DA John Morganelli was one of her original supporters, too. Not anymore. Now, he is seriously considering a run for the job himself, in what will undeniably be an uphill battle against other Democrats as well as Republicans who have allowed Kane to twist slowly in the wind, hoping to get political mileage out of this walking disaster.
Morganelli conducted a news conference in Harrisburg today. He is calling for a complete housecleaning in the Office of Attorney general (OAG), including the elimination of a special prosecutor who is not even licensed in Pennsylvania and who has been given unfettered access to Grand Jury materials. That's the same thing that got Kane into hot water in the first place.
John's statement is below:
|Kathleen Kane mug shot|
It was reported last week that First Deputy Attorney General Bruce Beemer has demanded the return of 850,000 emails that were handed over to the so-called special prosecutor, Douglas Gansler, by AG Kane in the so called "Porn Gate " investigation. Mr. Beemer contends that Kane, in turning over the emails to Mr. Gansler, improperly gave him many messages with confidential details of secret grand jury investigations. According to Mr. Beemer, the emails handed to Gansler contain a relatively small set of offensive messages, and hundreds of thousands of ordinary work emails in which prosecutors discussed pursuing criminal and civil cases. Beemer further stated that anyone who reviews grand jury material must get permission from the grand jury supervising judge who apparently has not given such authorization to Gansler. Letters made public last week suggests that the supervising grand jury judge may be taking steps to investigate yet another unauthorized disclosure of protected grand jury material.
Attorney Gansler has apparently refused the request of the OAG, Mr. Gansler is apparently going rogue. This matter represents, yet another legal mess that has the OAG paralyzed and divided. There continues to exist a disconnect between the elected AG and top people in her office. This has resulted in the OAG being akin to a ship adrift at sea with no one knowing for sure who is in charge. In fact, there is outright revolt.
As Pennsylvania's most senior district attorney, today I am calling on the termination of Mr.Gansler's relationship with the Pennsylvania OAG and the immediate return of property of the OAG. If Mr. Gansler continues to refuse to return property that is not his, I am also calling on the Department of Justice to intervene and seek in federal court an Order of Court directing Mr. Gansler to return the property of the Pennsylvania OAG. I call for this for several reasons:
First, there is no need for a "Special Prosecutor" that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars to do this type of investigation. The fact that the OAG's email servers have been a hub for the exchange of sexually explicit content and messages mocking women, minorities, gays, and others, while reprehensible, is not a crime. There has never been the slightest indication that any of the material contained child pornography which IS a crime. Adult pornography is generally viewed as legal and non prosecutable. Further, even if one could argue that Pennsylvania's obscenity statutes, which are still on the books, are in play, the OAG would not even have jurisdiction. The OAG has only limited criminal jurisdiction as authorized by the Commonwealth's Attorneys Act with the rest left to county district attorneys. Enforcement of obscenity statutes is not within their authority.
Second, there has never been the slightest indication that any of the material establishes to any degree any case fixing, criminal conspiracies to obstruct justice or any other crimes. Thus, Pennsylvanians may foot a bill for millions of dollars for a lawyer to look for material that at most will embarrass folks. That is not a proper mission of a special prosecutor appointed by the AG or the goal of a criminal investigation in general. Criminal investigations are initiated when there is some hint that criminal activity may be occurring. In this case, there has never been that suggestion and it appears that the goal here is not to look at folks who may be committing a crime, but rather, to try to find a crime against someone.
Third, Gansler is NOT independent. He was retained by Ms. Kane. He has made public remarks critical of both the Supreme Court's decision to suspend her license and the Senate's bid to remove her. As such, he is tainted. If it is in the public interest to finish the job of an independent review of the emails for the purpose of determining whether ethical violations may have occurred, the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board that oversees lawyers, the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission and the Judicial Conduct Board working together offer a much more independent review with out bias or with any agenda of revenge and/or retribution. In short, it is not the role of the OAG to conduct this kind of inquiry or appoint a special counsel to do it.
In addition to the termination of Gansler, the OAG itself needs a house cleaning of all top tier people. If Ms. Kane is removed by action of the Senate and Governor, and an interim AG is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, the first order of business should be to ask for the resignations of all top level people. A new AG just cannot be saddled with Kane appointees, people loyal to Tom Corbett and/or people mired in "Porn Gate". A new AG needs a completely new team of professional prosecutors with no agenda, bias or loyalties other than to the people of Pennsylvania devoted solely to clean up this mess. "Porn Gate" must end, and the OAG must return to its core mission.