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ESPN's release of phone conversation leads to fallout

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: ESPN's release of phone conversation leads to fallout
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Syracuse University's decision to fire Bernie Fine comes less than 24 hours after a recording was released by ESPN of a phone conversation between the man who has accused Fine of sexual abuse and a woman identified as Fine's wife.

Our Iris St. Meran shares some of the excerpts from the phone conversation released by ESPN and has more on its legal implications.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Sunday morning brought another bombshell in the investigation into SU assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. ESPN broadcasted a phone conversation between a woman, believed to be Fine's wife Laurie and the man accusing him of sexual abuse, Bobby Davis. The call was reportedly taped by Davis in 2002.

"Fine: What did he want you to do? You can be honest with me.
Davis: So, what do you think, What he always does.
Fine: What? He wants you to grab him? Or bl** him?
Davis: No, he's... He's trying to make me... No, he'd try to make me grab him, I mean, he's like- but at first he would grab me and start, you know touching me...
Fine: But you never had any oral sex with him?
Davis: No.
Fine: No.
Davis: He, he... I think he would want to, but...
Fine: Oh, of course, he would! Why wouldn't he? I know everything that went on."

Legal experts said the information discussed in this conversation probably won't be used against Bernie Fine, but it's important for the prosecution especially when it comes to questioning Bernie Fine's wife if she is brought before a grand jury.

"You would imagine that investigators would question her and perhaps put her under oath at some point. Because the information, this goes directly to the accusations, her belief as to what happened, as well as the circumstances surrounding the relationship. There's a lot more detail here," said Legal Eagle Paul DerOhannesian.

One detail that did come out in this conversation is the question of more victims.

"Davis: Do you think I'm the only one that he's ever done that to?
Fine: No...I, I think geared to, there was something about you."

The Syracuse Post Standard reports there is a third accuser. Zach Tomaselli spoke with the paper saying Fine abused him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel.

The Post Standard also reports Tomaselli is facing charges where he lives now in Maine of sex assault charges against a child. His estranged father who lives in Jefferson County says his son is lying and that his son never traveled with the team.

DerOhannesian says this new accusation combined with this tape shows why this investigation has restarted and adds more weight to the case and likely how police officials were able to get a search warrant for Fine's home, which they carried out on Friday.
Fine has been on administrative leave since these allegations came out earlier this month. We have reached out the University to comment on the latest developments, but have not heard back at this time.

Fine's attorneys released a statement saying Fine will not comment on newspaper stories beyond his initial statement. Bernie Fine has called the allegations "patently false."

STATEMENT FROM DONALD MARTIN AND KARL SLEIGHT, ATTORNEYS FOR BERNIE FINE:

Mr. Fine will not comment on newspaper stories beyond his initial statement. Any comment from him would only invite and perpetuate ancient and suspect claims.

Mr. Fine remains hopeful of a credible and expeditious review of the relevant issues by law enforcement authorities.

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