UPDATE: Judge Faces Charges for Accepting Bracelet

[Update 11:37 a.m.] District Attorney Seth Williams brought the $2,000 Tiffany bracelet with him to the press conference:

Photo | 6ABC

Image via 6ABC

Williams said the case against Tynes is “press and play” — prosecutors will just have to play the tapes of Tynes accepting the bracelet, recorded by investigators during the sting operation.

These are the only charges brought out of that investigation so far, but Williams said the investigation continues against Philly state representatives who were also caught on tape taking gifts from an undercover informant.

He added that any suggestions of racial profiling — offered by Attorney General Kathleen Kane as a reason for originally dropping the case — are a distraction.

Williams’ official statement on the case:

The grand jury’s findings:

The office also released three photos — one of Tynes, two of the bracelet:



[Original 10 a.m.] Thomasine Tynes, a retired Traffic Court judge, will face state corruption charges, Fox 29 reports.

Read more »

Pennsylvania Attorney General, Chief Justice Reach Porn Deal

castille-kane-940x540

Pennsylvania’s porn email scandal drags on. On Wednesday, the office of Attorney General Kathleen Kane said she and Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille reached a deal over porn emails. She will turn over the names of judges or judicial employees who had exchanged sexually explicit emails on state accounts.

She won’t, however, give the messages to Castille. She’ll allow him to view the emails and pornographic content, but will only give him copies of the emails “without explicit content,” per the Inquirer. It’s unclear why Kane won’t share the porn with Castille. Does she think he’ll, in turn, start forwarding around these messages again?

To be fair, a judge is involved in this scandal: Judge Seamus McCaffery (of Eagles Court fame) reportedly sent at least 10 messages from a personal email account to the state account of someone in the Attorney General’s office. (“I just wonder why a half dozen private emails, allegedly from Justice McCaffery’s personal computer, are front page news,” a spokesman for the judge said in a statement.)

Read more »

The Harrisburg Porn Email Scandal, Translated by a Woman

shutterstock_harrisburg-porn-email-scandal-940x540

As a human with a computer, I expect people to mess around on the clock a bit. Amazon, Buzzfeed, Facebook, The Daily Puppy (just me? fair enough): I don’t care if my taxes are paying your salary – desk captives all deserve a little Internet candy.

Noticeably not on that list? Sending misogynistic, pornographic emails to your Harrisburg broworkers.

As an optimist with a naive streak and that pesky liberal tendency to enjoy learning, I’ll listen to arguments against equal pay — there are one or two I almost buy. And I like to think that there are at least some reasonable, benign explanations for the lack of women in leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies. The idea of a glass ceiling enforced by the men I’ve studied and worked with — many of whom have hired, promoted and supported me — isn’t, on most days, a satisfying answer.

And yet, the degrading emails sent and/or received by top state officials — including the former head of the Attorney General’s criminal law division, the State Police Commissioner and two members of Governor Corbett’s cabinet — makes me think otherwise.

These weren’t simply inappropriate for the workplace. “Inappropriate” is drinking too much at the Christmas party, pushing gift wrap for your kid’s fundraiser, microwaving salmon at 11:30 a.m. – annoying, sometimes worth a reprimand, but not threatening or humiliating.

Read more »

UPDATE: Kane Promises Email Cooperation With Castille

AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

[Update 9:30 a.m.] AP reports that Kane is making a stronger pledge of cooperation with Castille:

Kane told Castille she will try to give him the emails “if deemed as permissible” and that the issue is under review by her civil division. She said he was concerned there may be a risk to taxpayers because of a potential civil lawsuit.

“I understand that the Court considers this matter to be of utmost importance,” Kane wrote. “Our cooperation will be to the full extent of our abilities. I request your understanding as well with our limited resources. We are doing the best that we can in the shortest amount of time as possible.”

[Original] Attorney General Kathleen Kane is at loggerheads with Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald Castille over the racy email scandal that has already claimed the jobs of several top officials in Harrisburg.

Castille wants information about any judges who may have participated in the trading of such emails, but Kane, so far at least, is of little help. The Inquirer reports:
Read more »

Kathleen Kane’s Double Standard

Kathleen Kane. AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

Kathleen Kane. AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

When Kathleen Kane was sworn in as Pennsylvania’s first attorney general last year, she was immediately hailed as shooting political star. There was talk of Kane running for governor, even before she completed her first year in her new job.

Well, they got the political part right.

Kathleen Kane has used her office to protect the corrupt in her own party and has attempted to unseat those in the opposing party.
Read more »

Top Cop Won’t Resign in Email Scandal

Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan will keep his job amidst the "porngate" scandal enveloping Harrisburg. | AP

Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan will keep his job amidst the “porngate” scandal enveloping Harrisburg. | AP

A second state official has resigned after participating in the exchange of “racy emails” while working in the office of then-Attorney General Tom Corbett. Glenn Parno, a top lawyer in the Department of Environmental Protection, resigned after DEP Secretary Christopher Arbuzzo made his departure public.

AP reported that “no reason was given for Parno’s resignation,” but it came hours after Attorney General Kathleen Kane released a batch of redacted emails with the offensive content. “Parno, meanwhile, sent or replied to the sexual emails to his colleagues 10 times, by Kane’s count, sometimes with his own editorial comment,” the Patriot-News reports.

One person who will keep his job for now: State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. Corbett is standing by his man for now, the Morning Call reports:
Read more »

Report: Justice McCaffery Forwarded Racy Emails

seamus mccaffery

The Morning Call reports this morning that Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery — he’s from Philadelphia — “forwarded at least eight sexually explicit emails to an employee in the state attorney general’s office,” who in turn shared those emails with more than a dozen others.

Three of the emails the paper reviewed contained images that Attorney General Kathleen Kane shared with reporters in describing the broader burgeoning scandal last week, the paper said. She identified eight current officials who had exchanged the emails, but never mentioned McCaffery among them.

McCaffery has a defense: The emails were apparently forwarded from a now-inactive Comcast account — a personal account, in other words, not his state e-mail. Much of the controversy about the racy emails has been over whether they violate rules governing the use of state resources. Indeed, a spokesman for Kane told the paper “it is not illegal for adults to send or receive pornography depicting adults.”

“Not only do I not have any comment, since when does the news media pry into personal emails?” McCaffery told a Morning Call reporter.
Read more »

« Older Posts