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Spygate turns 15 next year. Every so often, it continues to create a nugget of news.
Here’s the news from a new item from Don Van Natta, Jr. and Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com regarding the controversy that arose when the Patriots were caught red-handed videotaping defensive coaching signals by the Jets.
The late Arlen Specter, a long-time Pennsylvania senator, aggressively pursued the matter. He wanted to get to the bottom of the signal-stealing-and-possibly-other-forms-of-cheating rabbit hole, especially since the Patriots had beaten the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. Specter loudly rattled the sword regarding the NFL’s broadcast antitrust exemption, which allows 32 teams to sell TV rights collectively not through the individual businesses that make up the league.
Specter previously told Charles Robbins, who served as a communications aide and ghost-wrote two Specter memoirs, that a friend had contacted the Senator at the time of the Spygate imbroglio. Arlen Specter said (and Robbins wrote) this: “If you laid off the Patriots, there’d be a lot of money in Palm Beach.” However, Specter consistently refused to identify the friend to Robbins.
Now, Specter’s son shares the name of the friend with ESPN.com: First name Donald. Middle initial J. Last name Trump.
“My father told me that Trump was acting as a messenger for Kraft,” Shanin Specter told ESPN.com. “But I’m equally sure the reference to money in Palm Beach was campaign contributions, not cash. The offer was Kraft assistance with campaign contributions. . . . My father said it was Kraft’s offer, not someone else’s. . . .
“He was pissed. He told me about the call in the wake of the conversation and his anger about it. . . . My father was upset when [such overtures] would happen because he felt as if it were tantamount to a bribe solicitation, though the case law on this subject says it isn’t. . . . He would tell me these things when they occurred. We were very close.”
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, told ESPN.com that the claim from Shanin Specter is “completely false.” A Patriots spokesman told ESPN.com that Robert Kraft “never asked” Trump to speak to Arlen Specter on Kraft’s behalf, and that Kraft “is not aware of any involvement of Trump on this topic and he did not have any other engagement with Specter or his staff.”
Perhaps most tellingly, Federal Election Commission records show (according to ESPN.com) that neither Kraft nor his company ever donated a single dollar to Arlen Specter’s campaign committees.
So, basically, if Trump (or anyone else) directly or indirectly promised campaign contributions from Kraft if Arlen Specter dropped the Spygate matter, the back end of the alleged promise never happened. It never happened even though, per the report, Arlen Specter personally asked Kraft for a contribution in 2010.
Arlen Specter’s son claims Donald Trump tried to stop federal Spygate probe originally appeared on Pro Football Talk