ACLU, Tea Party Join Forces to Challenge Forfeiture Law

It’s not every day that the American Civil Liberties Union and the Tea Party are on the same side.

But the ACLU, FreedomWorks, Americans for Tax Reform, the Center for American Progress, the Faith and Freedom Coalition and several other groups are teaming up under the name “Fix Forfeiture” to radically transform a controversial practice that allows the government to seize private property. And Pennsylvania is the supergroup’s No. 1 target. Read more »

Kane Supporters Fight Effort to Take Her Law License

Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Nearly 1,000 people have signed a Change.org petition opposing reported efforts to suspend the law license of Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

The petition emerged after TribLive reported Friday that the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court has notified Kane that she has been targeted for action. The process is supposedly a secret. “Harrisburg is abuzz about whether the secretive lawyer discipline process is under way,” Brad Bumsted reported. “It becomes public only if the Supreme Court acts.”

In response, petitioners ask the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to let the legal charges against Kane — accused of leaking secret grand jury information as part of a political vendetta — play out before making any decisions on her law license.

Under the state constitution, only persons holding a law license can serve as attorney general. Read more »

Kathleen Kane’s Lawyer, Gerald Shargel, Was Once a Lawyer for the Mob

Attorney Gerald Shargel | Photo by Louis Lanzano/AP

Attorney Gerald Shargel | Photo by Louis Lanzano/AP

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has apparently used her twin sister as a decoy, called press conferences and then refused to answer questions, and been criminally charged for allegedly trying to exact revenge on a political enemy by leaking top-secret grand jury information to the Philadelphia Daily News.

She is, if nothing else, a character — and she’s got a lawyer to match. Read more »

Pa. Senator Wants to Legalize UberX, Lyft in Philly

Promotional photos from the press kits of Uber (left) and Lyft

Promotional photos from the press kits of Uber (left) and Lyft

Hailing an UberX may now be worse than taking a Philly cab these days, but the service’s popularity is undeniable. The problem? UberX (as well as Lyft, a competing ride-hailing app) is illegal in the city of Philadelphia.

A Harrisburg senator is hoping to change that. On Thursday, State Sen. Camera Bartolotta, a Republican, unveiled legislation that would legalize ride-hailing services in all areas of the state. Currently, UberX and Lyft are operating under temporary authority in all Pennsylvania counties except Philadelphia. The PPA has occasionally impounded UberX vehicles in sting operations.

“Legislation is necessary to ensure these companies are allowed to operate after the temporary authority expires. It is important for state laws to keep pace with the rate of modernization,” Bartolotta said in a statement. “While there is a golden opportunity for transportation network companies to provide new options for consumers, it is also necessary that we ensure these new services operate responsibly and safely.” Read more »

Kane: There’s Still More Porn

Kathleen Kane, left. Binder full of porn, right.

Kathleen Kane, left. Binder full of porn, right.

Turns out 400 pages of porn is just the beginning.

Embattled attorney general Kathleen Kane said Thursday she’ll seek court guidance whether to release even more pornographic emails shared by prosecutors, agents, and others in the attorney general’s office during the administration of her predecessor, Tom Corbett, before he became governor. They were discovered during an investigation of how Corbett’s office handled the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State. Read more »

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 »

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