Jay Gray, an NBC News reporter on the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, was arrested for driving and driving (DUI) last week after partying with Sandusky's lawyer Joe Amendola.
Pennsylvania State Police arrested Gray just before 2am on Dec. 12 during a traffic stop. He was released on bail after his arrest.
According to TMZ's report, which has been picked up by multiple sources, Jay Gray had been at the home of Joe Amendola shortly before he decided to drink and drive, trying along with several other reporters to get an inside scoop on the Sandusky defense strategy.
Amendola, whose awkward media appearances in defense of Sandusky has struck many as odd or even outright offensive, was hosting a group of reporters at his house to watch the Giants-Cowboys football game.
During the party at Sandusky's lawyer's house, Gray allegedly got really drunk before setting out for his hotel around midnight when police stopped him for a minor traffic violation. According to police reports, he [Gray] had been drinking and was arrested for DUI.
Trying to Get the Scoop
Gray is a national correspondent who's covered stories across the country. It's likely his decision to attend the football-watching party with Sandusky's lawyer was to try and wrangle an exclusive interview with Amendola and his client.
According to The Harrisburg Patriot-News, Amendola wants Jerry Sandusky and his wife Dottie to appear in an exclusive network interview. The football party, to which more reporters than friends were invited, appears to have been an effort by Amendola to choose which network would be most sympathetic to his client.
After Gray's DUI arrest, however, it's unlikely NBC will get the scoop.
Did Gray Cross the Line? The 'Obligation to Remain Neutral.'
TV news reporters often have to get close to their subjects in order to get the latest story or score an exclusive interview.
This applies even when the client in question is an alleged child sex abuser. It applies when his lawyer is a man known to American viewers as an attorney willing to back the idea that horse play is the same thing as sexual assault.
But getting drunk at a football-watching party with Sandusky's lawyer is several steps beyond the usual reporter-source relationship. It's edging dangerously close to simple partying, and an insider camaraderie that can border on bias.
The media has an obligation to remain neutral in any story, Adam Wells of Bleacher Report fumed. You have to do whatever you can to get the story, but you can't show favoritism one way or another.
NBC, Gray and Amendola have yet to comment on the reporter's DUI arrest.