A spokesman for state Attorney General Kathleen Kane says he doesn’t know when she will follow through on her latest promise to release all uncovered pornographic e-mails exchanged with current and former employees of the Office of Attorney General.
Chuck Ardo told reporters Tuesday that Kane is no longer concerned about flouting court orders or labor agreements she had referred to as reasons to keep the e-mails and other recipients confidential.
“Her concern has faded,” said Ardo. He added that a “constant” stream of Right-to-Know requests for the e-mails has led Kane to conclude she must release the unsavory messages in their entirety.
Ardo gave no timetable for the messages’ release. He could not say how many messages will ultimately be shared, nor did he answer questions about who would be implicated in the exchanges. Ardo could not define the timeframe of e-mails unearthed. He said no names would be redacted in the final release, though the OAG is reviewing each e-mail to redact confidential investigative material.
“I can tell you that the chief of staff has been spending a considerable amount of time reviewing these to ensure that information that is intended to be protected remains protected,” said Ardo, referring to Kane’s chief of staff, Jonathan Duecker.
The attorney general’s latest position is yet another reversal of her stance on the e-mails. It puts Kane at odds with lawyers within her agency who are engaged in a court dispute to fight the release of the e-mails. The OAG argued before Commonwealth Court last week that the pornographic e-mails do not meet the definition of public records.
Kane shared her intentions in a “revised” written statement that was sent hours after her law license was temporarily suspended by the state Supreme Court on Monday:
“...in the wake of the Commonwealth Court hearing, I’ve instructed my office to engage in a comprehensive review of all emails sitting on OAG servers to fully comply with the RTKLs. Our preliminary review has generated emails of government officials, including law enforcement officials and judges, heretofore unknown to us. These emails will be fully released either as public documents defined by the Commonwealth Court, or at my discretion.”
The license suspension takes effect in 30 days. The high court was petitioned to file an emergency suspension of Kane’s law license in light of criminal charges filed against her last month.
The attorney general is accused of forking over secret investigative material to a newspaper in an attempt to seek revenge on her detractors. She faces a felony perjury charge for allegedly lying about the ordeal under oath. Kane has said she’s innocent of the charges, and in a speech last month, said her official capacity is under attack from people who don’t want her to release pornographic e-mails that implicate them.
The e-mails Kane says she’ll release were uncovered last year by the Office of Attorney General during a review of the Jerry Sandusky prosecution. Ardo said the search for inappropriate e-mails has since uncovered additional messages.
Since last August, Kane has released some of the pornographic e-mails to the state Supreme Court and to the press – moves that have led to forced resignations and reprimands for current and former employees of her office.
Recently, the Supreme Court obliged a request from Kane to release e-mails she had submitted to the court that show her top foes, including former state prosecutor Frank Fina and Marc Costanzo, were involved in the raunchy e-mail chains. Fina and Costanzo, now employed by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, have been told to attend sensitivity training.