Saturday, October 31, 2015

Life goes from bad to worse for Pa's Attorney General

Pennsylvania's embattled Attorney General Kathleen Kane
For the first time since Kathleen Kane's legal troubles began in May 2014, top lawyers in the attorney general's office appear to be in open revolt against their embattled boss, further exposing internal turmoil in Pennsylvania's top law enforcement agency.
The Morning Call's Steve Esack reports:

On Friday, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, a Democrat like Kane, said a high-ranking staffer in Kane's office recently sought his help in ousting her.
The staffer, Morganelli said, asked him to use a rare court procedure only a county district attorney or the attorney general can employ to remove an unfit public official from office. Morganelli said he would not tap the legal remedy  quo warranto even though he referred to Kane's office as "a mess."
"I found it alarming that high-ranking OAG people thought things were so bad that they openly were looking to have a coup regarding their boss," he said in a statement. "Public confidence in the OAG as well as in our judges and courts is being eroded. I never imagined it could get so bad."
It's so bad that even the agency's top lawyers don't think Kane can do the job anymore, after the Supreme Court suspended her law license Oct. 22 over perjury charges against her.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Friday that the lawyers told Kane in a letter dated Oct. 21 they disagreed with her assertion she can remain in charge because 98 percent of her duties are managerial and ministerial. State law says the attorney general must be a licensed lawyer.
The letter was signed by Kane's first deputy, Bruce Beemer, and executive deputies James A. Donahue III, head of the public protection unit; Robert A. Mulle, chief of the civil division; and Lawrence Cherba, director of the criminal division.
In a third punch Friday, Kane's spokesman Chuck Ardo released an internal office memo written by the four. Their memo says Kane was wrong to claim that anyone who sends an email to the agency has no right to privacy. The memo came after Kane defended her decision to release the private emails of a judge with whom she has feuded.
"Any email sent to an email account in the Office of Attorney General, whether from a private or public email account, is not considered a private communication once it is captured by an OAG server," Kane said in a statement Thursday.
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