Kathleen Kane on Report of Seth Williams Probe: Don’t Look at Me
[Update: 2:30 p.m., Aug. 22.] In a statement released late Friday, the campaign committee of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams denied that it was the subject of a grand jury investigation. The statement, from Williams campaign spokesman Mike Barley, draws attention to Attorney General Kathleen Kane‘s past remarks regarding Williams, seeming to insinuate that she may be connected to the report in the Philadelphia Inquirer that claimed Williams is the under investigation. Kane, speaking through a spokesman, denied on Friday having any connection to the newspaper article.
[Original: 4:48 p.m. Aug. 21.] Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane says she has nothing to do with a news article in the Inquirer about a federal grand jury investigating Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams.
“Neither the attorney general nor this office would have any way of knowing whether or not there is a federal investigation of the district attorney, and certainly had no role in exposing it to the media,” said Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for Kane.
Jeff Cole, a reporter for Fox29, tweeted Friday that Williams claimed the story about the probe “is Kathleen Kane retaliating against prosecutors doing their jobs.”
D.A. Seth Williams says story about probe of his campaign $ is Kathleen Kane retaliating against prosecutors doing their jobs.@FOX29philly
— Jeff Cole (@JeffColeFox29) August 21, 2015
Fox29 has not yet published a report about the investigation on its website. Cameron Kline, a spokesman for Williams, confirmed that the district attorney told Cole that the report was a case of political retribution, but declined to elaborate.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday that anonymous sources told the newspaper a federal grand jury had subpoenaed Williams’ political campaign records “to determine if he misspent funds on personal expenses.”
Williams did not provide a comment to the Inquirer. The executive director of his campaign committee, Friends of Seth Williams, “declined to respond when asked three times during an interview Thursday if she received the subpoenas.” The District Attorney’s office, meanwhile, said it had not been served any subpoenas.
Kane and Williams have a complicated history, to put it mildly.
Last year, the Inquirer revealed that Kane had abandoned a probe into several Philly legislators who allegedly took bribes from a confidential informant, saying the case was deeply flawed and could not be prosecuted. The sting operation began in the Attorney General’s office before Kane started her term.
Williams, whose staff now includes former prosecutors who worked on the investigation of elected officials, took the case. Since then, former state Reps. Michelle Brownlee, Harold James and Ronald Waters, as well as former Traffic Court Judge Thomasine Tynes, have pleaded guilty to corruption charges.
This has fueled an intense public battle between Kane and Williams, who are not only both top prosecutors but also both Democrats. Kane has said the original case was “tainted by racism.” Williams, meanwhile, said earlier this year, “To accuse investigators who now work for me, to accuse prosecutors who now work for me, to be racist, I think is gutter.”
Just a couple weeks ago, Kane was charged with official oppression, perjury, conspiracy and more after a grand jury determined that she had leaked confidential information to the Philadelphia Daily News as an act of political retribution.
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