Both newspapers have adjoining offices at the Northampton County Courthouse, just down the hall from the Recorder of Deeds. Not many people know they exist. But Late Monday or early Tuesday, someone dropped off a copy of a letter that Attorney Janet Jackson had just sent to the Pennsylvania State Police, demanding a criminal investigation of Angle and his wife over a civil will dispute.
Janet Jackson, by the way, represents Angle's sister-in-law, who's very much a part of that will controversy.
When this dispute first surfaced, the verbatim ruling made by Register of Wills Dorothy Cole was plastered all over a local hate blog before the matter had even been made public.
In addition to this leak, Jackson decided to try her case in The Express Times, after learning that Fred Angle's estate was actually much smaller than she had hoped. Now she's continuing to spin the local newspapers, making sure her goofy letter to the state police finds its way to their little-known courthouse offices.
Jackson's Bethlehem office address is listed as Suite 201, 60 W. Broad Street. It just so happens that Angle's biggest enemy on Northampton County Council, partisan Democrat Lamont McClure, is next door at Suite 202. Lamont certainly knows that the newspapers have offices at the courthouse. So does his wife, who works in the District Attorney's office. Interestingly, McClure had a signed copy of the Register of Wills' decision before it was made public. Gee, what a coincidence!
Obviously, some of this is political. Jackson denies that, telling Express Times reporter Sarah Cassi in February that her contributions to Democratic candidates are "in the past." That's interesting, because she's given John Callahan $1,750 for his congressional bid against Charlie Dent, with her most recent contribution on April 5. She and her husband hosted a fundraiser for failed congressional wannabe Siobhan Bennett, and were at that time listed as her campaign chairs. They dug into their pockets and found $1,750 for Bennett. In the past five years, they've spent $6,300 on Democratic state and federal candidates, from Charles Dertinger to Ed Rendell. (Their spending can be tracked here, here and here.)
Just as obviously, Jackson is motivated by greed. First she tried to use the press to humiliate Ron and his family into settling this dispute. Now she's using both the press and state police. But he seems to be laughing at her, almost as hard as the state police. "They'll never take me alive," is what he told Sarah Cassi.
Jackson's been so busy going after Angle in the press and with the state police, that she seems to have forgotten that someone could decide to go after her.
According to the Rules of Professional Responsibility concerning publicity, the last thing she should do is provide copies of her letter to the state police for dissemination to the newspapers. That's done solely to smear the other side. And the letter to the state police, especially as leaked to the media, is obviously intended to give her an edge in that will dispute, and is an abuse of the criminal justice system by someone motivated by personal gain.
Now you may wink at this and say, "It's only Angle. Who cares?" What will you do when some lawyer decides to try a case against you in the newspaper? How will you feel when some mouthpiece complains about you to the state police, and conveniently makes sure that the newspapers get a copy? How would you feel when reporters ask you about the complaint, but won't provide you with a copy of the letter?
I liked Janet Jackson much better when she just sang and had the occasional wardrobe malfunction.