Judge rejects Attorney General Kathleen Kane's informal request on emails

Friday, August 14, 2015
Judge William Carpenter and Attorney General Kathleen Kane
Judge William Carpenter and Attorney General Kathleen Kane

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A judge Thursday rejected an informal request from Pennsylvania's embattled attorney general to authorize the release of pornographic emails that came to light in a scandal she exposed last year.

Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter said in a statement that Attorney General Kathleen Kane had not filed a formal request with the court regarding the emails so he could not rule on the matter.

At a news conference Wednesday, Kane blamed a criminal case against her on efforts to conceal the names of those involved in circulating pornographic and racially insensitive emails that she says were shared among prosecutors and judges.

She called upon Carpenter, who supervised the grand jury probe that led to the criminal charges, to allow her to go beyond the particulars of what she released last year in bringing the email scandal to light. She asked for permission to release the emails, which are in her office's possession, and to stipulate that she would not be penalized for doing so.

Carpenter has issued a protective order barring retaliation against witnesses in the criminal case, but he said Thursday the emails Kane cited were not part of the grand jury evidence.

And in his role as supervising judge, he added: "I made no decision based upon politics, gender, anger, bias or prejudice."

Kane, 49, is accused of leaking grand jury information from a 2009 case to a newspaper reporter in an effort to embarrass a former state prosecutor whom she believed made her look bad and then lying about her actions under oath.

She has denied any wrongdoing and has rejected calls for her resignation. He has not yet entered a plea to the charges.

Kane's driver, Patrick Reese, also is charged with contempt for allegedly violating a court order by accessing emails in a state computer system to keep tabs on the grand jury investigation.

Attorney Ross Kramer said Thursday that Kane's legal team is working on a formal request to Carpenter.

"We intend to take any and all steps to fully litigate this case. We expect to file an appropriate motion next week," Kramer said.

Kane was a political newcomer in 2012 when she became the first woman and first Democrat to be elected as the state attorney general.