Simmons blasts rival McMahon's WWE steroids memo

By Susan Haigh
AP Political Writer / April 12, 2010

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HARTFORD, Conn.—Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons on Monday accused his rival for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, Linda McMahon, of interfering with a 20-year-old criminal investigation into steroid use by wrestlers.

Simmons, who spoke to reporters at the state Capitol, said he is troubled by a 1989 confidential memo that McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, wrote to a staff member. It instructed the employee to stop a ring doctor from attending company wrestling events and to "clue him in on any action that the Justice Department is thinking of taking" against him for steroid distribution.

The memo, which was included in court records, was reported Friday evening by The Day of New London.

Simmons said McMahon "interfered in a federal criminal investigation in order to cover up links between the WWE and the steroid dealer, Dr. George Zahorian."

The memo was referred to in the 1994 indictment of McMahon's husband, Vince, and Titan Sports, the firm that operated the World Wrestling Federation -- now called WWE -- on steroids-related charges.

Two of the charges ultimately were dismissed. Vince McMahon and Titan were acquitted of a third charge. Linda McMahon was not charged with any crimes.

Ed Patru, a spokesman for McMahon's campaign, called it "a reckless and outrageous and irresponsible thing" to suggest McMahon interfered in the criminal case against Zahorian, who ultimately was sentenced to three years in federal prison.

Patru noted that the memo, which a judge and jury reviewed in the 1994 case, did not lead to any obstruction of justice charges against McMahon.

"I think the voters understand that when a court case that happened 17 years ago was litigated and the defense was cleared and exonerated on all charges, that that speaks for itself," he said.

Simmons, who's looking ahead to the May 21 convention when a Republican candidate will be nominated, said even the appearance of obstructing justice can be a problem.

"Look, you don't have to be convicted, you don't even have to be indicted, for legitimate questions to be raised about your candidacy," he said. "It's a higher standard, based on the idea that public office is a public trust."

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