(philly.com) – Kane to release more names in porn scandal

Kathleen G. Kane has hundreds of emails. (ED HILLE/Staff Photographer)

 

HARRISBURG – There will be more porn – and lots of it.

As beleaguered Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane waits for her law license suspension to take effect, her spokesman said Tuesday the office was preparing to release hundreds of sexually explicit emails shared by state officials and employees on government time and computers.

Kane first signaled her intention to do so Monday, hours after the state Supreme Court voted to suspend her license while she faces criminal charges. On Tuesday, her spokesman, Chuck Ardo, offered details of the plan, including that she intends to make the emails public with the names of all senders and recipients unredacted, a departure from how she handled the release of a smaller sample of the X-rated material last year. Ardo also said recipients include members of the State Police as well as government officials from Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

He did not say when the release would occur. Asked to explain Kane’s shift, Ardo said it was the volume of requests Kane had received from reporters and others for the information under the state’s Right-to-Know law.

“I think she has decided that the volume of requests has gotten to the point that the office needs to move on from this issue – and has decided that the best way to move forward is to release all the emails,” he said.

Kane’s decision on the emails came after the high court’s suspension effectively stripped her of the ability to make legal decisions as the state’s top law enforcement officer, a sanction that could bolster efforts by the Republican-led legislature to remove her. Under court rules, the suspension does not take effect for 30 days, or until Oct. 21.

In statements Monday, Kane cited with pride her attempts to “root out the culture of misogyny and racially/religiously offensive behavior that has permeated law enforcement and members of the judiciary in this commonwealth for years.” She also said for the first time that she had discovered more people involved in the state employee pornographic email chains, including judges and law enforcement officials. She did not elaborate.

Jim Koval, a spokesman for the Supreme Court, said Tuesday that if Kane has pornographic messages sent or received by judges, “her proper course of action would be to refer them to the Judicial Conduct Board,” which oversees judges.

The Democratic attorney general found the emails during a review of how her Republican predecessors had handled the investigation into Jerry Sandusky, the former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach convicted on child sex abuse charges.

Late last year, she publicly named eight men who participated in the exchanges. All had ties to Frank Fina, a former state prosecutor with whom she is feuding. She later said she disciplined 61 employees in her office, but identified only four.

She has said at varying times this year that she wanted to release all the messages, but claimed she had been legally barred from doing so by a protective order in the criminal case in Montgomery County, where Kane faces perjury, obstruction, and other charges related to the leak of confidential material. The order blocks her from intimidating or harassing potential witnesses.

The courts have told Kane on numerous occasions that she is free to release the messages, but urged her to unveil all of them rather than choose which ones to make public.

Despite her new stance, Kane also had gone to court to block the emails’ release as requested by The Inquirer and others. In doing so, Kane contended that the messages are not public records because they do not involve official business of the Attorney General’s Office.

acouloumbis@phillynews.com

717-787-5934@AngelasInk
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