants as an example of a medical procedure done not for the treatment of disease where opinions on its dangers are changing constantly. After an objection by O’Shea and a sidebar, Brevetti moved on. Wadler was reluctant through his testimony to give in on any point, even if it was an innocuous, irrelevant point.
O’Shea announced the government rests.
After the jury was excused, McDevitt argued that counts two and three should be dropped due to lack of venue for distribution and no evidence for distribution on or about Apr. 13 or Oct. 24. O’Shea argued vehemently that the drugs were possessed with intent to distribute in Nassau county because Zahorian reached into the district to purchase the steroids from Rugby-Darby.
He cited two cases where “reaching into a district” with a mere phone call is enough to establish venue – and in this case, argued O’Shea, the only way Zahorian could get steroids from Rugby-Darby was by calling them. He said Emily Feinberg testified that she gave packages of steroids to Jim Stuart to deliver to Hogan at either MSG, Meadowlands, or Nassau, the three arenas in the Eastern District. McDevitt argued there was no evidence that Bollea received steroids in the Eastern District and that Zahorian could have purchased steroids for the Apr. 13 charge from any of a number of drug companies outside of the Eastern District since there was no order from Rugby-Darby that month, so the steroids for that shipment came from his stock.
The judge asked the defense if they saw any advantage to letting the jury consider the charges because if they are so frivolous that no reasonable jury would find them guilty of those two counts, they would let them come to that conclusion. If instead the judge throws out the charges based on lack of venue, the defendant could be indicted in Connecticut or Pennsylvania, whereas if a jury finds them not guilty on those two charges, “double jeopardy” laws would prohibit them being charged for the same crime in a different district.
The defense heard him out, but still chose to argue for immediate dismissal of the charges. The judge seemed perturbed at the prosecution, saying he didn’t drop those charges as McDevitt had asked several dozen times because he expected the prosecution to present evidence of delivery to a location in the district. Nonetheless, he said he would not decide to dismiss yet.
The defense also asked for the conspiracy count to be dismissed. McDevitt went point by point, explaining why he felt the conspiracy count should be dropped before going to jury since no reasonable jury would find there was enough evidence to convict. McDevitt argued that even if four points of conspiracy were true, it would still take a meeting of the minds for a conspiracy to take place and McMahon and Zahorian met in 1988 10 months before the law changed that they supposedly conspired to break.
The judge interrupted and asked McDevitt if he was saying distribution of steroids was lawful without the presense of a legitimate doctor-patient relationship, a premise on which much of the defense was built. O’Shea cited examples of distributing illegally, impairing and impeding regulation, and other elements of a conspiracy. The judge asked O’Shea, “What if they didn’t know.” O’Shea responded, “They don’t need a meeting of the minds of specific knowledge of a specific statue (to break it). That excuse ‘we didn’t know’ is not relevant. The way they hid transactions, warned Zahorian, called from payphones (shows they knew something was wrong).”
Earlier, McDevitt argued that it is a misdemeanor, not a felony, for a layperson to distribute drugs if they didn’t attempt to deceive the recipient. The judge asked O’Shea about that and with the more emotion than he showed during the previous two weeks, he said, “That’s DEAD WRONG if they are defrauding the FDA. There is sufficient evidence they were impairing and impeding regulation to distribute steroids.”
The judge denied the motion to dismiss.
The defense then argued in favor of eliminating names from the list of recipients of FedEx packages from Zahorian who were not WWF wrestlers at the time of the shipments. The judge ruled against them. McDevitt and Brevetti vehemently protested, at which point the judge asked them to take his ruling as final for once. While the judge was talking, Vince McMahon got out of his chair with a look of distress and left the court room (see “Cover Story” for more details).
As Brevetti left the courthouse Friday, ready to spend a weekend preparing more motions and her closing summary, she continued to be optimistic. “We rested without calling a witness because if we presented evidence, it would only give the prosecution a chance to prove what they couldn’t (with their evidence).”
Wednesday, after both sides present their closing summaries, the jury will decide whether they believe, like Brevetti, the prosecution didn’t prove their case. If the jury feels the prosecution did prove their case and if McMahon goes to prison, the wrestling industry may undergo dramatic, sudden change. If the jury feels the prosecution failed to prove their case, McMahon will breath a sigh of relief, quickly regroup, and attempt to resolidify the WWF’s position as the leader of this country’s professional wrestling industry.
JULY 18, 1994
From 1:30 p.m. until 5 p.m., without the jury present, prosecution and defense argued various points of the trial with the judge. In the end, the defense had a good day in that the judge dismissed counts two and three of the indictment based on lack of jurisdiction in the Eastern District. He was upset with prosecutor Sean O’Shea, saying he was given the impression O’Shea would be presenting a much stronger case on the two distribution counts. The judge said he would consider dropping count one and would have his decision the next day.
JULY 19, 1994
From 1:30 until 5 p.m., without the jury present, the discussion from the day before continued. A lot of the focus was on the wording of the judge’s instructions to the jury. O’Shea cited cases where a defendant did not need to know all of the details of a conspiracy as long as he knew of its existence and he knowingly joined and participated in it. The judge said that mere knowledge of a conspiracy is insufficient for a conviction. “A person may know a criminal without being a criminal.”
The judge told the defendants that he would say the words “prove beyond a reasonable doubt” so often during his instructions to the jury that even they would be sick of hearing it. The judge responded to the defendant’s request for a change in wording by saying, “That would be at best irrelevant, at worst misleading.”
Jerry McDevitt argued that a doctor can distribute prescription drugs however he wishes to his patients. The judge drew an analogy that if he were at a baseball game with a friend of his who happened to be his doctor, too, and without expressing any concern over his health, the doctor offered him some drugs for money, would McDevitt consider that a legitimate doctor-patient relationship? McDevitt argued yes and the judge vehemently disagreed.
The battles over wording continued with some enthusiastic exchanges among the defense, prosecution, and judge.
JULY 20, 1994
PROSECUTION’S CLOSING ARGUMENT
Government Prosecutor Sean O’Shea Summation:
At 9:30 a.m., with the jury present, O’Shea began his nearly two-hour summation. The following are paraphrased excerpts from his summary:
(“)My summary today will merely confirm my opening statement. It will show you the dark, corrupt underbelly of Titan Sports. The boss of the company used steroids. They were corporate outlaws, headed by the sole owner, the defendant. He was a cunning and sophisticated drug dealer. He was using dangerous and illegal drugs to help a superstar employee, who was trying to hide behind the secretary of the owner.
You’ve heard every excuse. They blame Anita Scales, Emily Feinberg, Bob Gorse. The corporate outlaws blame all the little guys. They blame the fear of stigma or bad publicity. People who are scared of bad publicity don’t warn doctors of police investigations. They don’t launder checks at the local bank. They played the game of see no evil, hear no evil when it came to Dr. Z. They blame everyone else, but you know. The owner saw these drugs as profit – not the paltry profit Zahorian made off of his drug deals. Don’t let them insult your intelligence by saying they didn’t get rewarded by Zahorian’s steroid sales. They were tempted by the millions of dollars of profit made by the company.
Judge Mishler will instruct you steroids must be distributed by a doctor with a legitimate doctor-patient relationship and after November 1988 had to be for treatment of disease. It has to be a real doctor acting as a real doctor. Vince McMahon and Emily Feinberg are not doctors. There was no disease in Hulk Hogan. That alone is enough to convict. But there’s much more evidence.
This is about a corporate drug pusher. Some wrestlers wanted steroids and would do anything to keep their jobs. Every drug user has the excuse and they may believe they need it to go on. That’s why drug pushers have customers. We know they are dangerous. That’s why they are illegal. If the pushers have willing customers, that’s no defense. The wrestlers were willing to pump up because they wanted the money, they wanted their jobs.
Everyone knew about Dr. Zahorian. Patterson said when he was a road agent, Zahorian offered him valium. He knew about Zahorian in ’85. Zahorian offered a cornucopia of drugs not because of any complaint of illness. Important employees – George Skaaland, Jay Strongbow – purchased steroids and gave them to their own sons. Agents offered wrestlers cash. Jack Lanza said, “Do you need cash? The doctor’s here.” Tom Zenk was a new wrestler, he didn’t know what that meant.
Anita Scales wasn’t on the road, but she knew he was bad news. Mel Phillips told her. Tony Garea told her the doctor was “sleazy” and “opened up shop.” Robert Morella said there was no place in the business for his type. Strongbow told her, “The boys need their candies.” When was the last time you referred a doctor giving you candy? When was the last time you called your doctor sleaze? When was the last time your doctor sent you pounds of drugs in FedEd packages? Pat Patterson was squirming on the stand. He said he never heard of those terms, but Emily Feinberg said she was one of Patterson’s closest friends and heard Patterson refer to steroids 20 times. The defendant Mr. McMahon knew what the juice was. He knew it was wrong, but okayed it.
Dr. Zahorian told Vince he was giving wrestlers steroids. His option was to say to Zahorian, “Get those drugs out of my company.” Instead, he decided to make them available. When Zahorian was on the witness stand, the defense tried to say the government put him up to this. You heard it go on and on. He was contrite. He was credible. He said he would have stopped, but Vince McMahon said, “No, go on.” If the wrestlers needed the steroids for medical purposes he wouldn’t have said, “I will stop.”
Think of the coincidence. Every wrestler was sick, always, at the same time, and no one ever got better. Addicts don’t stop. Addicts keep using to keep going. The government exhibit shows Zahorian was present at 50 events from ’85 to ’91.
People without guilty knowledge don’t tell Zahorian to call them back on a pay phone and warn him and tell him to destroy records. When was the last time you asked your doctor to call you back on a pay phone? That’s what you do to avoid the police. If he’s a drug dealer in a white coat and you’ve been conspiring with him to distribute steroids, you avoid the police.
This memo (see cover sidebar) is the smoking gun. Patterson denied receiving it because it’s the smoking gun. It shows that Vince McMahon, Linda McMahon, and Pat Patterson were all up to their necks in the conspiracy. It says Vince McMahon ordered the cover up. This memo says they knew it was illegal what Zahorian was doing. It doesn’t tell you they were shocked to find out steroids were illegal. They knew because six weeks earlier they laundered checks to supply their number one star with steroids.
All the bobbing and weaving was just that. Any time they shift blame, think of this memo. It shows the top three executives knew. They were talking out both sides of their mouths. Sure, he’s a drug dealer, but he was their drug dealer.
They knew steroids meant their wrestlers would be bigger and they could go longer and thus make more profits. God help those who tried to do the right thing in the offices of Titan. Does it sound right that they would mix a chemical cocktail so the wrestlers could go on? He was trying to make more profit from chemical cocktails.
The CEO of this company admits he gave steroids to his top star and there was no doctor-patient relationship. That alone proves it. The stigma excuse is baloney.
(O’Shea then recounted the Rude and Wacholz testimony concerning McMahon’s implied and direct orders to take steroids. He then called the letter regarding how to legally possess steroids “a wink and a nod.”) This memo was still urging wrestlers to take steroids.
(O’Shea then linked the charge to the Eastern District by talking about events at Nassau Coliseum and Rugby-Darby drug company.)
“The judges instructions will tell you about conspiracy laws. He will tell you a conspiracy can be inferred due to actions. You can tell from the actions of these people that McMahon approved.
This is multi-million dollar corporate America, not a mom and pop shop. They are trying to blame the little people, others, everyone else for their actions. Maybe they have a fancy logo and maybe they present a fancy face to you, which makes it worse. This corporation mixed a chemical cocktail and conspired to keep wrestlers pumped up and their cash registers going. It’s shameful and it’s illegal. Consider this evidence and call them into account. I ask you to find the defendants guilty.(“)
DEFENSE’S FINAL WORDS TO JURY
WWF Attorney Laura Brevetti Summation
(“) Mr. O’Shea says it’s unreasonable to say bad publicity was a concern? The hypocrisy of that statement is they bring in a 5 by 7 photo (of Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon, and Zahorian) and blow it up to 20 by 22, to bring in Hulk Hogan to breathe life into a dead case. To have Hulk Hogan bear his soul that he took steroids when it was legal to take steroids. It is government leaks of this investigation that creates stigmas. The hypocrisy of that statement – it was the government that created the leaks. The media singled out Vince McMahon.
The government is asking you to infer, to deduce. That is not the type of evidence necessary to change this man’s life. But on what standard are you going to judge a man? You must be confident beyond a reasonable doubt. Don’t use as evidence rumor, scuttlebutt, “I thought he meant.” Look at evidence through the eyes of people in the ’80s, not the ’90s. Don’t judge on 20/20 hindsight, on evidence brought forth under suspect circumstances. He’s being painted as a scapegoat. They are trying to stir the prejudice in you because he made a lot of money.
Nobody respects wrestling, nobody respects wrestlers. It’s not America’s passtime. People won’t admit they watch it.
When you heard evidence, did you get the feeling people had a grudge, a lawsuit, wanted money, had hatred. Did you think someone put out an 800 number asking for info, any scrap of information from the bottom of a tar barrel. It’s all sizzle, no steak.
Of all the wrestlers who wrestled for the WWF after 1985, you would expect the government to bring you witnesses with specific dates and times and precise testimony. Credible testimony. They would say they never used steroids before, McMahon told them to take them, and Zahorian was told to sell wrestlers steroids. You didn’t hear that. You heard 180 degrees the opposite. They brought you nine wrestlers, so they must be the best nine they’ve got. They brought you wrestlers with grudges, with lawsuits, who work for the competition. Did Zahorian change his testimony to fit the government’s case? Is that evidence that makes you confident.
All of the wrestlers told you they were using steroids before and after they worked for the WWF. One out of seven of them bought steroids from Dr. Zahorian (not counting John Minton and Hogan, who she said she would talk about later). It’s mind boggling. They wanted to get evidence from the bottom of a tar barrel for this dead, one-count case.
After February 1991, a WWF memo advised wrestlers that the law was changing and it was no longer legal to possess and use steroids. We heard from two witnesses who told you they were convicted of steroid use after 1991, Zenk and Szopinski. Zenk and Rude said they were on steroids. Zenk said he was on steroids three weeks ago and Rude when he was in WCW. The government doesn’t care. They don’t want to clean up the current problem. Rude gets to stand up and leave the court room and we have to sit here for two weeks and decide if this happened years ago. You heard Rude say he took steroids while in WCW the last three years. What are we doing here? Tom Zenk didn’t buy steroids from Zahorian, but he is the type of individual who would take steroids out of the bottom of a trash can. (She continued to draw a picture of the government singling out McMahon when others were more guilty, more recently). It boggles the mind. Zenk is able to testify that he took steroids three weeks ago and then go to Japan and make 10,000 dollars and we have to sit here two weeks to see what may or may not have occurred.
Do you feel you’re being asked to do something good here or are you being pushed to get McMahon. (She then went down the list of wrestlers who testified one at a time, picking apart their testimony as being part of 1-800-LAWSUIT craze. She read back at length testimony from several witnesses.)
It’s not whether wrestlers were on steroids, but if McMahon knowingly and willingly entered into and participated in a conspiracy with Dr. Zahorian.
Mr. Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan) was presented to you as a star witness for the prosecution. He was called to prove their case, but was it the opposite? No wrestler, not matter his star quality, could save this dead case.”
(She then tried to portray Emily Feinberg as a professional actor (she filmed one promo video with no script) Emily Feinberg is well practiced in the art of deception. Her purpose was to give them information on a man she couldn’t get another paycheck from. It’s all a figment of an actress’s imagination.
How did Dr. Zahorian present himself to laymen? As a competent and able doctor. After two and a half years of incarceration he says he now believes what he did was wrong and the wrestlers were not his patients. I suggest to you after two and a half years of incarceration, you’d believe chickens fly. He said he never spoke to Mr. McMahon after ’88 and there’s not a shred of evidence Mr. McMahon had any knowledge of the ’88 act or that he was violating it. The only possible thin reed of evidence left is this four minute conversation in its final evolutionary state in 1988 where McMahon told Zahorian to be sure to keep the wrestlers healthy.
It is each and every one of you who puts life into the constitution; it’s not just a piece of paper. I know you want to get back to your families, but this is important. This man deserves your time.(“)
DEFENSE’S FINAL WORDS TO JURY
WWF Attorney Jerry McDevitt Summation
(“) They say the victim of this crime is the FDA, that they were defrauded. No one took the stand from the FDA. The FDA ran from this courtroom like Dracula runs from a cross.
If you don’t have evidence, you use harsh rhetoric. You talk about underbellies. There is only one reference to the FDA in the prosecution’s case. Everything you learned about the FDA’s regulatory efforts you learned from us.
If your only physical evidence is a little bottle that I can’t even look on this (the prosecutor’s) table and see, then you blow up a document so big you need anabolic steroids to lift it.
When Zahorian wasn’t scheduled to be at Hershey, if he was five years into a conspiracy with McMahon, wouldn’t he feel comfortable calling his co-conspirator and saying, “Hey Vince, what gives?” Zahorian was never hired after the law changed.
It was not illegal to buy and possess steroids for your personal use. The method of your payment doesn’t make the action illegal. Is there anything wrong with being discreet, keeping your personal use private?
The government alleges there was a cover-up. As far as cover-ups go, this was a lousy cover up. Emily Feinberg destroyed nothing. Remember, every single piece of evidence is right there (on the prosecution’s table) and they haven’t proven anything to you.
For 30 years the system failed to do what it’s supposed to – it failed to regulate steroids at their entry point into the system. More steroids entered into circulation than possibly could have been used for medical purposes, but no one stopped them. No laymen can defraud that system. Mr. McMahon is not responsible for this egregious mess.
Does anybody really know what a conspiracy is? The government charges that it’s an unspoken agreement to violate the law. You heard only one snippet of a conversation brought out under the most egregious circumstances possible. (He then talked about Zahorian’s treatment before giving his grand jury testimony.) Was it necessary (to treat him that way)? Does that make you feel good about this country. The bottom line is, his presence was required by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission. He tells you no one ever encouraged him to sell steroids to wrestlers to increase ticket sales. What is the basis for these charges?
You have heard no evidence of a violation of the 1988 law. A conspiracy is an attempt to create a crime, not solve one. The government’s case summed up is, ‘Maybe you won’t notice.’
This is the greatest system in the world, but it is also one that allows the government the last word. This is the last you’ll hear from me. The vote you cast over the next few days is important. It’s a huge responsibility. The government has a huge burden. They didn’t come close. They didn’t produce any evidence. Mr. McMahon entertained millions of people – some used steroids when it was legal and they got them from a doctor. I ask you to find McMahon not guilty.
PROSECUTION’S FINAL WORDS TO JURY
Goverment Prosecutor Sean O’Shea’s Rebuttal to Defense:
(“)It’s not a special rule that I get to talk to you again. It occurs in every case because we have the burden of proof. (Angrily) Some of the points they made demand an answer. Let me answer Ms. Brevetti’s question of whether you have been brought here to do something good. She talked about hypocrisy. The defendant is a corporate drug dealer. We’re asking you to find him guilty because the evidence merits you finding him guilty. Someone helped obstruct justice. Their memo is all meat, yet they’re still blaming everyone else. They blame us (the government), the blame us for the full court room, they blame us for them being public figures even though they’ve promoted themselves on TV for the last ten years.
We didn’t say ‘Be like Hulk Hogan, take his vitamins,’ all the while they were pumping him up with steroids! They’re big, rich, powerful. They’re drug dealers. Just because they’re rich doesn’t give them a free pass. The defendant told Emily Feinberg to distribute steroids to Hulk Hogan. He was involved in the memo. He ordered Sages to launder money, he ordered Feinberg to destroy evidence.
Let the judge tell you the law, not Mr. McDevitt. The judge will tell you the definition of a prescription drug. He will tell you it doesn’t allow for it to be dispensed at will. It must be authorized by a licensed practitioner and must have been pursuant to a legitimate doctor-patient relationship. The court will tell you the law. Mr. McDevitt was trying very hard to throw smoke in the air and deceive and confuse you.
They played a game with Dr. Wadler for two days. He said they took things out of context. That’s what Mr. McDevitt does. They told you all of the witnesses said what they said because they have a grudge or are suing them. The defendant is the common element in those lawsuits. If Randy Colley had such a grudge against Vince McMahon, why didn’t he say McMahon told him directly to take steroids. If you’re gonna lie, why not the big lie. Why didn’t Tom Zenk lie and say McMahon told him to take steroids? Because they were telling the truth. If I wanted to get McMahon, why didn’t I pull Zahorian aside and tell him we want McMahon so tell us on record he told you to distribute steroids to wrestlers. If we set up Zahorian, did we write this memo? If we wanted a frame, we sure did a horrible job.
They say this case is old. It takes a while to uncover illegality, especially when they use pay phones and clever check maneuvering. Where is the grudge of Anita Scales, Emily Feinberg, Margaret Sharkey? They are just regular folks who tried to do the right thing. He tells you the defendant didn’t know the law. Ignorance is no excuse, we all know that. They offered you excuses. Everyone in this courtroom knows you can’t distribute drugs.
They say we don’t care what happens to other suppliers. They ask why don’t we go after this guy and that guy. Some have been convicted. Dealers have been convicted. Because someone else is violating the law doesn’t mean you can. Blaming others, blaming users is their defense. Customers will always want drugs from these pushers, these facilitators. Rick Rude is a user, the defendant is a pusher.
They ask, why don’t you prosecute WCW? Have you heard about WCW? If we hear about it, we’ll go after them. We’ll be after them like white on rice because it’s a serious crime. They say prosecute WCW, doctors in England, the guy behind the tree, but leave us alone. They say we should do our job, while all along they were doing this (points to the Linda McMahon memo.)
They’re pretty good at rhetoric. They spoke to you for hours. We don’t have the corner on rhetoric. Ladies and gentleman, they can call witnesses. They could have brought in all these guys, but they would have danced around on the stand just like Patterson did.
They say I cooked this up, that I have nothing better to do with my time. They say that Mr. Vilente, Mr. Flag, and I just out of the blue went after them. They say we went after them because we don’t have respect for wrestling. You know who doesn’t have respect for wrestling? Vince McMahon (points to defendant). He used wrestlers like slabs of meat, pumped them up for profit. That’s an insult. We’re asking you to hold the big guys accountable. They can’t get away with saying it’s merely a personal choice.
When McMahon scolded Jim Hellwig for leaving steroids in his hotel room, he was only too happy his champion was using steroids. What he was in a tirade about was that he was caught. They say Hulk Hogan was our star witness. They said that, yet we had to immunize him to get the truth out of him. He testified he got steroids ten times for Vince.
They say it’s all hysteria? Yeah, illegal drugs are hysteria We didn’t cook this case up, ladies and gentlemen. They say it’s sizzle. They don’t like the evidence. They didn’t like Patterson’s evidence. We’re not coming in and applying a new law to them. They knew when they drafted the memo and the bank check. All the evidence shows they knew.
They say they didn’t know the law. Ignorance is no excuse. This is a rich company with all kinds of resources to get the law, to find out about the law. They want you to believe I decided to put Zahorian in shackles and chains. Jail is not a nice place. People who go there get put in solitary confinement for their own protection from other inmates.
They want you to believe they had no choice. if you’re dealing with a sleazy doctor. Tell him to get out. ‘I am the owner of the this company, get out, don’t come back.’ They say Zahorian wasn’t hired after the law changed. But he was back there selling drugs. Patterson and the defendant put him back there. So they were playing word games. This is not a contest about who can be the trickiest. This is a search for the truth.
Thanks for your patience. Your verdict of guilty will say that you can’t hide behind a doctor’s white coat. You can’t obstruct and impede justice as they did in December of ’89 right before Dr. Zahorian was indicted. You can’t blame others. If you violate the law, you’re guilty. Without sympathy of prejudice, find them guilty.
Wednesday around 5 p.m., government prosecutor Sean O’Shea running on high adrenaline made his closing rebuttal. “They say we did it (conducted the investigation against Titan Sports) because we don’t have respect for wrestling,” shouted O’Shea, who then dramatically turned 180 degrees and pointed at defendant Vince McMahon. “You know who doesn’t have respect for wrestling? Vince McMahon, who used wrestlers like slabs of meat and pumped them up with steroids for profit.”
The forty courtroom observers sat with their jaws dropped, the defense attorneys tried to keep their cool, and Vince McMahon sat in stunned silence, probably trying with all his might not to stand up and shout, “Who do you think you are?!”
The timing was straight out of a courtroom movie, the climax coming out of nowhere as the usually calm and methodical prosecutor broke out of his shell to lash out against the defendant. Some court room observers felt O’Shea’s closing rebuttal to the defense’s closing summary was so powerful, so poignant, that he was playing possum all along, hustling the defense into thinking he was going to let them get away with what he called their illogical arguments and smoke-screen distortions only to lash out at them when they would have no chance to respond.
At one point during the defense’s closing summary, as Titan attorney Jerry McDevitt swaggered across the courtroom making his closing arguments, government investigator Tony Vilente turned to O’Shea with a big smile on his face, perhaps saying, “They’re playing right into our hands.”
O’Shea, who few believed had a strong case against McMahon coming into the day, hit a ball to the warning track. It was up to the WWF to catch the ball or let it sail just over their glove into the stands for the homerun the prosecution needed. At the time, it appeared they may have let the ball slip past their glove. That “hit” was what O’Shea called “the smoking gun” – a two-by-three foot blow-up of a memo Linda McMahon wrote to Pat Patterson.
The letter alone, O’Shea argued, was enough evidence for the jury to find the defendant guilty. The letter read: “I spoke to Vince about the fact that the State of Pennsylvania is probably going to launch an investigation into the use of all illegal drugs including steroids… Although you and I discussed before about continuing to have Zahorian at our events as the doctor on call, I think it is now not a good idea. Vince agreed and would like for you to call Zahorian and tell him not to come to any more of our events and to also clue him in on any action that the Justice Department is thinking of taking.”
There were other heated exchanges. Brevetti asked in her closing summary, “Do you feel you’re being asked to do something good here or are you being pushed to get McMahon.”
O’Shea angrily responded: “We didn’t say, ‘Be like Hulk Hogan, take his vitamins,’ all the while they were pumping him up with steroids. They’re big, rich, powerful – they’re corporate drug dealers. Just because they’re rich doesn’t give them a free pass.”
O’Shea’s vitriolic closing statement seemed to pump life into what Brevetti called a “dead on arrival” case. O’Shea would find out two days later it wasn’t enough
JULY 22, 1994
Friday everyone believed they would come to a decision before lunch and the collective gut feeling was the decision would be not-guilty; it seemed as if there was enough time to find reasonable doubt and the jury was just trying to convince one or two to go along with the verdict. But by Friday afternoon the feeling was it could go either way since so much time was being taken by the jury.
At 3:55 p.m., the jury returned to the courtroom with a verdict. When the verdict was read, O’Shea’s jaw dropped and the WWF fans in the courtroom cheered outloud as if their favorite wrestler just scored a pinfall. The judge stood and angrily instructed anyone who cheered to immediately leave the court room. None left, but all fell silent as McMahon and company celebrated.
While McMahon realizes one of the distribution counts that was dropped from this case due to lack of jurisdiction may be retried in another district later this year, he was in an understandably celebratory mood.
A few minutes past 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, Vince McMahon met with the press and reacted to the verdict just minutes after it was read. The following is a transcript of media questions and his answers…
McMahon’s opening statement
Vince: I would just like to say (on behalf) of my whole family we are delighted with the outcome. I must say coming into this, having been investigated for over two-and-a-half years, it has been quite an ordeal. Certainly there is no one in America who is above being investigated for any reason. I felt that from time to time the investigation was a bit unfair. I thought the charges that were hurled against me and my company were wrong.
And I must say that coming into this I didn’t have a great deal of faith in the judicial system as such nor necessarily in the way and manner in which someone is prosecuted. The one thing I’ve always had is faith in humanity and today that was reaffirmed.
Q: Do you want to respond to the label “corporate drug pusher”?
Vince: I think the jury responded very nicely to all of the insults, notwithstanding the charges, hurled by Mr. O’Shea. I must say that I not only felt in great hands in terms of humanity deciding my fate, a jury of my peers, but also no one has ever been any better represented than I was and my company was in this case with Jerry McDevitt and Laura Brevetti. Many of you would assume the greatest legal talent as we speak is out on the other coast. That is not the case, folks, it’s right here. And I’m very appreciative for everyone who helped us through this entire ordeal.
Most importantly, other than the jury and the legal staff, I’m very appreciative for all of the many fans not just here in the United States but all over the world, who had faith in the WWF and everything we believe in – bringing quality entertainment to everyone we possibly can. That’s what we’re all about. We’re about fun. We’re not about this (points to courthouse). We’re not about courtrooms and things of that nature. We’re about fun. That’s what we sell is fun and that’s exactly what we’re gonna do right after we leave this press conference is go back to work and start delivering more fun to everybody.
Q: Many kids have gotten a bad impression of the wrestling league, wrestlers, muscles, because of the steroids and everything that came out in this trial. What’s your message to them after the trial?
Vince: I’ll disagree with that statement. I think that more than anything else the WWF was again found innocent of these scurrilous charges that were hurled against us. Just as I said at a previous press conference – and I don’t see any of the same faces from the last one I had back in 1991 – at that press conference I stated from that day forward we were going to institute the greatest drug testing in any sport or any entertainment as it relates to steroids and drug abuse. And we did it.
Q: And you continue to do it?
Vince: We continue to do it. I would invite you to compare and contrast any drug abuse program compared to the WWF. Please, I’ll charge you, just as I charged people at that press conference back in 1991, compare us to the NFL even though we’re not a sport as such. Compare us to anything Hollywood has in terms of drug abuse or steroids. Compare us and contrast us. Continue to follow this story! That’s the only way that young people can be certain the WWF is everything we say it is and will be in the future. The only way they’re gonna know that, guys, is through you, the media.
Q: Why were you singled out?
Vince: I don’t have (that answer). That’s a question I have asked myself many, many times as to why the WWF or Vince McMahon was singled out. I really don’t have that answer. I guess maybe that answer only lies with the prosecution and I’m sure they’d be happy to deliver a statement.
Q: With the close attention you normally pay to your work, every aspect of it, has it been difficult to sit here not only these weeks, but all of the preceding months?
Vince: I don’t know of any corporation in America that can withstand the kind of scrutiny we have undergone for the last two-and-a-half years and the kind of disruptions in normal business day-to-day activities, the kind of disruption in my family. This has turned everything inside out. But in spite of it all, we’re here very happily to stand here before you innocent of all charges.
Q: How are you going to celebrate tonight?
Vince: I’m not sure about that but I may celebrate by going back to work.
Q: The acquittal notwithstanding can you tell us what the investigation and the trial has done to your company as a business?
Vince: As far as the effects of the company, I think if there were any doubts as to what the WWF was and is all about, I think this just cleared up all of them. As far as I’m concerned I see nothing but blue skies ahead for the WWF.
Q: Some of the people who write the wrestling newsletters say the sport isn’t nearly as popular as it was before the investigation. Is that right?
Vince: I think in every form of sport, in every form of entertainment – some years Hollywood has great years, other years not so good. It’s a talent-driven commodity and everything has to be going in a synergy fashion to really work for you. And it will be there – we always will be there in the future – and will be just as popular as it was before.
Q: Do you think the World Wrestling Federation can go on just as it always has?
Vince: I would suggest the World Wrestling Federation is going (to go) a lot better than ever. Again, I don’t know of any corporation – I don’t know of any major motion picture studio out in Hollywood, I don’t know of any sport here in America or anywhere else that can go through what we went through, as intense of an investigation as we went through, and to come before a jury of your peers – to me it reaffirms again my belief in my fellow man.
Q: As you look back now, any mistakes that you (realize you made)?
Vince: I think there’s no question we made some mistakes along the way. I don’t know of any corporation, I don’t know of any individuals – you guys with cameras and those without – that haven’t made mistakes from time to time. The important thing about making mistakes is to get it together and make sure you don’t make those same mistakes again and be better off as a result of it. That’s what I’d say about mistakes.
Q: What would you tell children about steroids?
Vince: I would say personally as Laura was saying, if you truly believe that you are right about something and you understand the consequences, stand up, stand up for your rights. That’s exactly what we did. We stood up for our rights. We knew the government was incorrect. We stood up for our rights and as a result of that we were found innocent of all charges. The other aspect of steroids or any other illegal drugs, as far as kids are concerned, JUST DON’T DO IT, period.
Q: There’s been a lot of talk about Hulk Hogan’s testimony blowing up in the prosecution’s face. Do you want to give us your assessment on his testimony?
Vince: No, I don’t think I’d care to comment about Hulk Hogan’s testimony. I think it spoke for itself. We all live with our own demons, I suppose, and his are (pause) whatever they are.
Q: (How did you and your family get through this)?
Vince: The same way we’ve gotten through everything. We just stayed together. I’m the most fortunate, luckiest man in the world to have a family like I have. I don’t want to talk about that too much or I’ll break up. Nonetheless, guys thank you very, very much for being out during what is obviously another hot summer day. I want to thank all the fans that stayed with the WWF, certainly my legal staff, especially the jury, and you guys in the media as well. You’ve been very respectful and we greatly appreciate it. Thank you very much.