76ers statement on Bryan Colangelo Twitter investigation
New York, June 7, 2018 – Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP was engaged by the ownership of the Philadelphia 76ers to conduct an investigation of issues arising from the publication of an article on May 29 identifying certain anonymous Twitter accounts that posted information concerning the club, its personnel and related topics. The article reported that the Twitter accounts may be connected in some way to Bryan Colangelo, the club’s President of Basketball Operations.
We commenced our investigation on May 30 and it substantially concluded on June 5. With the assistance of expert forensic consultants, we collected extensive electronic evidence consisting of multiple electronic devices (iPhones, iPads and other computer devices from multiple sources); conducted an extensive review of the contents of those devices, including text messages and other data; accessed numerous email accounts and reviewed the contents of those accounts; examined the account history of certain of the Twitter accounts; conducted witness interviews and undertook additional investigative tasks.
The investigation was led by Brad S. Karp, the Chairman of Paul, Weiss, Lorin L. Reisner, a Paul, Weiss senior partner and former Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and Richard C. Tarlowe, a Paul, Weiss partner and former Chief of the Cybercrime Unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
The account names of the Twitter accounts under investigation are: Eric jr, Still Balling, Enoughunkownsources, and HonestAbe.
We investigated the following issues, among others: (1) who was responsible for establishing the Twitter accounts or posting messages on those accounts; (2) whether Mr. Colangelo was aware of the Twitter accounts before May 22, when there was a press inquiry concerning one of the subject accounts; and (3) whether Mr. Colangelo was the source of any sensitive, non-public information concerning the 76ers or its personnel communicated on the Twitter accounts.
As a result of our investigation, we do not believe that Mr. Colangelo established the Twitter accounts or posted content on those accounts. The evidence supports the conclusion that Ms. Barbara Bottini, Mr. Colangelo’s wife, established the Twitter accounts and posted content on those accounts. When interviewed, Ms. Bottini admitted establishing and operating the accounts. Forensic evidence corroborates her admissions.
We cannot conclude that Mr. Colangelo was aware of the Twitter accounts prior to the May 22 press inquiry. Mr. Colangelo denies any such awareness and we have not observed any forensic evidence establishing that he had knowledge of the Twitter accounts prior to that date. We note, however, that our investigation was limited and impeded by certain actions taken by Ms. Bottini, including her decision to delete the contents of her iPhone by executing a factory reset of the device prior to surrendering it for forensic review.
Our investigation revealed substantial evidence that Mr. Colangelo was the source of sensitive, non-public, club-related information contained in certain posts to the Twitter accounts. We believe that Mr. Colangelo was careless and in some instances reckless in failing to properly safeguard sensitive, non-public, club-related
information in communications with individuals outside the 76ers organization.