Pennsylvania House Select Committee holds hearings on practices of DA Larry Krasner's office

Maggie Kent Image
Thursday, September 29, 2022
Pa. committee holds hearings on practices of DA Krasner's office
This hearing comes after the state house voted to hold Krasner in contempt for failing to provide them with all documentation requested.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Pennsylvania House select committee that is focusing on violent crime and its prosecution in the city of Philadelphia held its first hearing on Thursday.

At the center is District Attorney Larry Krasner's office.

This hearing comes after the state house voted to hold Krasner in contempt for failing to provide them with all documentation requested.

In response, Krasner filed a lawsuit against the House Select Committee saying he was being unfairly targeted, and that the subpoena asking for grand jury records is illegal.

"In light of what is happening it would be a dereliction of duty if we did not take action," said Representative John Lawrence, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order.

Outside the hearing at the Navy Yard, Krasner's supporters held a rally that, they say, was in defense of democracy.

"The rules of elections are clearly stated - majority rules," said one participant. "Mr. Krasner has secured his position by an overwhelming majority."

Thursday's testimony featured "co-victims:" family members of people who were killed in Philadelphia.

"Shattered and broken I sit here before you," said Nakisha Billa.

Billa's son Dominic was fatally shot inside Philadelphia Mills Mall in 2021. She says her son's killer got off too easy before the murder.

"I'll never be the same, never. I'm broken. I'm literally broken," said Nakisha Billa after her son was gunned down inside the Philadelphia Mills mall on Monday.

"If he was convicted in previous charges, Dominic would be here today," said Billa.

Victims' families also described a lack of investigation and communication from the Philadelphia Police Department.

The House Select Committee says it's not only investigating District Attorney Krasner's office and will expand the hearings as they learn more.

"We have a lot to look at across the board in Philadelphia. The continual focus on one individual, I think, is misplaced," said Rep. Lawrence.

District Attorney Krasner did not attend Thursday's hearing. He has not been called for testimony but the Select Committee has not ruled it out.

"I again request that the Select Committee allow me, the target of their inquiry, the opportunity to speak and answer their questions in a fully public and accessible forum," Krasner said in a statement.

When the process concludes the committee will share its findings and recommendations with the house. Those recommendations could include impeachment or other suggestions.

The House Select Committee hearings will continue on Friday at the Navy Yard with testimony from Mark Bergstrom, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing and Greg Rowe, executive director of the Pennsylvania District Attorney Association.