In July, the New York Times published a blockbuster claim that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas illicitly accepted the gift of a Super Bowl ring that could be worth up to $80,000. Now Thomas’ inner circle is saying that the paper’s report is false.
The so-called “paper of record” claimed in a July 9 story that Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones gave the ring to the Justice as a gift.
“Jones gave him a Super Bowl ring. He attended the Cowboys’ training camp, and when the team played in Washington, he sat in the owner’s box,” the Times insisted.
Naturally, the rest of the media ran with the story and accused Thomas of selling his influence and not reporting income.
The Times story, for instance, led the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to question Thomas’ ethics, writing, “Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl ring. Why?”
But now Thomas’ associates are speaking out against the story.
“I expect the New York Times to issue a retraction on this falsehood, and an apology to Justice Thomas,” the Justice’s co-author Mark Paoletta told Fox News.
Teton Capital CEO David Sokol, a member of the Horatio Alger Association and a close Thomas friend, also pointed out that the ring Thomas received was a cheap replica. Not an original Super Bowl ring. “It was a replica ring,” Sokol said.
An authentic Super Bowl XXVII ring can cost over $80,000 or more, but reproductions can go for less than $50. And higher quality Super Bowl replicas rarely cost more than a few hundred dollars to manufacture.
Sokol blasted the Times’ report, saying, “People are just looking for ways to attack conservative Supreme Court members. They just run with stuff even when they know it’s not accurate.”
Others have also chimed in on the ring.
“t was a replica, it had hardly any value. It was just used as a paperweight,” a former Thomas staffer who wanted to remain anonymous told Fox. “I was there, I was working for the Justice at the time, and I can assure you it was just a replica. I saw it, I held it, I handled it.”
It was also later discovered that Thomas did disclose the gift of the ring on his 1994 ethics form, though a value was not placed on the ring. The form even contained photos of the ring.
Paoletta added that the replica ring “sells for about $25 on eBay,” but the New York Times has not corrected its story to reflect the claims that the right is not an $80,000 piece of jewelry.
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