"Payola" Case Finally Over

Ten years after an NBC news report broke the '80s record

payola scandal, and seven years after charges were filed against the L.A.

independent record promoter Joe Isgro, a federal judge has dismissed the case,

according to Reuters. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall

ruled that federal prosecutors had violated the speedy-trial act in their

handling of the case. Isgro was indicted in 1989 in Los Angeles on charges of

payola and 56 other felony counts, including racketeering and conspiracy to

distribute cocaine. He consistently denied the allegations. Isgro was one of

the most successful record promoters of the early '80s, earning millions of

dollars. Isgro told the L. A. Times "this case should have never been

started in the first place.

Isgro was part of a loose group of indie

record promoters who billed record companies over $60 million a year during the

early '80s to get records played on the radio. Prosecutors said "payola"

tactics included making payoffs to radio programmers. The allegations triggered

grand jury investigations in New Jersey, Los Angeles and New York.

In 1990,

U.S. District Judge James Ideman dismissed charges against Isgro after learning

that lead prosecutor William Lynch concealed critical information about the

testimony of a key government witness, casting doubt on the credibility of that

witness and the merits of the case. The case was reinstated in 1993 when an

appeals court ruled that Ideman exceed his authority by throwing out the


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