The U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa has officially terminated the Home Shopping Network Inc. (HSN) grand jury investigation. This means that after almost 14 months of continuous investigation and the expenditure of very substantial investigative resources, the U.S. Attorney's Office did not find any credible evidence of criminal wrongdoing at HSN.
Although I firmly believe the HSN investigation was fundamentally flawed from the beginning, I also believe the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa, and particularly the newly appointed U.S. Attorney Larry H. Colleton, should be commended for making the right decision to terminate the investigation. Many former and current HSN employees were very concerned in light of a historically venal and capricious U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa, the national media "feeding frenzy" created by the investigation and the substantial expenditure of time and investigative resources, that the U.S. attorney would present an indictment to the grand jury even if no credible evidence of criminal wrongdoing existed. Fortunately, this concern about a miscarriage of justice was ill-founded, and our confidence has been restored in the U.S. Attorney's Office under the new leadership of Larry Colleton.
In my view, the HSN investigation was prompted primarily by the scurrilous allegations of a disgruntled former HSN senior manager who, HSN's new management claimed in various court documents, was fired for lying to Gerry Hogan, HSN's new chief executive officer, guilty of misusing his position at HSN to engage in significant insider stock trading and a failed extortionist. Although this disgruntled senior manager made many wild, unfounded allegations against HSN, in my view, his principal calumny was that HSN, like some New York mafia family, was really a criminal enterprise. This charge is preposterous and a true "blood libel" for all the men and women, many of whom have remained my dear friends, who worked so hard to make HSN a world-class company that created thousands of new jobs for the Tampa Bay area.