You Need to Read the Daily News’ Clarification About Richard Sprague

Feared Philly attorney appears to have taken issue with the paper’s "Porngate" editorial.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

There is one thing that makes every Philadelphia newspaper editor very nervous: a letter or other communiqué from the rightfully dreaded Center City attorney Richard Sprague, whom a jury once awarded $34 million (later reduced) in his own libel suit against the Inquirer.

The Daily News apparently ruffled the feathers of the nonagenarian with a February 18th editorial entitled “New meaning to the phrase ‘court jesters.'”

That editorial recounted some recent Pennsylvania judicial “embarrassments,” such as the convictions of Traffic Court judges, Municipal Court Judge Joseph Waters and Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, as well as the Porngate scandal involving Seamus McCaffery, and it wondered why in the world the Court of Judicial Discipline would appoint Sprague as a mediator in the case of former Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin and his “offensive, racist and misogynistic emails,” as that court recently did.

Here’s what the editorial had to say about Sprague’s appointment in the Eakin matter:

Sprague’s appointment is a tone-deaf action by a court that is supposed to ensure ethics and impose discipline on the judicial branch. For one thing, longtime legal fixture Sprague must be one of the oldest boys in the old boys’ network that Kane believes is trying to take her down. For another, Sprague briefly represented Kane in a potential defamation suit against the Inquirer last year, at the start of her legal troubles.

The court’s appointment is baffling. Why was a mediator even thought necessary? The court isn’t saying, continuing a disturbing lack of any accountability. This court, established by the people, seems to think it answers to no one. You would think someone would make the connection between this attitude and the court system’s underlying rot.

Strong words.

Well, it appears that Sprague still reads the Daily News. Here is a clarification that the Daily News ran earlier this week:

After an editorial was published on Feb. 17, prominent attorney Richard A. Sprague expressed concern that by the editorial referring to him as a member of the “old boys’ network,” readers may have inferred he was part of the “network” in which offensive emails were exchanged and that he sent or received emails similar to those that have been identified as part of the Porngate scandal. For the record and for clarification, no such inference was intended by the Daily News.

Duly noted.

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