More Prosecutorial Abuse

As I suspected in this post last week, it is increasingly clear that Wayne Gretzky's name was leaked by the NJ Police and/or prosecutors in order to raise the profile of their investigation, and therefore their work.  For those not following the case, initially they accused one or more B-list hockey players of running an illegal bookmaking business.  When that failed to get their investigation on the front page, they leaked the fact that they had tapes of Wayne Gretzky proving he knew about the alleged illegal activity. 

Well, that helped them achieve their goal.  They got their investigation on the front page everywhere, and set up a feeding frenzy as the media tried to climb all over each other to throw mud at one of the heretofore last unsullied great names in sports.  Now, as I suspected, we find out that they really had nothing on Wayne, and misrepresented what they had to get themselves headlines:

One of Canada's all-time great
heroes may get the change to keep that title, after a long week in an
ugly spotlight. The heat's being taken off Wayne Gretzky.

Gretzky was
beaten down by the media spotlight since early February, when his wife
and assistant coach were implicated in an alleged illegal gambling
ring. Gretzky was pulled into the fray a couple of days later, when
sources suggested he was in the loop on the whole thing. But there's
new information on a wiretap conversation between Wayne Gretzky and
Rich Tocchet, which seems to support Gretzky's contention that he had
no prior knowledge of an illegal gambling ring allegedly involving

It turns out the conversation on how Gretzky's wife
could avoid being named as a participant was recorded last Monday, the
day after Janet Jones allegedly won money betting on the Super Bowl.
Also, Gretzky's wife Jane was alleged to have laid a half million
dollars in bets -- but that also appears to have been false
information. It's believed she only bet about a fifth of that.

OMG, I guess they told the truth -- they did have tapes that showed Wayne Gretzky knew about the abuses.  Of course, what they did not say last week was that the tapes were made AFTER the whole mess became public.  OK, I confess, I too knew about the bettin scandal after it became public.  There goes my reputation.

Unfortunately, our country is increasingly being operated as if we have a inalienable right to be titillated that trumps stuff like, oh, due process.  I made a similar observation in response to leaks of grand jury testimony on steroids.  I also recently posted on prosecutorial abuses in the Enron trials.

Update:  Apparently, NJ prosecutors are now saying that the bets Janet Gretsky allegedly made are not even illegal in the state of NJ.  So they leaked damaging information about both the Gretsky's "involvement", then 2 weeks later let the other shoe drop and made it clear they really didn't do anything illegal.  It couldn't be clearer that the police and prosecutors released the Gretsky's names to the press to grab the front-line headlines they were not getting with their B-list targets.