D.A. to Charge Two More in Abandoned Sting

Seth Williams

District Attorney Seth Williams

The Inquirer reports that D.A. Seth Williams is expected to bring charges against two more figures from the so-called “abandoned sting” case that Attorney General Kathleen Kane earlier decided not to prosecute.

District Attorney Seth Williams is expected to announce charges against State Reps. Vanessa Lowery Brown and Ronald G. Waters, both Philadelphia Democrats, for allegedly accepting cash from an undercover operative, according to people familiar with the matter.

According to investigative documents reviewed by The Inquirer, Waters pocketed the most money from the undercover operative of any of the five politicians caught up in the sting – $8,250 in eight payments.

In the documents, Brown is described as having received the second most – $5,000, in six payments.

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AG Kane Won’t Defend Pa. Gun Law That Allows NRA Suits

Attorney General Kathleen Kane gestures to Gov. Tom Corbett while speaking at a news conference in Harrisburg in June.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane gestures to Gov. Tom Corbett while speaking at a June news conference about healthcare.

Kathleen Kane has decided not to defend a recently passed gun law that allows lawsuits against municipalities that enact gun laws harsher than state laws.

“The attorney general determined it would be more efficient and in the best interest of the commonwealth for the Office of General Counsel to handle this matter,” Kane spokeswoman Renee Martin said. She is leaving it up to Gov. Tom Corbett’s staff. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is sworn in as governor on January 20th.

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(UPDATE) Kane’s Office Clarifies Porn Email Clarification

[Update 10:30 a.m.] Well, you don’t see this every day in politics. Yes, a politician will make an explosive statement, only to have a spokesperson walk that statement back. But it’s rare you then see the walkback itself walked back. So it’s a pretty nifty trick Kathleen Kane’s office has just pulled.

What has happened: Kane spokeswoman Renee Martin is now withdrawing her Wednesday statement that racy emails at the heart of the recent Harrisburg scandal do not constitute child pornography. Martin made that statement in the aftermath of Kane’s Tuesday CNN interview asserting that some of the emails contained images of children.

Here’s the full statement from Martin, as sent out in a press release this morning:

Statement from Renee Martin, spokesperson for Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane

“When I said that the Pennsylvania Attorney General has decided not to prosecute regarding the emails as pornography, including depictions of children contained in some emails, I misspoke.”

In fact, the Attorney General has not made a decision one way or the other in light of the recent published opinion of the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the emails he had seen were “clearly pornographic” and may be criminal. As a result of the issuance of a court order, the Attorney General cannot explain her views on the status of these emails, as she explained in a public statement she read prior to her testimony before the Grand Jury on Monday and on CNN on Tuesday night.

Prior to her grand jury testimony this week, Kane said publicly: “However, due to continuous, even overlapping court orders since last March, I am not allowed to explain why I am testifying or what my testimony has to do with the release of the pornographic emails under the Right to Know Law. These court orders also expose me to legal risk if I do my job as Attorney General that I was elected and trusted by the people of Pennsylvania to do. I am not allowed at this time to explain why.”

In other words: It may be awhile before this web is untangled.

[Original 6:12 a.m.] On Tuesday, Attorney General Kathleen Kane told a national audience — or, CNN’s audience, anyway — that racy emails discovered during the recent Harrisburg scandal included depictions of children. “Deplorable,” she said.

On Wednesday, she walked back the assertion a bit. The Inquirer:
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Kane to CNN: Racy Emails Showed Children, Violence

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane appeared on CNN Tuesday night to discuss the email scandal that helped force several high-ranking state officials out of their jobs and resulted in discipline for dozens of lower-ranking bureaucrats.

AP reports:

“When I saw them they literally took my breath away,” Kane said. “And they are deplorable: hardcore, graphic, sometimes violent emails that had a string of videos and pictures depicting sometimes children, old women. Some of them involved violent sexual acts against women.”

One of Kane’s lawyers in the case, Lanny Davis, says he hasn’t seen all of the emails involved and isn’t sure to what Kane was referring. He says two images he saw of children were inappropriate but not necessarily child pornography.

The emails were discovered during Kane’s investigation of how her predecessor, Tom Corbett, handled the Jerry Sandusky investigation at Penn State.

AG Kathleen Kane’s Pain Intensifying Since Car Crash

AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, recently injured in a car crash, released a statement today updating the public on her condition. Kane has been recovering at home since her official vehicle was hit on October 21st. (A man drove into her while reaching for a dropped iPad.)

A doctor has cleared her to return to work in a week. But she’s cleared to work “as tolerable,” and will continue to work from home for the near future. Kane suffered a concussion with cervical back trauma in the accident. Kane was in the backseat and smashed her head on the window when the car was hit. She was not wearing her seatbelt.

Kane’s neck and back pain has gotten worse since the accident. She’s still on medication. “She is still experiencing headaches, nausea, fatigue and soreness in her neck and back,” Renee Martin, Kane’s spokeswoman, said. Two members of her detail are also under doctor’s care.

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Email Scandal Ensnares Dozens of AG Staffers

Kathleen Kane. AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

Kathleen Kane. AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

Harrisburg’s racy email scandal helped spark the retirement of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice and cost several other high-ranking state officials their jobs. It probably didn’t help outgoing Gov. Tom Corbett keep his position, either. But it’s not just the men in the bright lights who exchanged the explicit messages: Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office has now let it be known that 8 percent of her agency’s employees have been disciplined for participating in the email swap.

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Report: Ex-Traffic Judge Will Plead to Accepting Bracelet

Thomasine Tynes, left. The bracelet she's alleged to have accepted from a undercover confidential informant for the attorney general's office.

Thomasine Tynes, left. The bracelet she’s alleged to have accepted from a undercover confidential informant for the attorney general’s office.

Thomasine Tynes, the former Traffic Court judge who became the first — and so far only — person charged with a crime stemming from Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s abandoned sting of Philadelphia politicians, will plead to charges in the case and is cooperating with prosecutors. She had been accused of accepting a $2,000 Tiffany bracelet from an undercover confidential informant working for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office.

The information appeared in a sentencing memo prepared by Tynes’ lawyer, Louis R. Busico, on an unrelated perjury conviction related to the ticket-fixing scandal that resulted in the Traffic Court’s demise. (The full memorandum is below.) Busico wrote:
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Abu-Jamal Sues to Overturn New Law

ABU JAMAL

Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted cop-killer who has spent the last three decades in prison, is suing to overturn a new law intended to keep him and other notorious prisoners from speaking out publicly.

The law, passed in the wake of Abu-Jamal’s October commencement speech to students at Goddard College in Vermont, lets crime victims — or prosecutors — sue inmates whose behavior behind bars continues to create anguish for the victims.
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