Dick Sprague Is Suing Ken Smukler Over Chump Change

Left: Attorney Richard "Dick" Sprague (AP Photo/Matt Rourke). Right: Ken Smukler in a 2015 photo (Twitter).

Left: Attorney Richard “Dick” Sprague (AP Photo/Matt Rourke). Right: Ken Smukler in a 2015 photo (Twitter).

Dick Sprague is the most feared attorney in Philadelphia. Ken Smukler is a behind-the-scenes Democratic political operative who has worked for the likes of Kathleen Kane, Bob Brady, Rick Mariano and Marjorie Margolies back before she was Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law. And now Sprague and Smukler are squaring off in court. Read more »

Hundreds of State Workers Might Soon Be Outed as Porngate Participants

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

Fallout from former Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s Porngate investigation continues.

The latest chapter in the Porngate saga arrived Wednesday when an email was sent to hundreds of state workers that said they would soon be outed as having exchanged pornographic emails, according to Philly.com. This news, as you might expect, has not been taken well. Read more »

Seamus McCaffery Makes the Rounds With GOP AG Candidate

Seamus McCaffery John Rafferty

L to R: Former Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery and Republican Attorney General candidate John Rafferty at a state Fraternal Order of Police event on August 8th.

Seamus McCaffery, the former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice who resigned after getting caught swapping pornographic emails, is still moving and shaking in Philadelphia’s political scene. He tells us he introduced Republican Attorney General nominee John Rafferty to his friends at a state Fraternal Order of Police conference on August 8th.

That’s the two of them cheesin’ in the photo above, taken at the FOP’s city headquarters in Northeast Philly.

“John and I have been friends for 25 years,” said McCaffery. “We go back to law school days.” Read more »

Seriously, What the Hell Happened With Kathleen Kane?

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, center, accompanied by with her twin sister, Ellen Granahan, left, departs after her preliminary hearing Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, Pa. Kane is accused of leaking secret grand jury information to the press, lying under oath and ordering aides to illegally snoop through computer files to keep tabs on an investigation into the leak.

Kathleen Kane will officially be Pennsylvania’s former state attorney general by the end of today, bringing her bizarre tenure to a merciful end. But I can’t help but think about something she said earlier this year, when there still appeared to at least be a microscopic chance that she’d end up beating those perjury and conspiracy charges.

I asked her in January why she didn’t step down when she was indicted last summer, or when her law license was suspended a short while later. “I knew that if I resigned, this whole debacle, this whole network, none of this would have come out,” she said. “And I think it’s a good thing I didn’t resign, because maybe the path I’m on is to show the problem, and maybe someone can fix it.”

“This whole debacle,” of course, was Porngate, the statewide email scandal that revealed prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys and other players in our judicial system often got their kicks by sending each other pornographic, misogynistic and racist material. (What, you don’t see the humor in a domestic violence joke? Allow Michael Eakin to explain.)

Here’s the problem: Kane was never on the path that she thought she was.

Read more »

Philly’s Deviant Political Culture, Explained

Illustration by gluekit; dougherty and boxes: Charles Fox | The Philadelphia Inquirer | Associated Press; City Hall: C. Smyth for VISIT PHILADELPHIA

Illustration by gluekit; Dougherty, Charles Fox | The Philadelphia Inquirer | Associated Press; City Hall: C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

Because this is 2016 and I’m a journalist, I was on Twitter when I first saw the news that FBI agents were raiding Johnny Doc’s home. This was around 8:30 a.m., so I’d already had several cups of coffee, but even so, this obviously momentous development barely registered. “Huh,” I thought, and kept right on scrolling to the next hot Trump take, the next wry 140-character blast about SEPTA or improvised dumpster pools, which apparently are now a thing.

I felt a little guilty about that later. This is John Dougherty we’re talking about. Kingmaker, yes, but also judge-maker, Council-maker, deal-maker. The longtime union honcho is probably the most powerful political figure in Philadelphia, and the feds had just packed an iMac and a couple of metric tons of files from his Local 98 electricians union into a moving truck. True, he hasn’t been charged with anything, and he may never be — the feds have investigated Doc before without finding anything that would stick. But this was big news, nonetheless. And I yawned.  Read more »

Pennsylvania A.G. Kathleen Kane to Resign Following Conviction


Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced her resignation today, less than 24 hours after a jury convicted her on nine counts, including perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of office.

Last night, a jury found Kane guilty of illegally leaking secret grand jury information to the Daily News in an act of revenge against former prosecutor Frank Fina.

Read more »

What They’re Saying About Kathleen Kane’s Conviction

Kathleen Kane

Politicians around Pennsylvania called on Attorney General Kathleen Kane to resign after a jury convicted her Monday night of perjury, obstruction, and other charges related to an act of political retaliation against a former state prosecutor.

The case has consumed the political press since the spring of 2014, when the Philadelphia Inquirer ran one of its biggest headlines, typographically speaking, in recent memory: KANE SHUT DOWN STING THAT SNARED CITY POLS. The paper reported that day that Kane, who’d taken office the previous year, had quietly spiked an investigation into six Philly Democrats who’d been caught accepting bribes in a sting operation. She maintained early on that the sting was tainted by racial bias — all the targets were African-American — and that prosecutions weren’t winnable.  Read more »

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