AG Kathleen Kane Vows to “Tear Down Old Boys Network”
Calling a recent report about Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin “the latest example of the ‘old boy’s network’ at work protecting itself,” Pennsylvania’s embattled Attorney General Kathleen Kane said her appointment of a special prosecutor will “tear down this network once and for all.”
“Seldom do the machinations of the ‘old boy’s network’ become so public,” Kane said in a statement. “The people of Pennsylvania would have learned none of this if we hadn’t taken up the fight. They would have learned none of it if the powerful forces aligned against me had succeeded in keeping me quiet. I promise to continue and encourage all citizens to speak up for what is right.”
Today’s news comes in response to an Inquirer report this weekend that said Eakin, who has been accused of sending and receiving offensive emails, had backed an appointee to the state’s Court of Judicial Discipline (Karen Snider) who was expected to rule in his favor over the emails. The paper also reported Eakin had written sexual emails about women who worked for him.
Also this weekend, Gov. Tom Wolf said Eakin should step down. “This process is absurd,” Wolf spokesman Jeff Sheridan said. “Justice Eakin’s behavior is reprehensible and beyond unbecoming of an individual, let alone a Supreme Court justice.” Eakin has refused to step down.
“Once everything is there, we hope this matter will be concluded fairly and believe that it will be,” Eakin’s lawyer, Bill Costopoulos, told the Daily News. “With that as a given, a resignation is not part of this package.”
Last week, Kane appointed former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler as a special prosecutor charged with investigating emails sent to and from state email accounts. He expected to file a report when the investigation was over, and said he could turn over evidence to state police if any illegal activity was discovered.
Throughout it all, Kane has remained resolute: She believes she hasn’t committed any criminal wrongdoing, and she won’t resign from office.
“The fact that Justice Eakin was allowed to vote for a member of the panel empowered to hear and decide formal charges filed against him flies in the face of fairness,” Kane said in today’s 438-word statement. “That the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania saw no conflict in allowing the vote is even more troubling. But then again, Justice Eakin sat in judgment of my case and voted to suspend my license, even though he had a legal and ethical obligation to recuse himself, knowing I had some of his racially and gender offensive emails in my possession. It is exactly that kind of cavalier, business-as-usual attitude that I threaten by exposing the ‘hategate’ network.
“I would challenge those who for many months have questioned my assertion that there was an entrenched network of judges, prosecutors and lawyers who would take every step necessary to protect the status quo to explain this alleged judicial conspiracy under oath and penalty of law. I would like them to tell the people of Pennsylvania why they should have faith in the Commonwealth’s judicial system when two Supreme Court Justices show a callous willingness to rig the outcome of a case … now, as the Republican-dominated Senate considers taking unprecedented action against me, we’ve learned that the Court’s Republicans are conducting a secret campaign to fix the game.”
Follow @dhm on Twitter.