Pa. Supreme Court freed Kane to release porn emails in December

     Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane speaks during a news conference last week. She said that criminal charges against her are part of an effort by state prosecutors and judges to conceal pornographic and racially insensitive emails they circulated with one another. Documents unsealed Tuesday by the state Supreme Court challenge that account. (AP photo/Matt Rourke)

    Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane speaks during a news conference last week. She said that criminal charges against her are part of an effort by state prosecutors and judges to conceal pornographic and racially insensitive emails they circulated with one another. Documents unsealed Tuesday by the state Supreme Court challenge that account. (AP photo/Matt Rourke)

    If pornographic office emails are at the root of the criminal charges filed against Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, new court orders unsealed Tuesday show that she could have released them, in full, as early as December.

     

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court unsealed two orders Tuesday in response to Kane’s comments last week that a grand jury judge is blocking her efforts to expose a chain of raunchy emails exchanged among prosecutors and judges.

    The orders show that Kane employed a similar argument late last year.

    Two denials, both dated Dec. 19, 2014, refuse Kane’s requests for review of and relief from a protective order placed by Judge William Carpenter, who supervised the grand jury that investigated her. The Supreme Court concluded that the protective order was not meant to restrict the release of any “possibly pornographic” emails Kane may want to release.

    A statement from the Supreme Court Tuesday said the orders are being unsealed “in light of statements made last week by Attorney General Kane.” The court is looking for any “additional associated documents” that may be released.

    Kane’s lawyer Gerald Shargel said the attorney general will drop her calls for Carpenter to lift his protective order. Kane had said she would take reporters’ questions if Carpenter obliged.

    The attorney general had previously argued that the emails should be released for the good of the commonwealth in the name of government transparency. But Shargel suggested they would become part of her criminal defense.

    “We expect that appropriate public disclosure will occur in connection with the vigorous defense of the criminal charges that have been laid against her,” Shargel said in a statement. “These images and the emails to which they are attached are essential to demonstrating Attorney General Kane’s innocence, and the abject flaws in the district attorney’s affidavit of probable cause.”

    Last week, Kane called on grand jury Judge Carpenter to lift a court order she claimed prevented her from releasing lewd office emails she uncovered in the course of another investigation. Kane’s partial release of the emails last year led to a purge of state employees, numerous employee reprimands, and the eventual forced resignation of a state Supreme Court justice.

    Carpenter responded last week, saying that the emails Kane describes were not part of the grand jury investigation he supervised.

    Kane was charged Aug. 6 with perjury and other offenses. Montgomery County prosecutors said she leaked secret investigative material and lied about it under oath. Kane maintains her innocence. A Monday preliminary hearing is scheduled.

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