Defense attorney analyzes Fine tape

Bernie Fine / SU Athletics file photo

The recording is shocking to those who have heard it.

On Sunday, ESPN played an audiotape between Laurie Fine and Bobby Davis. Laurie Fine is the wife of former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, and Davis has accused Bernie Davis of molesting him years ago.

"I know everything that went on with him," Laurie said on the tape. "Bernie has issues, maybe that he's not aware of, but he has issues, and you trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted."

During the tape, which was recorded in 2002 by Davis, Laurie Fine never denies the allegations.

"In terms of the atmosphere of the investigation, the tape is devastating," says attorney Emil Rossi. "It delivers a real body blow that is not withstanding, I don't think there is anything on that tape that is of any evidentiary value whatsoever."

However, Rossi says the tape is missing specifics and is hearsay. While the conversation was about Bernie Fine, he was not part of it.

"What she says on the tape is not very factual in terms of times, places, incidents or specifics," Rossi said. "It's really kind of a list of impressions, all of which, would be in admissible even if she were on the stand."

The tape has raised the question: What is the legal responsibility of an adult who may suspect a child is being abused to report it?

"Ordinary citizens just don't have that responsibility," Rossi said. "Certain caretakers do, psychologists do, psychiatrists do, doctors do, social workers do, counselors in school do."

While the tape answers some questions, others remain.

Rossi says, "I do think there is a commonsensical question with respect to the tape that's important and it's this: If he really wanted to get confirmation of what did or didn't happen with Bernie Fine, the person to dial up was not Bernie Fine's wife, but Bernie Fine."

Fine was fired from Syracuse University on Sunday.