Kane family email surfaces in ‘porngate’ – and more

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    Say what? The twin sister and employee of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane herself traded nasty email, and sent one to Kane herself? That stunning revelation has surfaced, one of three things that happened yesterday in the sprawling Pennsylvania scandal known as “porngate.” Here’s your quick rundown:

    1. Et tu, Kathleen?

    Kane has released hundreds of pornographic and otherwise offensive email that has ended some careers and damaged others, including those of men who still work in Kane’s office.

    The release of Kane family email came last night after Philadelphia prosecutor Mark Gilson told reporters the Kane family’s email wasn’t exactly clean either.

    “Look, when is Kathleen Kane going to release the 58 emails that her sister got? Or the 11 that were forwarded to her?” Gilson said to reporters outside a Harrisburg courtroom. “What about those emails? Every one of them has to be released!”

    Kane spokesman Chuck Ardo initially said the attorney general had no idea what Gilson was talking about,

    But last night the attorney general’s office released email from the account of Kane’s twin sister, Ellen Granahan, a top prosecutor on Kane’s staff who heads the office’s child predator unit.

    As our Harrisburg correspondent Mary Wilson notes, the emails “make light of domestic violence and pedophiles. They play on racial stereotypes. They ridicule obese people and those who suffer from Alzheimer’s.”

    Kane’s spokesman Ardo, said the e-mails “may be in poor taste,” but that Kane and her sister believe the messages don’t “rise to the level of pornographic or inappropriate.”

    One of the messages was forwarded by Granahan to Kane in 2009, before Kane was attorney general. Remember, Gilson said in his accusation that Kane had received 11 emails. Ardo said he didn’t know where that number came from.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the emails contained no pornography, but that “several included racy pictures of men and women. One showed a naked man and joked about the size of his penis.”

    You can read Mary’s account here, and the Inquirer’s account here.

    I’m sure we’ll hear more about this.

    2. That ‘racially targeted’ probe?

    Back in March 2014, when Kane was explaining why she’d pulled the plug on a political corruption sting operation that caught a bunch of politicians taking cash, she said among other things that the probe targeted African-Americans.

    This has been hotly debated, and my take so far is that her evidence is unconvincing. But the revelation that some emails exchanged by some prosecutors included racist jokes inspired Charles Peruto to try getting the charges against his client, state Rep. Louise Williams Bishop, dropped.

    Williams is African-American, and Peruto wanted the court to see if she was the victim of a racially targeted prosecution.

    There was a hearing Wednesday in Wednesday to explore that accusation, after which Gilson raised the subject of Kane family email  (see above). But the argument about racism in the probe never happened.

    Gilson, the Philadelphia district attorney prosecuting the sting charges, filed a big batch of documents that he says prove that even Kane’s senior staff told her there was no evidence of racial targeting, and that she insisted on making the charge anyway.

    I haven’t reviewed the documents, but an article in the Legal Intelligencer reported Peruto seems to have concluded he wasn’t going to make the case for racial targeting stick.

    “I was all gung ho,” Peruto said in the Intelligencer piece. “I came to the conclusion that of the five people I was going to call, none of them were going to back up my motion.”

    I’m sure we’ll hear more about this, also.

    3. Another one bites the dust

    At the hearing in the Harrisburg, Williams became the fifth Philadelphia elected official to admit taking cash or goods in the controversial sting investigation.

    But she got the most lenient deal of any charged so far. Though she took $1,500 from the informant, Tyron Ali, she’s pleading to a single misdemeanor charge of failing to report the gift.

    In a defense that reminds me of state Sen. Clay Davis from HBO’s “The Wire,” Peruto said Bishop didn’t take the money for personal use.

    “Yes, she did accept $1,500 from Tyrone Ali,” Peruto said, “but that very day, and others, she spent more than $10,000, in cash, on the street” to help community groups.

    Peruto told me he’d submitted affidavits to the DA’s office from two people who would verify that Bishop had given them cash assistance, and that investigators had looked into it.

    He figures the people’s stories must have checked out, and that’s why he got such a great deal for this client.

    I asked if Peruto could tell me who benefited from Williams’ generosity. He said he’d have to look into it, and would call me if they were willing to speak with a reporter. I didn’t hear anything by the day’s end.

    The 82-year old Bishop must pay $6,500 in restitution and prosecution costs and resign from the Legislature. But she’ll avoid jail time and keep her state pension.

    And after six months’ probation, Peruto said, her record will be expunged.

    “It basically means she can die without being a criminal,” Peruto said, “and that’s very important to somebody who’s led a law-abiding life.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Did Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane herself trade nasty email? That stunning accusation has just surfaced, one of three things that happened Wednesday in the sprawling Pennsylvania scandal known as “porngate.” Here’s your quick rundown:

    1. Et tu, Kathleen?

    Kane has released hundreds of pornographic and otherwise offensive email that has ended some careers and damaged others, including those of men who still work in Kane’s office.

    But after a court hearing in Harrisburg, Philadelphia prosecutor Mark Gilson – an avowed enemy of Kane and not a man who needs any extra coffee – engaged in an animated exchange with reporters.

    “Look, when is Kathleen Kane going to release the 58 emails that her sister got? Or the 11 that were forwarded to her?” Gilson said, practically shouting. “What about those emails? Every one of them has to be released!”

    What’s in those emails, reporters asked.

    “Ask Kathleen Kane!” Gilson replied.

    Gilson didn’t say what might be in the emails, and when reporters asked where those numbers, 58 and 11 came from, he said, “Didn’t you hear? I’m doing a grand jury.”

    Is that an old grand jury we already knew about? A new one, somehow targeted at Kane? I don’t know,  and I couldn’t get the district attorney’s office to talk to me Wednesday afternoon. In fairness, it was a busy day.

    I’m sure we’ll hear more about this.

    2. That ‘racially targeted’ probe?

    Back in March 2014, when Kane was explaining why she’d pulled the plug on a political corruption sting operation that caught a bunch of politicians taking cash, she said among other things that the probe targeted African-Americans.

    This has been hotly debated, and my take so far is that her evidence is unconvincing. But the revelation that some emails exchanged by some prosecutors included racist jokes inspired Charles Peruto to try getting the charges against his client, state Rep. Louise Williams Bishop, dropped.

    Williams is African-American, and Peruto wanted the court to see if she was the victim of a racially targeted prosecution.

    The hearing Wednesday was to explore that accusation, but it never happened.

    Gilson, the Philadelphia district attorney prosecuting the sting charges, filed a big batch of documents that he says prove that even Kane’s senior staff told her there was no evidence of racial targeting, and that she insisted on making the charge anyway.

    I haven’t reviewed the documents, but an article in the Legal Intelligencer reported Peruto seems to have concluded he wasn’t going to make the case for racial targeting stick.

    “I was all gung ho,” Peruto said in the Intelligencer piece. “I came to the conclusion that of the five people I was going to call, none of them were going to back up my motion.”

    I’m sure we’ll hear more about this, also.

    3. Another one bites the dust

    At the hearing in the Harrisburg, Williams became the fifth Philadelphia elected official to admit taking cash or goods in the controversial sting investigation.

    But she got the most lenient deal of any charged so far. Though she took $1,500 from the informant, Tyron Ali, she’s pleading to a single misdemeanor charge of failing to report the gift.

    In a defense that reminds me of state Sen. Clay Davis from HBO’s “The Wire,” Peruto said Bishop didn’t take the money for personal use.

    “Yes, she did accept $1,500 from Tyrone Ali,” Peruto said, “but that very day, and others, she spent more than $10,000, in cash, on the street” to help community groups.

    Peruto told me he’d submitted affidavits to the DA’s office from two people who would verify that Bishop had given them cash assistance, and that investigators had looked into it.

    He figures the people’s stories must have checked out, and that’s why he got such a great deal for this client.

    I asked if Peruto could tell me who benefited from Williams’ generosity. He said he’d have to look into it, and would call me if they were willing to speak with a reporter. I didn’t hear anything by the day’s end.

    The 82-year old Bishop must pay $6,500 in restitution and prosecution costs and resign from the Legislature. But she’ll avoid jail time and keep her state pension.

    And after six months’ probation, Peruto said, her record will be expunged.

    “It basically means she can die without being a criminal,” Peruto said, “and that’s very important to somebody who’s led a law-abiding life.”

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