The battle over jurisdiction in the Bernie Fine case continues to carry its share of fallout. YNN's Bill Carey says the Onondaga County DA, boxed out of the main investigation, has found a way to look into the case that may have damaged the primary probe.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick made no secret of the fact that he was angry over Syracuse Police efforts to block him from taking part in the Bernie Fine investigation. They had taken the case to the U.S. Attorney's office.
But even as federal agents were carrying out the primary investigation, Fitzpatrick said he was reviewing other parts of the case, ranging from an early, aborted investigation by police, to a review of the case done by Syracuse University six years ago.
In the process, Fitzpatrick said he had made judgments on the credibility of witnesses. And the main accuser of Bernie Fine, he says, passed the test.
“On almost every single criteria, Bobby Davis came out as a credible person,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick also says Davis' step-brother, Michael Lang, appeared to be believable. But, a third accuser, Zach Tomaselli, was a different story.
“His story is his story. It's very easily verifiable or not verifiable. And, certainly, I don't think it's unreasonable. You would want to know, is he telling the truth?” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick cited basketball team travel and hotel records and even Tomaselli's attendance records from high school as items he will hand over to the Fine defense team.
Fitzpatrick said, “Any of those questions should be referred to the United States Attorney. They're the one that used him to get a search warrant.”
“You don't give him credibility, though?” a reporter asked.
“Anybody else?” Fitzpatrick asked.
In his comments in the news conference and in the information he says he will turn over to defense attorneys, William Fitzpatrick may have opened the door for a challenge to the ongoing investigation by the U.S. Attorney.
And, in fact, Fine's defense team jumped on the information. Thanking the DA for fulfilling his ethical obligations, saying there appears now there is proof that Tomaselli fabricated this allegation. The U.S. Attorney's investigation was targeted by the defense which says the notion that Tomaselli could be relied on to procure a warrant to search is alarming.
Fitzpatrick telling reporters his office should have handled the case and should have handled it from the start.
“This case was never reported to me as an incidence of sexual abuse allegations against Bernie Fine,” Fitzpatrick said.
“Was it mentioned to you?” our reporter asked.
“No,” replied Fitzpatrick.
Syracuse Police and the U.S. Attorney's office had no comment on DA Fitzpatrick's news conference.