John Ziegler Makes the Case That Joe Paterno Was Set Up

Joe Paterno, who has the most victories of any coach in major college football history, was fired in 2011 by Penn State in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, and the university’s failure to act to halt further harm. The firing sent shockwaves through the state of Pennsylvania and the US. Sandusky is now serving a sentence of 30-60 years in prison.

John Ziegler, radio talk show host and documentary filmmaker, has followed the case extensively and joined The Glenn Beck Program on Wednesday to discuss how he thinks Paterno was set up --- and Sandusky is innocent.

Enjoy the complimentary clip above or read the transcript below for details.

GLENN: Author, writer for Mediaite and host of the podcast, World According To Zig on John Ziegler is in the studios with us.

Jerry Sandusky is back in the news right now. If you don't remember the name, give me less-than-a-minute recap of Penn State.

JOHN: In November of 2011, Jerry Sandusky, former defensive coordinator for Penn State, a very famous coach, but had been retired for many years, was arrested on child molestation charges. Joe Paterno was fired, the legendary football coach at Penn State, three days -- three or four days later, along with the president of Penn State, Graham Spanier.

Sandusky was convicted. Penn State paid out almost $100 million in settlements. This week, two Penn State administrators pled guilty to a misdemeanor after the conspiracy charges after five and a half years were dropped. Next week, Graham Spanier, the former president of Penn State, will stand trial on these very same charges. He is innocent. He will not plead guilty, unless something really bizarre happens. And an innocent man's life is on the line.

But to me, Glenn, this story is much bigger than Penn State. Much bigger than even Graham Spaniard's freedom or Joe Paterno's legacy.

I have no collection to Penn State at all. I stupidly got involved in this five and a half years ago because the story, to use a phrase we now are all very familiar with, sounded immediately to me like "fake news." And as you guys know -- we've done some stories together before -- I have a pretty good nose for this kind of thing.

And I have coached high school football in several different states. I've covered college football, pro football. I understand the culture. Have no connection to Penn State. In fact, I actually have disdain for Penn State now, after five and a half years of this. But I also understand the way the news media works. And I got involved in this, just trying to find out what the heck the truth was, presuming that Jerry Sandusky was guilty as hell. That was my presumption at the beginning of this. But the Joe Paterno angle just never made any sense. Because there was this idea that there was a cover-up, that he had been told by an assistant coach, Mike McQueary, that Gary had abused the boy sexually and Paterno did nothing. And Penn State just decided to pretend it never happened. It made no sense for 100 million reasons. But one of which was, Sandusky was retired. He wasn't even part of the program at that point. And not to mention, it didn't fit with the culture of Penn State, nor college football as I know it. Well, as I got deeper and deeper into it --

PAT: And it certainly didn't fit with the character of Joe Paterno.

JOHN: Exactly.

JEFFY: No kidding.

JOHN: Joe Paterno was a stellar coach.

PAT: He's a legend. He's a legend.

JOHN: On and off the field, the most winning coach in the history of college football. But also ran a stellar football program. No hint of scandal. And a guy who was a squeaky clean, you know, 1950's kind of conservative Republican. By the way, friends of the Bush family.

JEFFY: Yeah, beloved.

GLENN: Right. But we -- we oftentimes see people that are -- that are living a double life, and you're like, well, they can't be.

JOHN: Right. Right.

GLENN: It was always the quiet one on the street that ended up having the heads in the refrigerator.

JOHN: Well, I understand that. And that's part -- there's so many elements of the perfect storm here. One of which is that this story breaks in Pennsylvania, not long after the whole Catholic church scandal.

GLENN: Right.

JOHN: And because of that, it sets a prism through which everybody, especially in the news media, they see this. They see Paterno as the Pope. They see the administrators as the cardinals. They see Sandusky, oh, he's the pedophile priest. And they see the Penn State football fans as, oh, these are the Catholic partitioners who love their phenomenal so much, their religion of football, that they're willing to look the other way and pretend that a pedophile didn't really exist. That was a narrative that fit.

GLENN: Yeah, but that narrative is real in many cases. People don't want to look at this stuff.

JOHN: I understand that. But that's what set this case up for a massive injustice.

So as I got involved more and more and I was just looking for the truth, I interviewed Sandusky, not once, but twice in prison for six hours, plus. Went on the Today Show, not once, but twice. The second time Matt Lauer very nicely declared my career to be dead three years ago, this week. But I figured, okay. If you're going to die on a hill, this is a pretty good hill to die on. And trust me, I've taken enough bullets to understand the reality of that.

What I realized was that the only way to make this case make any sense at all is that shockingly, the part of the case that no one took a look at, no one bothered to do the math on, the Jerry Sandusky element is a myth. That Jerry Sandusky is, in fact, innocent. And it's not even close. That's what's so amazing about this.

But we start a domino effect. The Joe Paterno firing. And people who are not from Pennsylvania can't fully understand the psychological impact of the firing of Joe Paterno. This was a nuclear explosion over this entire case. It was like people's entire lives had been turned upside down.

JEFFY: No kidding.

JOHN: This was worse than the Trump election for liberals. Everything is upside down. And in reality, to understand this case fully, you have to understand that the moment of Paterno's firing, all the incentives in this case get flipped upside down. Everybody's incentives are now perverse. All the white hats turn into black hats, and the black hats turn into white hats.

And from that moment on, we have a domino effect of injustice. I like to use the metaphor that this whole case is a painting that everyone looks at and goes, "This makes no damn sense." And I came along and said, "Here's why." I flipped it upside down. And people go, "Oh, my gosh."

GLENN: Okay. So flip it upside down.

JOHN: Here's what happens. The real story of this is the classic case of when people think they're doing the right moral thing, stopping pedophilia or injustice against children. And they become invested in a myth.


JOHN: I'll use -- this audience will understand the parallel to global warming. Okay. This is man-made global warming because we have a consensus of science, allegedly, and because we are doing the right thing for humanity, you are a bad person if you disagree. If you even question it, you are a bad person.

Well, that's what happened in this case. I'm the bad person. I'm the bad person who actually said --

GLENN: Because you're viewed not as saying, "Wait a minute. Let's look for the truth." You're looked upon as a guy who wants to let a pedophile get away.

JOHN: Exactly. And so why is it that I'm the guy? Because I'm sure that's what a lot of people are asking.

STU: The first thing I did when I saw you tweeting about this was check to see if you graduated from Penn State. It was the first thing I did.

JEFFY: I know. I know.

JOHN: Right. I went to Georgetown University. Okay. That's number one.

Number two, I have zero financial motive at all. My website,, takes no ads. I have hundreds of videos on YouTube. No ads. I have purposely lost money on this case.

My career, as Lauer predicted, has been crap because of this. And my wife, I don't know why she has stuck with me through it all. And I know I'm right. And it's not close. I can go through detail by detail as to why this happened the way that it did. But mostly it happened because the focus shifted at the beginning of the case -- think about this case as a mathematical equation. A complex mathematical equation. One number times another number times another number. Everyone thought the first number was something other than zero. Well, I did the math and said, "Wait a minute. The first number is zero." Which means the whole equation, zero times anything is still going to be zero.

And the thing about this, Glenn, which is really incredibly frustrating to me, I'm not the only guy who knows this. Almost everybody on the inside of this story knows it, including the three administrators, who were facing trial, two of whom pled guilty to a misdemeanor this week, the other Graham Spanier, who faces trial next week. And people on the Penn State board of trustees know this.

But everyone is afraid to talk about it. There's never been a case where fear, cowardice, and stupidity reigned more supreme than this one. Because everyone is afraid of the news media. And they are now, like -- trying to tell the news media the truth about this case is like trying to convince a 5-year-old that Santa Claus doesn't exist. They are completely and totally invested.

GLENN: So you're saying that the number -- the reason why that number is zero is because the victim -- victim number one is lying.

JOHN: Yes. And that's -- and it's important to point out. That's a great way to phrase it. Victim number one is a guy by the name of Aaron Fisher. He wrote a book. I presume from my first two years of this investigation he must be telling the truth. Because I was told child abuse victims never lie. And, you know, he -- he made himself known publicly. The only trial accuser that did so. He did an interview with Chris Cuomo on 20/20, which if you look at now on YouTube, you can tell he's not telling the truth because he doesn't act like a sex abuse victim at all and said very suspicious things. But I spent two years not even worrying about him. I now have 12 people on the record, on audio. I haven't released all of them at But most of them. Twelve people, incredibly close to him. I'm talking, aunts very close. Buddies from the time period of the allegation. Parents of the buddies of the time period of the allegation. Girlfriends. People who sponsored a rally on his behalf when his book came out. Twelve people against their own self-interests to have all said they're positive he's lying. Positive.

I've been -- his mom -- his mom, who if you believe his story -- his story is preposterous. And it's important to point out, he's the only accuser in this case for two and a half years. He's the only one. And during a grand jury investigation. His mom, the story goes, this is under her watch, he goes to Jerry Sandusky as a 12 to 14-year-old. One of the things -- misperceptions about this case is somehow these were six, seven, 8-year-old boys. No, these were all 12, 13, 14-year-old boys, which Jerry is a coach. These are when kids become athletes. That's why he took an interest in that age of kid. He's a very naive, I think stupid in a lot of ways, guy who is very religious and who never dreamed that anybody was going to think that this was somehow nefarious. He devoted his life to kids.

The mom, who under his -- her watch, he gets abused by her trial testimony, 100 times. One hundred times as a 13, 14-year-old. By the way, while he's dating girls and having sex with them, according to his buddies, she is now driving a -- a Mercedes, a Jaguar, a Cadillac Escalade and living in a giant house. Now, how in the world any mother could possibly have the lack of guilt to drive those cars when it's money that was gotten because you were such a bad mom, you kept feeding your son to a horrendous pedophile is beyond me. But that's one very tiny tip of this entire humongous iceberg.

The reason that this is so important is, if he's lying -- and I know that he is -- he's what they use to build the rest of the case. This became whisper down the lane. This becomes the Loch Ness Monster. Nobody thought there was a Loch Ness Monster until people started saying there was a Loch Ness Monster. Now, all of a sudden, everybody is trying to get the damn Loch Ness Monster. Well, there is no Loch Ness Monster in real life, and there's no Loch Ness Monster in this story. And there's no evidence where there should be O.J. Simpson-like evidence, Glenn. We're five and a half years into this thing, multiple investigations, an alleged cover-up that disintegrates, and yet there's nothing. There's nothing. Other than testimony of people who were paid millions of dollars. The settlement process was a sham. I have a fake accuser who went to the number one lawyer in this case, in a sting operation. We have incredibly damning audio.

GLENN: Okay. I want to go there. At the top of the hour, I want to take you to the sting operation. Because you've heard the audio of the sting operation. And we can't play them yet because I guess of legal maneuvering.

JOHN: Well, you don't want to go to jail for me, do you, Glenn?

GLENN: Yeah. No, I don't. But Stu has heard the audiotape. And if it is as described -- I have not heard it -- it's pretty remarkable.

STU: I think it's important too. Because you mentioned accuser one. But I think people think in their head, accuser one is the kid in the shower that Mike McQueary saw. He said he saw this happen. And he testified to actually visually seeing the assault go on.

JOHN: Right.

STU: And that's the one that sits on -- because there's ten total? Because that's the big one.

JOHN: Let's talk about that one. Absolutely.


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