Archive for May 18th, 2009

ARCHIVE 5/5/08: Dave Meltzer Misses the Point on Benoit Voicemail

Dave Meltzer Misses the Point on Benoit Voicemail

Monday, May 5th, 2008

In a comment on his update today at the Wrestling Observer website, Dave Meltzer pulls off the daily double of being both cryptic and weak.

“There is … an article [at SLAM!] by Irv Muchnick on the Chris Benoit case,” Meltzer writes. “He was critical of the police department and absence of certain records, although at the same time, I don’t think there is anything in any evidence that will explain what happened.”

Meltzer is the dean of wrestling journalists and all that. Still, readers might want to take a gander at the piece at http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Wrestling/GuestColumn/2008/05/04/5467876.html and decide for themselves whether “absence of certain records” might be a tad passive for a description of more than a day’s worth of calls that seem to have been willfully wiped off the log of Chris Benoit’s cell phone activity, and of the sheriff’s report’s failure to produce primary-source cell voicemail.

As I’ve told Meltzer directly, his item also carries the misleading implication that I think these serious investigative gaps could “explain” the double homicide/suicide. Like everything I’ve written about the case, my SLAM! article clearly states that these questions pertain to the surrounding narrative, not to the crime itself.

Is Meltzer trying to say that as long as Chris killed Nancy, Daniel, and himself, it doesn’t matter what WWE, a publicly traded company, might have said or done between Saturday afternoon and Monday afternoon?

If so, I disagree.

Irv Muchnick

ARCHIVE 5/5/08: Scott James = Scott Armstrong

Scott James = Scott Armstrong

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Greg Oliver, wrestling writer-editor extraordinaire, reminds me to remind everyone that Scott James is better known as ex-wrestler and now ECW referee Scott Armstrong. James/Armstrong, along with Chavo Guerrero, received Chris Benoit’s final strange text messages on the morning of Sunday, June 24, 2007.

Irv Muchnick

ARCHIVE 5/4/08: Benoit Lost Voicemail Is Fishy: Evidence Expert

Benoit Lost Voicemail Is Fishy: Evidence Expert

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

My probe of the mystery of Chris Benoit’s missing cell phone voicemail — which I think leads to overall credibility questions about the closing report on the Benoit double murder/suicide by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office — took me to an expert in the field, Kevin Ripa of Computer Evidence Recovery, a firm specializing in information technology investigations and data recovery.

(Interesting side note: the company, http://www.computerpi.com, is based in Calgary. Not only that — Ripa says he has done work for the Hart family.)

Without getting into all the specifics, Ripa agreed with me that there is reason to question the conclusion of the sheriff that the Benoit voicemail is irretrievably lost.

Ripa said: “Assuming that Verizon told the police investigators that there was a system error, the question I would raise is, ‘What about the backup system?’ In my experience, lawyers and even law enforcement often don’t get the data they need because they don’t ask for it the right way. If Benoit’s voicemail was truly missing for good, that is a serious problem that would have affected thousands of other customers, as well. Verizon surely could have been pressed further on this point, instead of accepting its initial answer and simply dropping the goal of acquiring that piece of the record.”

This is not a story that will be going away soon.

Irv Muchnick

ARCHIVE 5/3/08: WRESTLING BABYLON Author Muchnick Interviewed for French TV Documentary

WRESTLING BABYLON Author Muchnick Interviewed for French TV Documentary

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Irvin Muchnick was interviewed today by reporter Sabrina Van Tassel for a documentary for the French television series L’Effet Papillon (”The Butterfly Effect”).

Muchnick — author of Wrestling Babylon, co-author of Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror That Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport, and at work on the forthcoming Chris and Nancy: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death — discusses deaths in wrestling on the program. The documentary is scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, May 25, at noon, on the CANAL + network.

ARCHIVE 5/2/08: WRESTLING BABYLON Is No. 1 Wrestling Book at Amazon Canada

WRESTLING BABYLON Is No. 1 Wrestling Book at Amazon Canada

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Wrestling Babylon: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandal, by Irvin Muchnick, published in April 2007, is now No. 1 in the Wrestling category at Amazon Canada (http://www.amazon.ca/Wrestling-Babylon-Piledriving-Tales-Scandal/dp/1550227610/ref=pd_sim_gw?ie=UTF8&qid=1201236411&sr=8-1).

ARCHIVE 5/2/08: Yo, Channel 2/Atlanta — Was the Benoit Story Your Bright Idea?

Yo, Channel 2/Atlanta — Was the Benoit Story Your Bright Idea?

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Yesterday I emailed Tom Regan, the WSB-TV, Channel 2/Atlanta reporter and weekend anchor who did a story Wednesday with some of the 23 messages left on Chris Benoit’s answering machine — which in turn were re-recorded by sheriff’s investigators at the crime scene on June 25, 2007.

The sheriff had recently added a CD of this audio to the open records file released in February. I listened to the CD last week and noted little of significance, except for an historical artifact: two messages left by Benoit’s friend and fellow wrestling great, Eddie Guerrero, in November 2005, the day before he died. I informed blog readers that I didn’t think uploading the audio to my website would serve any useful purpose.

Regan and his colleagues at Channel 2 obviously had a different take. I suggest their replay of a terminably cute message from 7-year-old Daniel Benoit — left some indeterminate amount of time before his father murdered him — was exploitation of lowest-common-denominator “if it bleeds it leads” principles. Channel 2 didn’t even mention the Eddie Guerrero messages, probably because they didn’t know who Eddie Guerrero was.

My email to Regan yesterday had questions about this process. Regan immediately emailed back wondering if I were available for “an exclusive interview.” I said yes. Regan then fell silent.

I’m as much of a media hound as the next guy. But if the Channel 2 folks think a sop to my vanity is a substitute for answers to questions that interest readers of this blog, they are mistaken. I reiterate the text of my Thursday email:

Dear Mr. Regan:

I saw your report last night on the Benoit answering machine messages. I am writing a book about the case. For full background on my work, see the links below.

At my blog, http://muchnick.net/babylon, I have been focusing for some time on the phone evidence. The home answering machine messages, which were “inadvertently” left out of the original open records release, have titillating nuggets, to be sure, and you played some of them. But the real story is the missing voicemail from Chris Benoit’s cell phone, and the arbitrary cutoff of the log of them in the addenda to the Fayette County sheriff’s February report closing the case.

My questions to you:

1. Are you aware of all this background?

2. Did you get the home answering message CD in a routine mailing from the Sheriff’s Office explaining and correcting the lapse to everyone who had earlier applied for the complete file of open records? Or was the CD leaked just to you as a way to plant this new story with a handful of calls that shed no real light on the timeline of that June 2007 weekend?

3. Are you pursuing the cell phone story?

I’ll follow up by phone.

Thanks,

Irv Muchnick

ARCHIVE 5/2/08: Highly Recommended Baltimore Sun Story on WWE Post-Benoit

Highly Recommended Baltimore Sun Story on WWE Post-Benoit

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Congratulations to reporter Childs Walker on an excellent job here:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/other/bal-sp.wrestling02may02,0,4992506.story


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