AG Kane hires attorneys claiming possible defamation by Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has retained legal counsel to represent her in a potential defamation lawsuit against The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Philadelphia power attorney Dick Sprague tells the Commonwealth’s top lawyer plans to file suit against the paper over a series of reports ran in The Inquirer this week regarding the AG’s handing of a corruption investigation involving state lawmakers.

“The attorney general contacted me to see about representing her and ultimately suing whoever was responsible for the malicious

Earlier this week, Kane told NBC10 her office did nothing wrong and that the reports were “inaccurate and sensational,” calling the paper’s anonymous sources “cowardly.”

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Sprague and a source at the Inquirer confirm Kane, Dick Sprague and his son, Tom Sprague, visited the paper’s editorial board on Thursday afternoon.

During that meeting, which was scheduled before the attorneys were hired, Dick Sprague informed the editors that he and Kane are concerned about potential defamation issues related to their reporting.

Citing the defamation concerns, the attorney told the editors the attorney general would cease to answer any questions from the Inquirer, the attorney said.

“I didn’t want to cancel, but I did not think she should walk into the lions den with them prepared to attack her,” Dick Sprague said.

The Inquirer ran a series of reports, the first of which was printed Sunday, questioning why Kane’s office decided not to pursue criminal charges against eight Democratic state lawmakers, four of whom were from Philadelphia. Kane is also a Democrat from Philadelphia.

“My view of this matter is that there are real issues concerning the investigation done by previous prosecutors and it was going to come out,” Dick Sprague said.

That investigation, which began under Gov. Tom Corbett when he served as AG, involved lawmakers allegedly accepting illegal payments.

Kane said she shut down the investigation after her office found serious flaws in the probe including possible racial targeting.

Philadelphia Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow on Thursday defended the paper’s reporting telling the paper interviewed many people with in-depth knowledge of the investigation. He said some of those sources included members of Kane’s staff.

“The Inquirer coverage of this sting investigation was really meticulously and carefully reported,” he said. “The stories were the product of months diligent and dogged reporting. They weren’t a leak of someone with a political agenda.”


Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

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