Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s woes keep mounting: Today, prosecutors filed a perjury charge against her, adding to the criminal case stemming from allegations she leaked grand jury secrets to punish a political rival.
Her law license is being suspended, but nobody’s forcing Attorney General Kathleen Kane out of a job just yet.
Pa. Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Saylor said Monday the court won’t try to push Kane out while she faces criminal charges that she leaked confidential grand jury information in order to embarrass a political rival. Saylor said such powers are held by the governor and legislature: “That’s not what we do,” he told the Pennsylvania Press Club, according to AP. Read more »
[Update 3:55 p.m.] Kane’s office has just released another statement:
I am disappointed by the action taken by the Supreme Court today. It is important to note that the order specifically states that “this order should not be construed as removing Respondent from elected office.” I continue to maintain my innocence and plan to keep fighting to clear my name while serving out the rest of my term in office. I am confident the hundreds of employees of the Office of Attorney General will continue protecting the people of Pennsylvania with the same high level of energy, dedication and professionalism they have always displayed.
To this end, in the wake of the Commonwealth Court hearing, I’ve instructed my office to engage in a comprehensive review of all emails sitting on OAG servers to fully comply with the RTKLs. Our preliminary review has generated emails of government officials, including law enforcement officials and judges, heretofore unknown to us. These emails will be fully released either as public documents defined by the Commonwealth Court, or at my discretion.
[Update 2:17 p.m.] Kane’s office has released this statement:
While I am disappointed in the court’s action I am grateful that the court recognized my constitutional rights both as a democratically elected official and as a citizen of the Commonwealth. The court, in specifically recognizing my continuing authority as Attorney General of the Commonwealth, today allows me to continue the good works of this office: work which has transformed our war on sex crimes and fraud; work which will also root out the culture of misogyny and racially/religiously offensive behavior that has permeated law enforcement and members of the judiciary in this Commonwealth for years.
[Original 1:09 p.m.] The Pennsylvania Supreme Court temporarily suspended Kathleen Kane‘s law license Monday, compounding the attorney general’s political troubles as she faces criminal charges for leaking grand jury information.
The state constitution requires the attorney general to have a law license, but the Supreme Court’s opinion said: “This order should not be construed as removing Respondent from elected office and is limited to the temporary suspension of her license to practice law.”
The attorney general’s office quickly issued a statement: “We plan to review the court’s decision and make a statement once the review is completed.” Read more »
Montgomery County agents searched Kathleen Kane’s office on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
“The detectives arrived Thursday morning at Kane’s Harrisburg office in the Strawberry Square complex near the state Capitol, said Chuck Ardo, Kane’s spokesman. Ardo said he did not know what the detectives were seeking,” The Morning Call reports. Read more »
Kathleen Kane will be back in court today, trying to block the release of so-called “Porngate” emails she otherwise says she wants released. Read more »
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has been uncharacteristically media-shy over the last few weeks.
The eerie silence emanating from his office started on August 26th, when the state Supreme Court unsealed documents showing that three of Williams’ employees — Frank Fina, Patrick Blessington and Marc Costanzo — were part of an email chain when they worked in former Attorney General Tom Corbett’s office that swapped racist, misogynistic and pornographic messages.
Williams issued a statement afterward, saying that he would conduct a thorough review of the so-called “Porngate” emails. But he failed to answer several questions we had, like what he knew and when he knew it.
Then, on September 4th at 4:23 p.m., minutes before the beginning of Labor Day weekend, Williams finally issued the findings of his investigation. He said none of the emails “were created or originated by these three employees,” though all the employees in question had received the gross emails, and Fina had sent some. Williams also said there was “no evidence or suggestion of any inappropriate email behavior by these three employees during their time to date in my office.” For these and other reasons, Williams decided the three employees would not be fired, and would instead receive sensitivity training. Again, this news came in a prepared statement. There was no press conference.
Naturally, we had even more questions. But this time around, Williams agreed to answer them on Wednesday. Our interview with him below has been edited for clarity:
Read more »
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 »
Kathleen Kane should step away from the attorney general’s office while she faces criminal charges, former Gov. Ed Rendell said today, but she shouldn’t necessarily resign outright. Read more »
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:
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 »