Here’s What’s in All Those Porngate Emails Kathleen Kane Keeps Talking About

The binder of Porngate emails, available at the Supreme Court Office of Prothonotary at City Hall. | Joel Mathis

The binder of Porngate emails, available at the Supreme Court Office of Prothonotary at City Hall. | Joel Mathis

Here’s the bottom line: A binder full of porn — about 400 of pages of it, several inches thick in total — is anything but erotic. It’s gross and sexist and occasionally racist and definitely misogynistic and homophobic now and again, but if you are forced to page through such a binder, you might just find your libido dying from an odd mix of disgust and anger.

But here’s the knowledge to be gained from paging through such a binder after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court took the wraps off the “Porngate” emails that Attorney General Kathleen Kane has said are crucial to her defense against charges she leaked secret grand jury information as part of a political vendetta against Frank Fina, a former member of the attorney general’s office who now works for Philadelphia D.A. Seth Williams:
Read more »

READ: These Newly Released Docs Detail Kathleen Kane’s Porngate Claims Against Frank Fina

Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

[Editor’s Note: This is a developing story. Check back for updates.]

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court just unsealed a treasure trove of documents tied to a grand jury investigation into Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

The materials, which were released at the behest of the Judge William Carpenter, detail Kane’s claim that the investigation began because she had access to former state prosecutor Frank Fina’s alleged collection of numerous pornographic emails and images. Fina now works in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office.

“Two former employees of the Office of Attorney General — Frank Fina and E. Marc Costanzo — corruptly manufactured this grand jury investigation to protect their own jobs and reputations. For years, Fina and Costanzo had viewed and distributed pornographic, misogynistic, racist, obscene and offensive emails using their state-owned computers,” reads Kane’s memorandum of law, one of the documents released.

It continues, “Attorney General Kane had uncovered those emails, and was set to release them to the public. Faced with their imminent personal and professional disgrace and desperate to keep their wrongdoing secret, Fina and Costanzo devised a plot to block their obscene emails from being released to the public. They triggered this grand jury investigation, they made materially misleading statements to the court to obtain a protective order, and through their scheming they avoided public disclosure.”

The argument came up this week at Kane’s preliminary hearing. Kane has been charged with perjury, official oppression and false swearing for allegedly leaking confidential information to the Philadelphia Daily News in order to shame Fina. Kane’s attorney, Gerald Shargel, said at the hearing that if Kane really wanted to embarrass Fina, the fastest way to do that would have been to unveil his “thousands and thousands” of pornographic emails.

PennLive.com reported that the document dump includes pornographic emails, which can be accessed at the court’s prothonotary offices. They are not available online.

Check out the documents below: Read more »

Montco State Rep. to Run for Attorney General

State Rep. Todd Stephens, who is a Republican and represents part of Montgomery County, announced today he was running for Attorney General in 2016. He released a four-minute video, primarily focusing on his time as a Montgomery County and federal prosecutor. Read more »

Pennsylvania Republicans Say They May Raise Taxes for Education

After a summer-long impasse between Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican legislators, it appears a compromise on the Pennsylvania state budget could be in the offing.

GOP leaders said Wednesday they would be willing to grant Wolf’s biggest wish — to raise taxes and increase state funding to schools by $400 million. But, PennLive reports, they have a condition: Approval of a state pensions reform package that Wolf has already vetoed.

“The significance of this, I think, can’t be stated enough. This is a huge move,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County.

“We started these conversations with the idea that I would be willing to make some big concessions and compromises on pensions which is important to them, I need them to move into my camp on education and so they’ve done I think a pretty good job there,” Wolf told PennLive. Read more »

Kathleen Kane Gets Ethics Complaint, Democratic Challenger

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The challenges to Attorney General Kathleen Kane continue to pile up, both on the legal and political front.

On the legal front, longtime citizen activist Gene Stilp announced today he was filing a complaint against Kane with the State Ethics Commission, alleging she is using the resources of her office to defend against criminal charges she violated grand jury secrecy laws by leaking information from a grand jury to a reporter for the Daily News.

Stilp noted that Kane’s August 12th press conference took place in the Media Center at the state capital in Harrisburg — an inappropriate use of state facilities to address a “private criminal matter,” he said. Read more »

The Weekly Brief: Who Would Replace Kathleen Kane?

Photo by the Associated Press

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

1. Lynne Abraham Wants to Be Pennsylvania’s Next Attorney General

The gist: Last week, after months of speculation, Attorney General Kathleen Kane was finally hit with perjury, official oppression, criminal conspiracy and other serious charges. A grand jury determined that she illegally leaked information to the Philadelphia Daily News in order to sabotage a political enemy. Kane is adamant that she is innocent and refuses to resign for now, but Gov. Tom Wolf is calling on Kane to step down. If she quits, who would take her place? Former Philadelphia District Attorney and mayoral candidate Lynne Abraham is reportedly interested in the gig, according to PoliticsPA. Read more »

Will Pa. Forsake the Democrats in 2016?

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Democrats love Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton won her 2008 primary here. The party is holding its 2016 presidential convention here. We haven’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988. The next election is going to be a lovefest between the Keystone State and Dems, right?

Perhaps not. Political analysts are saying that Pennsylvania, which usually comes out blue in presidential elections, could in fact turn out to be a “toss-up” state in 2016.

PoliticsPA reports that the Cook Political Report, which it calls “one of the most respected political prognosticators in the country,” has released its latest electoral college scorecard for the 2016 presidential election. And Pennsylvania, which has long been in Cook’s “Lean Democratic” column is now listed as one of nine states that could go either way.

The state last voted for a Republican when George H.W. Bush — the older Bush — first ran for president. Is Pennsylvania really a state again?

Maybe.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt Pennsylvania will be a competitive state,” said Terry Madonna, the director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall University, said of Pennsylvania’s new status.  Read more »

Kane Hints at Conspiracy in No-Questions Press Conference

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Attorney General Kathleen Kane called on a Pennsylvania judge to release the full trove of documents from the so-called “Porngate” scandal, saying complete disclosure of those files was essential to her defense on charges she leaked secret grand jury material.

“I do that not as part of some vendetta, but to tell the whole story, the story that is critical to my defense against these charges,” she said Wednesday.

Kane made the call as part of a short news conference (watch below) in which she took no questions — and in fact, presented no real defense of herself against the charges, instead suggesting that a cabal of “boys club” officials were trying to silence her and prevent the emergence of emails that she said were pornographic, racially insensitive and religiously bigoted.

“I’m sure, at this moment, as I stand under charges … these individuals believe they’re on the precipice of their ultimate goal” to end the possibility of being exposed in the scandal, Kane said. Read more »

PSA: Surprise! Today is Election Day!

Election Day in Philadelphia | Photo by AP/Matt Rourke

Election Day in Philadelphia | Photo by AP/Matt Rourke

It’s OK if you didn’t know it was Election Day until now.

But it’s an important race: Voters from three sections of the city will choose new representatives in the state House, two of which will replace lawmakers who pleaded guilty to corruption charges earlier this year. Very few people will likely turn out to the polls, though, since it’s the middle of August, it’s rainy, and this is a special election.

Here’s the basic info you need to know about the contest: Democrat Ed Neilson is running against Republican Timothy Dailey in Northeast Philly’s 174th District; Democrat Joanna McClinton, Republican Charles Wilkins and Independent Tracey Gordon are vying for the seat in 191st District, which includes Southwest Philly and Darby Township; and Democrat Donna Bullock, Republican Adam Lang and write-in candidate Judith Robinson are going at it in the 195th District, which includes parts of North and West Philly.

Don’t know which House district you live in? Enter in your address on this state website to find out. Polls close at 8 p.m.

Want to know more? Read these five pieces on the special election: Read more »

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