Seth Williams Isn’t Firing Anyone Over the Porngate Emails

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Talk about a Friday news dump.

At 4:23 p.m. on the Friday before a long weekend, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams released the findings of his office’s review of the so-called “Porngate” emails in a statement. He did not hold a press conference on the news.

A handful of Williams’ current employees, including prosecutor Frank Fina, were previously part of an email chain in former Attorney General Tom Corbett’s office that exchanged racist, misogynistic and pornographic messages. Those emails, which Attorney General Kathleen Kane says are a key part of her defense against charges that she leaked grand-jury information, were recently unsealed by the state Supreme Court.

Williams said in a statement he is not firing any of the employees in question and will instead direct them to take “sensitivity training.”  Read more »

5 Porngate Questions Seth Williams Needs to Answer Immediately

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, center, accompanied by investigator Frank Fina, speaks during a news conference Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, center, accompanied by investigator Frank Fina, speaks during a news conference Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, you’ve got some explaining to do.

While previously working for the Attorney General’s office, your prosecutor Frank Fina was part of an email chain that exchanged racist, misogynistic, pornographic and just plain stupid messages. Last week, the state Supreme Court unsealed that bounty of emails, and we gotta say, they make Fina look like he’d be a better fit in a frat house than a courtroom.

One email contained an image of a woman giving oral sex to a man, with the caption, “Making your boss happy is your only job.” Another had a photo of a white man carrying fried chicken and getting into a confrontation with two black men, alongside the caption, “Bravery at its finest.” There was also a photo of a woman with a T-shirt that read “WIFE: Washing, Ironing, F**ing, Etc.”

In a statement following the document dump, you said “the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has clear human relations policies, so the District Attorney believes that a thorough review is necessary of the email chains and any actions current employees took in their distribution,” and that the office will complete that review ASAP. OK, fine. We understand that these things take time. But there are five questions that you can answer — and need to answer — right away:

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 »

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 »

David Oh Fights for His Political Life

Photo courtesy of City Council's Flickr

Photo courtesy of City Council’s Flickr

It’s been a bad year for politicians in Pennsylvania, especially those with a “D” next to their names: Kathleen KaneChaka Fattah, Rob McCord. The list goes on and on.

On Monday, Republican Councilman David Oh reminded the public that lawbreaking isn’t exclusively a Democratic affair. In a settlement agreement with the Philadelphia Board of Ethics, Oh admitted to taking an illegal campaign donation in the 2015 primary election and agreed to pay a $2,000 fine for his violation.

And with that, the City Council At-Large race this November got a lot more interesting.
Read more »

Six Things to Know About Kathleen Kane’s Preliminary Hearing

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane departs after her preliminary hearing Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, Pa.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane departs after her preliminary hearing Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, Pa.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane had her first day in court Monday. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that prosecutors say Kane leaked confidential information to the news media in order to embarrass Frank Fina, a former prosecutor in the Attorney General’s office under her predecessor, and that Kane subsequently lied about it to a grand jury.

Here’s what you need to know about the hearing: Read more »

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