(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


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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Chief Justice to Attorney General: Release All Judges’ Emails


Ron Castille wants Kathleen Kane to release all judges’ emails to the public — whether they’re pornographic or not.

Castille, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s chief justice, says releasing all of the justices’ emails — as well as those of judges in county and appeals courts — will quell fears that judges have gotten too close to prosecutors. “I think the attorney general should release all of them,” Castille told the Inquirer.

Earlier this week, the heads of several groups wrote an open letter saying non-pornographic emails sent by justices were troubling, too. The frat-boy nature of the emails released to reporters might have showed prosecutors and judges were getting too chummy. Lawyers and judges may have engaged in improper ex parte communications.

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The Racy Email Problem Could Become Just An Email Problem

The email scandal that claimed the careers of so many top state officials isn’t quite over, but its focus is changing.

The Legal Intelligencer reports that criminal defense attorneys, the ACLU, and other experts want to look at more than 4,000 emails that have passed between the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s Office in recent years. And no, they don’t just want to look at the dirty ones.
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Top 10 Pennsylvania Careers Destroyed or Damaged by the Jerry Sandusky Scandal


Now that Seamus McCaffery has retired from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, it’s worth asking: How many significant Pennsylvanians have had their careers destroyed or derailed because of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State?

The line between Sandusky and McCaffery isn’t a straight one, of course, but: The “racy emails” that ultimately led to his suspension then retirement were discovered by Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office as it investigated whether her predecessor, Tom Corbett, had done a sufficient job of investigating the Sandusky case in the first place. No Sandusky, no Kane investigation, and maybe McCaffery is spending this week on the bench instead of vacating it.

Here are the Top 10 careers that have been destroyed or damaged, either directly or indirectly, by the Sandusky scandal, ranked by a combination of their relative importance to the entire state and the damage done to their careers. As you can see, the fallout has spread beyond Penn State and fairly widely across several branches of Pennsylvania state government.
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