Kane Fires Official Who Testified Against Her

Says it's part of a "restructuring" of her office.

Kathleen Kane

Not sure how this helps Attorney General Kathleen Kane escape the scandals besetting her administration: She has fired James Barker, the official whose testimony reportedly helped lead a grand jury to recommend charges against her. A spokesman said the office is undergoing a “restructuring.”

The Tribune-Review reports:

Barker told the Tribune-Review he testified before a statewide grand jury in Norristown that investigated Kane. He said he was under a “protective order” that was supposed to prevent retaliation against witnesses.

“I don’t believe I did anything wrong,” Barker said. “I don’t know why I was fired. My firing was the first anyone heard anything about a restructuring” of the criminal division, he said.

Asked if he would file a lawsuit to contest his firing, Barker said, “I guess that’s something I’d have to think about.”

The Inquirer says Barker’s testimony contradicted Kane’s during the grand jury investigation; she said that information she leaked from an earlier grand jury information was not secret: “Sources told The Inquirer that Barker, who oversaw grand-jury investigations, rejected that view. They said he testified that the entire office, including the attorney general, was bound by confidentiality regardless of when a jury met.”

PennLive gives Barker’s background:

Barker’s portfolio in the attorney general’s office was impressive.

He has been the lead attorney in recent years on convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky’s appeals, and he is part of the team that has so far successfully negotiated a minefield of defense appeals in the case against the former Penn State administrators accused of obstructing the Sandusky probe.

Prior to joining the attorney general’s office in 2009, Barker, 53, was a longtime specialist in appellate work for Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr.