Simmons goes on the attack

Hartford — U.S. Senate hopeful Rob Simmons on Monday condemned his Republican primary opponent, Linda McMahon, for seeking to alert the target of a steroid probe in the late 1980s that he was under federal investigation.

In a press conference held on the north steps of the state Capitol, Simmons said that McMahon’s 1989 memo urging an associate to alert Dr. George Zahorian that federal agents were investigating his sales of steroids — including to wrestlers at the World Wrestling Federation — showed a lack of respect for the law.

McMahon’s insistence that she does not remember why she tried to alert Zahorian smacked of “selective amnesia,” Simmons said.

“This is the stuff of a mystery novel, and Hollywood thrillers,” Simmons said. “It does not add credibility to a U.S. Senate campaign. These are the actions of someone who does not respect the law, and it leads one to ask the question, ‘How can you respect the law if you don’t feel bound by them?’

“Mrs McMahon claims she doesn’t remember the details of any of these events,” he added. “That is not credible. It reflects a pattern of false and misleading statements, a refusal to answer questions, and selective amnesia. Mrs. McMahon is building her Senate candidacy entirely on her business experience at the WWE. She needs to be held accountable for that very troubling record.”

McMahon, he said, should “answer the questions that have been put to her” about the purpose of the 1989 memo — which prosectutors in the Titan Sports trial in 1994 claimed had led a WWF executive to order Zahorian to destroy records that might link wrestlers to Zahorian’s steroid sales.

Zahorian was ultimately convicted of illegally selling steroids, and sentenced to three years in federal prison. He was a witness for the prosecution in the federal trial of Vince McMahon and Titan Sports three years later.

Simmons’ comments were among the most direct and forceful criticisms he has made of McMahon and the steroids scandal that threatened her company in the mid-1990s, when Vince McMahon, Linda McMahon’s husband, and the family company, Titan Sports, were indicted on distribution of steroids and conspiracy charges.

Most of those charges were eventually dismissed, however, and on the one conspiracy charge that went to a jury, Vince McMahon and Titan Sports were acquitted in 1994.

A spokesman for McMahon, Ed Patru, held court with reporters after Simmons’ press conference, and blasted the former three-term congressman’s remarks as “reckless and outrageous and irresponsible,” especially a suggestion that McMahon’s memo amounted to a “coverup” and “obstruction of justice.”

“I’ll suggest to you the reason why Rob Simmons has hemorrhaged 37 points in the polls and lost his lead is because he has no ideas,” Patru said. “He’s more focused on talking about wrestling and running smear campaigns than he is on putting forward any ideas on how we get people back to work and turn this economy around.”


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