Saturday, November 25, 2017
By Bob Mims
October 29, 2017
Historian Craig Harline could boast, if he were the type to do so, of his nine authoritative books, numerous essays and popularity as an international lecturer on all things related to the Protestant Reformation. In leading universities and libraries abroad, the 61-year-old scholar is a welcome researcher on religious life in the Western Europe of 500 years ago.
Yet, Harline acknowledges, the question frequently arises: Is it possible for a professor of history at LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University to be unbiased writing about the Catholic Church and the myriad Protestant movements that broke away from Rome in the wake of German monk Martin Luther’s legendary nailing of his “95 Theses” to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church on Oct. 31, 1517?
To address that and other issues about his latest book, “A World Ablaze: The Rise of Martin Luther and the Birth of the Reformation,” the BYU professor participated in a question-and-answer interview (edited for clarity and length):
Q • Do you get some raised academic eyebrows over your Mormon background, writing about Martin Luther and the Protestant reformation?
A • That does seem important to other people, and I always tell my students that when they evaluate a book, try to learn something about the author. But I also stress to them that just because [the writer] is from a certain school or area, or belongs to a certain religion, that doesn’t mean their writing will be entirely predictable or go a certain way. Still, that [his Mormon upbringing and BYU position] is a red flag to some people.
Q • Does a historian need to be unsullied by his or her own religious background? Do you set that aside, sort of divorce yourself temporarily from it?
A • Well, nobody can be completely objective, but I try. The idea when writing about [historical figures and events] is, “What this meant to them.” But I do believe you can be fair, that anyone with a religious background should be able to write about Luther or anything else fairly.
Q • Still, Luther and other reformers are seen by Mormons as forerunners of their own “restoration of the [LDS] gospel” aren’t they?
A • The thing that drove Luther into religious life [as a Catholic monk] ... was the theology of salvation and how we are “justified“ before God. He wasn’t the first to come up with the idea of “justification by faith alone” [but] when he accepted that, everything changed for him.
[That] wasn’t necessarily an un-Catholic position, but was just a minority at that moment. ... It wasn’t that wild of an idea, and it wasn’t [declared] heretical until 1545, almost 30 years [after the 95 Theses incident]. There is something analogous in Mormonism. The mainstream position probably is “do all that you can do and God will do the rest.” But there is a small tradition that believes [in salvation] by justification of faith alone ... go ahead and do anything you want, but you’re still going to be saved by grace.
Q • Luther’s break with Rome has resulted in numerous versions of Lutheranism alone and, beyond that, an estimated 9,000 to 30,000 other Protestant denominations. What would Luther think of that?
A • That’s not what he intended at all. What he intended was to make the Bible supreme. Catholic theologians were confused about that, they said, “Of course the Bible is supreme; the question is who has the supreme right to interpret it, and to them that was the pope — that’s how you keep order in the church.”
[Catholic theologians feared] that if you allowed everybody to think they could become the supreme interpreter of the Bible, then there would only be chaos; they ended up being right about that particular part.
Luther, I think, would be upset that people would come to such conclusions. He was pretty confident that if people studied the Bible and understood it truly, they would come to the conclusions he did, as well. But he was the one who brought it [the chaos] about by insisting the Bible was supreme. That really was the fundamental change with the Reformation.
Q • You wrote about Luther’s self-doubts and his tendency to see [himself under attack by] demons. One time, he thought a black dog was a demon and tossed it out a castle window? Do think that Martin Luther was a little crazy?
A • Certainly, you could use psychology [other writers have] to come to some sort of clinical diagnosis of what he was. But I wouldn’t say he was any more crazy that anyone else then. He had a particular personality that inclined him toward certain things, and he was especially sensitive about the state of his soul; he really had a sensitive personality. ... And there were people who accused him of being a “tool of the devil.” That was a way in the 16th century of saying “you’re crazy". But no, he was just a man of his time.
Q • Even when he was still alive, there were [printer’s] imprints, woodcuts and so on that portrayed Luther with a halo. But he wasn’t afraid of getting down in the gutter with his language. Was that, too, him being a man of his time — or was he just especially crude?
A • That was part of his inclination to believe that God showed himself in even the humblest places . ... He liked to tease that he got his big insights ... in the latrine or outhouse part of his monastery. And why shouldn’t God appear there? The lowliest place on Earth was the cross [and that was] to God’s greater glory.
[His coarse, usually scatological, language in rebutting foes] was not uncommon, even for professors of the time, to use strong language that maybe could make us blanch a little bit today. [I tried in the book] to show him as flesh and blood, and that all of his virtues as well as his vices.
Q • Your account of Luther’s final days and hours was touching. But it did seem like he was gritting his teeth to maintain his conviction that he had been on the right path?
A • He sometimes worried that he had led the whole world to hell, because he saw the Peasant Wars [a rebellion against landowners and nobles] and they were kind of claiming Luther as their inspiration. He was really against violence [and] when he saw people using violence to promote his version of the gospel, that got him really upset. He [also] had these periods of doubt ... but he felt that was part of being a “true Christian,” as well. He called it the “theology of the cross,” that, ironically, you had to suffer to get God’s glory, that it was through the cross that glory happened.
Q • What would you say was Luther’s greatest impact, beyond the churches today bearing his name?
A • Definitely, it would be the division of Christendom. ... That is what resulted from his insistence that the Bible was the supreme arbiter and supreme standard of religious truth. Also, his resistance to the pope, because once you say the pope isn’t the head of the church, that maybe the princes are heads of the church, there goes your “central religion” as well.
By Ralph Peters
November 24, 2017
The al-Rawdah mosque targeted by Islamic extremists on Friday
Friday’s bloodthirsty attack on a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula during noontime prayers was a crime against all humanity. It wasn’t “just” an attack on Muslims. It was an attack on all of us who believe in civilization, tolerance and decency. At least 235 peaceful worshippers died, with more than 100 wounded.
One is tempted to call it the work of beasts, but no creature in the animal kingdom behaves with such avid, calculated cruelty.
Yet, the attack can be explained — though the explanation only makes it worse.
Islamist fanatics struck with bombs and automatic weapons, slaughtering first the faithful, then first responders. The reversed ratio of dead to wounded (usually more are wounded than killed) tells us how potent the explosions were and how carefully the attack had been planned and executed.
And it was no coincidence that the al-Rawdah Mosque was frequented by Sufis, the mystical, tolerant strain of Islam that finds joy, rather than a slavemaster, in its deity. Sufism has been the spiritual home of poets, such as Rumi or Hafez Shirazi. Sufi orders embraced music and even dance as expressions of faith. Sufis venerate saints, and some of their beloved figures quite liked wine. Sufi orders differ, as do Christian denominations, but none threatens the world with terror these days.
The greatest sheiks of Sufism had more in common with Catholic mystics, such as St. John of the Cross, or Protestants like Emanuel Swedenborg, than with the punitive, barracks-discipline Wahhabism funded by Saudi Arabia and enforced by terrorists. If you crossed a Quaker with an Episcopalian, with a soundtrack of Catholic plainchant, you’d get something like a Sufi.
In Judaism, the closest equivalent would be the Hasidim and the transcendent warmth they discover in God. Sufism at its purest yields exaltation, not the executions beloved of terrorists.
Naturally, the Islamic State, al Qaeda and their offshoots hate all Sufis, regarding them as heretics and enemies of Islam. Sufis focus on the inner relationship to God. Islamist fanatics focus on outward behaviors. With various Sufi orders practicing from Turkey to India, Sufism remains true to the humane undercurrent of a troubled faith.
Not that Sufism has a perfect history. As with all creeds, it’s had its highs and lows, ages of glory and eras of backwardness. But Sufism provides a path as close as Islam has come to that longed-for Islamic reformation of which we’ve heard so much superficial talk.
Friday’s attack was probably the work of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the terror organization in the Sinai that pledges loyalty to the Islamic State. We’ll see what claims of responsibility arise, but, meanwhile, there’s more bad news.
Also on Friday, 16 Egyptian police officers were reported killed in a shootout with Islamist militants on the other side of the country, toward the Libyan border. All of this — along with countless attacks on Egyptian Christians — should alert us to the imperiled state of the most-populous Middle Eastern nation (96 million), the keystone securing the Arab world.
Nor is relief in sight. With the destruction of the Islamic State caliphate straddling the Syrian-Iraqi border, Islamist terrorists are looking for new homes and new targets. We’ll see still more terror in fragile or disordered states, just as the terrorists will continue to attempt to strike the West. But, as always, most of their victims will be fellow Muslims.
Religious fanaticism — not just from today’s terrorists — has touched every inhabited continent. Every great faith has spun off fanatical movements at one time or another. And religious fanatics cannot tolerate the least divergence from their rules. (Beware the man who tells you that he knows what God wants.) From Europe’s wars of religion to today’s persecution of Rohingya Muslims by Buddhists (yes, Buddhists), we humans have done and do unforgivable things in the name of faith. But it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the imaginative, merciless cruelty of the sort pursued by today’s Islamist butchers.
The Friday-prayers atrocity in the Sinai was an attack on every faith, on each innocent believer. If we possess any moral decency, we’ll condemn the attack as wholeheartedly as we do the attacks on our own soil.
Ralph Peters is Fox News’ strategic analyst.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
By Jack CashillNovember 20, 2017
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, Anita Hill's star is shining brighter than it has since the riveting Hill-Thomas hearings in 1991. "Hill gave voice to the silent indignities endured by women," wrote Jonathan Capehart recently in the Washington Post – Capehart being one of many pundits who made such claims without any substantiation whatsoever. In fact, the actual evidence strongly suggests that if Hill ever suffered indignities, Clarence Thomas did not inflict them.
The woman who would orchestrate the Thomas assassination watched the news of his nomination at her California home. "He's the one," Susan Hoerchner screamed to her husband. He was the one, Hoerchner recalled, whom her Yale Law school pal Anita Hill had fingered as a hound dog back in 1981 when both she and Hill worked in Washington. Ten years later, Hoerchner was serving as a low-level judge in California, but Hill had moved on to the law school of Oral Roberts University in her native Oklahoma, a humble teaching post Thomas had helped her secure.
Although no one would take credit for what happened that July of 1991, it seems likely that the politically savvy Hoerchner put the harassment story in play. Before the month was out, well wired media people like Tim Phelps of Newsday and Nina Totenberg of National Public Radio knew about the Hill allegations. So too did abortion activists like Kate Michelman, the national director of the National Abortion Rights Action League. Abortion, after all, was the cause that inspired the Borking.
Thomas expected the confirmation hearings in September to be brutal, and they were. He expected the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to zero in on abortion, and they did. He ducked and dodged as he had to and avoided any crippling blows. With his confirmation all but assured, the activists had no effective recourse but to surface Anita Hill.
They had been scheming to force Hill into the open for weeks. Hill, however, continued to vacillate. She did not want her name in play, and she certainly did not want to speak to the FBI, but Senate staffers continued to lean on her, as did her friend Hoerchner, as did the media.
Finally, on September 23, Hill faxed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee claiming that Thomas had pressured her to date him and talked graphically about sex in her presence. A staffer persuaded her to speak to the FBI, and this she reluctantly agreed to do. Later that same evening, two FBI agents interviewed her in Oklahoma. Hill proved oddly evasive. "She advised the interviewing Agents that she made the decision to prepare the statement after several telephone conversations with her personal friend, Susan Hoerchner," one of the FBI agents would later testify.
Thomas learned of the allegations two days later, when FBI agents came to his home to follow up on Hill's accusations. "When informed by the FBI agent of the nature of the allegations and the person making them," Thomas would testify, "I was shocked, surprised, hurt, and enormously saddened." He had never had an accusation like that leveled against him before.
In constructing her harassment narrative, Hill had some obvious inconsistencies to explain away. The most notable was why she had followed Thomas to the EEOC after he had harassed her at the Department of Education. In testifying, she offered the lame explanation that towards the end of their mutual tenure at the DOE, Thomas's behavior had somehow changed for the better.
"It appeared that the sexual overtures, which had so troubled me, had ended," she claimed with a straight face. Then, alas, the behaviors started up again at the EEOC. "He said, that if I ever told anyone of his behavior that it would ruin his career." So she kept quiet throughout the four prior Senate confirmations that Thomas had undergone, maintained a friendly relationship with him over the years, and even helped recruit him to Tulsa for a conference on civil rights law.
In the most stunning part of her testimony, Hill listed the abuses to which Thomas had allegedly subjected her. He pointed out a pubic hair on top of a coke can. He talked in detail about a porn star famously named "Long Dong Silver." He talked about his own sexual prowess. And he kept pressing her for dates, which she continued to decline.
When given the chance, Thomas did not apologize as his supporters advised but let the furies loose. "Senator," he said to a surprised Joe Biden, "I would like to start by saying unequivocally, uncategorically, that I deny each and every single allegation against me today." No one expected to hear this, certainly not with such ferocious conviction. Hill, after all, seemed so believable, and all Washington understood the risks of denying a woman's testimony.
"From my standpoint as a black American," Thomas thundered, "[the smear campaign] is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas." Thomas was just warming up.
"It is a message," Thomas continued, "that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree." As Thomas saw it, the "old order" was no longer Jim Crow. The new "old order" was progressivism.
Thomas, of course, survived the lynching, but the question remains as to whether Hill was telling the truth, at least about Clarence Thomas. Only one individual testified that Hill had complained about Thomas at the time of the alleged harassment in 1981. That was Susan Hoerchner. In her deposition for the Judiciary Committee, Hoerchner told of how she and Hill spoke regularly throughout 1981 when both lived in Washington. It was during this time that Hill confided in her that Thomas had been harassing her. In September 1981, Hoerchner left for California, and the conversations stopped. Here is how this played out in the deposition.
Q. And, in an attempt to try to pin down the date a little bit more specifically as to your first phone conversation about the sexual harassment issue in 1981, the year you mentioned, you said the first time you moved out of Washington was September of 1981; is that correct?
Q. Okay. Were you living in Washington at the time you two had this phone conversation?
Q. When she told you?
Q. So it was prior to September of 1981?
A. Oh, I see what you're saying.
Hoerchner and her attorney, future DHS honcho Janet Napolitano, promptly asked for a recess. Hoerchner had just subverted the timeline on which the case against Thomas rested. "I began working with Clarence Thomas in the early fall of 1981," Hill told the Judiciary Committee. "Early on, our working relationship was positive." By Hill's account, Thomas did not begin to pester her for roughly three months. At the earliest, that would have been December 1981, three months after Hoerchner left for California, three months after she and Hoerchner stopped talking on any kind of regular basis. Hoerchner, in fact, described her communication with Hill after September 1981 as "sporadic." In her deposition, she described only one post-Washington contact: that of meeting with Hill at a professional seminar in 1984.
After conferring with Napolitano, Hoerchner had a convenient change of memory. Now it was time for the friendly Democratic counsel to ask, "When you had the initial phone conversation with Anita Hill and she spoke for the first time about sexual harassment, do you recall where you were living – what city?" Answered Hoerchner, "I don't know for sure."
The author who first reported the Hoerchner angle was none other than professional chameleon David Brock. Once the scourge of the left, he morphed into progressive smear artist extraordinaire as impresario of Media Matters for America. Although he has tried to distance himself from his reportorial past, his work on Hoerchner's testimony holds up. He explained why in a New York Times op-ed attacking Anthony Lewis's 1993 review of his book,The Real Anita Hill.
The problem with Hoerchner, wrote Brock, went much deeper than "a harmless lapse of memory." Hoerchner, Brock explained, had been entirely clear on the regularity of her calls with Hill: when they took place, where they took place, and how they ended after Hoerchner moved. This all changed when a Senate lawyer pointed out the inconsistency in timing.
When Hoerchner came back from a hasty recess, she "was suddenly unable to recall anything about the time or place of the call. But she was now adamant that Ms. Hill had named Judge Thomas as the perpetrator, a point on which she had previously been unsure."
The inference that Brock made here and in his book was that if Hill had been harassed as she charged, the harasser was not Thomas. The giddy momentum behind the accusation took Hill to a place she did not really want to go. This happens.
The media have chosen to forget. With their help, Anita Hill has come to play the sacrificial victim role for the feminist movement in much the same way that Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin play that role for the Black Lives Matter movement. The reality is this: America's progressives have little or no regard for the truth. The case they make for Hill is as dishonest as the case they make for Martin or Brown. They owe Clarence Thomas a major apology.
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/11/dont_put_clarence_thomas_in_with_the_bad_boys.html#ixzz4z4mYY5er
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Monday, November 20, 2017
November 19, 2017
Outside of Lee’s Tavern, in the Dongan Hills neighborhood of Staten Island, a 1970s Thunderbird was wired to explode.
It was October 2017, but Hancock Street looked like it had time-tripped to 1975 — and morphed into Detroit. The facade of Lee’s had been done up with an awning that read “Nemo’s.” Next door, Karina’s barbershop had been adorned with a hand-painted logo on its window. Men in period-appropriate garb strolled the block. And Martin Scorsese orchestrated the whole scene.
The director has been shooting his next movie, “The Irishman,” around the tri-state area. A boat was blown up in Hempstead Harbor on Long Island, and stars Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci broke bread in character at the Italian eatery Colandrea New Corner in Dyker Heights. “[Pesci] asked if it would be OK to go out a side door in the kitchen to smoke cigarettes,” Joe Colandrea, the founder’s great-grandson told The Post. “He wanted to make sure nobody would bother him out there.”
It’s all to tell one of the most notorious stories of the late 20th century: the 1975 disappearance and presumed murder of Jimmy Hoffa, once the most powerful union boss on Earth.
Over the years, many people have speculated about what happened to Hoffa (played in the film by Al Pacino) and the whereabouts of his body, which has still never been found. Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (played by De Niro) claimed to have been the killer. Scorsese’s movie is based on a book by Sheeran’s lawyer, Charles Brandt, titled “I Heard You Paint Houses” — mobster code for “I heard you kill people.”
Sheeran allegedly shot his friend Hoffa in the head after luring him to a house in Detroit.
The book was published in 2004, the year after Sheeran died and nearly 29 years after the murder was committed. While it was too late for law enforcers to do much — Brandt said that they “dug up floorboards [of the murder site in 2013] for analysis and found human blood but could not tie it to one person” — Sheeran occupied a place on the FBI’s shortlist of possible suspects.
His confession to killing a man whom he called a friend illustrates the hard choices that come with a life dedicated to the Mafia. “Frank whacked guys,” Brandt said. “I estimate that he killed 25 to 30 people. He learned right away that you don’t say no.”
Unlike a lot of men who wind up killers for the Mafia, Sheeran was not bred for the life. He had a rough-and-tumble childhood in Darby, Pa., but no criminal connections. After joining the military in 1941, Sheeran was sent to Italy where he developed a knack for killing — a skill that would come in handy off the battlefield.
”His lieutenant told him that when you are commanded to ‘interrogate somebody and hurry back,’ you are going to kill the guy,” said Brandt.
In 1945, Sheeran moved to Philadelphia, where he would marry, have three daughters and get a job as a truck driver for a grocery chain. Two years later, he had his first brush with the law when he was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct after beating up two men in an altercation on a trolley.
In 1955, he had a chance meeting with Russell Bufalino, boss of the northeastern Pennsylvania crime family that bore his name. In short order, he began doing tasks for Bufalino, chauffeuring him and making deliveries.
Coincidentally, this was around when Sheeran was making extra dough by collecting money for small-time Philly loan sharks. Seduced by the lifestyle, Sheeran said yes when a local mobster called Whispers offered him $10,000 to burn down the office of Cadillac Linen Service, which was competing with a company that Whispers had an interest in.
But Sheeran was spotted while scoping out the place — and it turned out that Cadillac was owned by a friend of Bufalino’s.
“Because Frank had been seen in [Bufalino’s] company, the friend did not have Frank killed,” said Brandt. “But Frank was told to make it right by killing Whispers. That night was his first hit.”
In 1957, as a reward for pulling off the job, Bufalino introduced Sheeran to Jimmy Hoffa. The president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters labor union, Hoffa was notorious for Mafia ties, corruption and violence.
Hoffa needed somebody who could use muscle to silence enemies. He told Sheeran, “I heard you paint houses.” Sheeran replied yes and added, “I also do my own plumbing” — meaning, he disposed of the bodies too.
Sheeran grew close to Hoffa and received a lucrative union-boss job as president of the Local 326 in Wilmington, Del. That position had him rolling in under-the-table rewards for mob favors. More notably, he served as Hoffa’s muscle: beating up enemies, killing people trying to start rival unions, and running guns. Sheeran claimed to have transported rifles from Brooklyn to Florida for the killing of John F. Kennedy, adding credence to theories that Hoffa and the mob played a role in JFK’s assassination. The president, along with his brother Robert F. Kennedy, had strong disdain for the union corruption that Hoffa stirred up.
Robert Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa (Associated Press)
When Hoffa went to prison on racketeering charges in 1967, Sheeran continued working for the union chief who replaced him, Frank Fitzsimmons, as well as for Bufalino.
Per the book, one of Sheeran’s biggest hits happened in Little Italy on April 7, 1972: the murder of Colombo family mobster Joey “Crazy Joe” Gallo, at the behest of Bufalino.
It was known that Gallo would be celebrating his birthday at Umberto’s Clam House on Mulberry Street. Sheeran said that he walked inside, dressed casually, posing as a truck driver who needed to use the bathroom.
Then he detoured toward the to the table where Gallo and his crew sat. Although startled by the presence of a woman and little girl at the table, Sheeran had his marching orders and began shooting. Gallo headed for the door, making it outside before being taken down by three bullets.
Sheeran escaped in a waiting car. A day later, tales of the shooting dominated New York City tabloids. “Joe Gallo Slain” read The Post’s front page, complete with a photo of Gallo’s newlywed wife and her young daughter, both of whom had ducked for cover and emerged unscathed.
THE year that Gallo was murdered, Hoffa came out of prison eager to regain control of the International Teamsters. But Mafia kingpins didn’t want him back.
Heat on the persistent Hoffa leaked over to those in his camp. In the spring and summer of 1975, Hoffa supporter Dave Johnson, president of the Local 299 union in Detroit, started to receive hang-up calls at home. Then a bullet was fired through his window at union headquarters. Driving the point home, somebody blew up his 45-foot cruiser, docked in the Detroit River. Suspicions centered on Hoffa adversaries.
Revenge appeared to come on July 10. when Richard Fitzsimmons, son of Hoffa’s replacement, left Nemo’s, a Detroit bar popular with union big shots. As he walked to his new, white Lincoln Continental, it exploded. He narrowly escaped injury.
When Hoffa still refused to acquiesce, the mob turned to the one man who could lure him to a vulnerable location. In late July 1975, Sheeran flew from Ohio to Pontiac, Mich., to murder his mentor. He says in the book that he “felt nothing.”
“Frank could not blink, much less say no [to killing Hoffa],” said Brandt. “Or else . . . they both would have gotten killed.”
Sheeran drove with a few other associates to pick up Hoffa at a restaurant called the Red Fox. Sheeran claimed that his presence helped put Hoffa at ease about driving to a meeting at a Detroit house.
They arrived and entered the vestibule of a home that was obviously empty. “When Jimmy saw . . . that nobody came out of the rooms to greet him, he knew right away what it was,” Sheeran said in the book, adding that Hoffa tried to flee. “Jimmy Hoffa got shot twice at a decent range — not too close or the [blood] splatters back at you — in the back of his head . . . My friend did not suffer.”
Soon after, Sheeran claimed, Hoffa’s body was turned to ash at a crematorium.
But not everyone buys his story. Dan Moldea, author of the deeply researched “The Hoffa Wars,” insists that Sheeran did not kill Hoffa.
Moldea — who interviewed mob figures, investigators and prosecutors for his book — agrees that Sheeran flew to Pontiac and lured Hoffa into the car. But he believes that the murder was committed by Salvatore “Sally Bugs” Briguglio, an enforcer for the Genovese crime family. Moldea bases this on interviews with parties including the owner of a New Jersey dump where some believed Hoffa’s body was disposed.
“This is a one-source story about a pathological liar,” Moldea told The Post of Brandt’s book on Sheeran.
He voiced his displeasure about the De Niro-starring flick when he met the actor at a dinner in 2014.
“De Niro had a lot of pride that he is doing the real story,” said Moldea. “I told him that he’s been conned.”
But Brandt sticks by his story. After Sheeran served 13 years of a 32-year prison sentence, convicted on labor racketeering, and was crippled by arthritis and living in a nursing home, he confessed to killing Hoffa to three priests as well as to Brandt.
“Frank sought forgiveness and, to his way of thinking, died in a state of grace,” said Brandt. (He alleged that Sheeran committed suicide, in 2003, at age 83, by starving himself to death for six weeks.)
Whatever the truth is, De Niro, Scorsese and screenwriter Steven Zaillian are going for Brandt’s version of it.
“This summer I spent two months on call to the three of them at the Ameritania Hotel in Midtown,” said Brandt who this past Friday answered a question from De Niro on the caliber of gun used to kill Gallo (it was a .38). “They sent up scripts and I kept meeting them to answer questions. I felt like a groupie and was the only one in the room who hadn’t won an academy award.”