Kane Stymies Williams Prosecution of Philly Sting

kane presserA new tangent materialized in the widely reported sting operation that Attorney General Kathleen Kane halted back in 2013.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, an outspoken dissenter of Kane’s decision to stop the sting operation, accepted the AG’s offer to prosecute the case himself if he believed a conviction could be made.

Williams accepted the challenge more than two weeks ago, but none of the pertinent case files have been sent to Williams or his team.

In a letter to Williams, Kane cited “potential conflicts” that Williams will face handling the case, as well as “concerns about privacy provisions of the Pennsylvania Wiretap Act,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

“It has been almost two weeks to the day that Ms. Kane requested that I take this case, and I find it odd that in all of this time she has never mentioned this so-called conflict of interest,” Williams told the Inquirer. “It is apparent that Ms. Kane doesn’t really believe I have a conflict, or she wouldn’t have repeatedly suggested I take over this case.”

Kane has received a lot of flack for her decision to disband the sting operation. She has insisted that the Attorney General’s office “could not prosecute [the] case,” citing a lack of prosecutable evidence and a blatantly racially-tinged operation. But even members of her own Democratic party have spoken out against her decision, Williams included.

The case involved five Philadelphia politicians, including four State Reps., who allegedly accepted bribes from an undercover lobbyist named Tyron B. Ali. The State Reps. implicated were all members of the Democratic Party as well as the Black Caucus.

Kane has faced accusations that she was protecting her own party and the lawmakers who supported her campaign. Williams, by accepting Kane’s offer to prosecute the case, hopes to correct any favoritism shown towards those implicated.

However, State Reps. Ronald G. Waters and Vanessa Lowery Brown, both accused of accepting bribes, also supported Williams campaign back in 2009.

“The fact that political figures endorse a prosecutor for office should not grant them immunity from prosecution,” Williams told the Inquirer. “These same representatives endorsed Ms. Kane for office, but that did not excuse her from her duty to investigate and prosecute them under the law.”

As it stands, Williams is still waiting for the files to go any further with reassessing the case.

In addition, a reader poll held last month by PoliticsPA showed that many of this website’s viewers — a little more than half — believe that Kane should have prosecuted the case back in 2013.

 

April 24th, 2014 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 28 Comments

28 thoughts on “Kane Stymies Williams Prosecution of Philly Sting”

  1. Marla in PA says:

    I don’t think Kane should fight the indictment. She should enter a plea, step down as AG, and then continue in another line of work. She looks like a natural fit for a QVC product presenter. Her mug shot was very attractive; imagine how good she would look with the best of QVC cosmetic artists prepping her for TV stardom!

  2. Marla in PA says:

    And it looks like a criminal trainwreck at that.

  3. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    A bunch of hyperinks on the current “keystonereports” page corroborate points made earlier, by moi, countering DD’s flailing:

    Philly DA won’t give AG Kane a pass…

    Analysis: Kane invited risks by daring Williams on sting…

    Clouds Kane’s political potential…

    FINA VS. KANE…

    Inquirer Editorial: Kane’s story keeps changing…

  4. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    @ DD:

    Let’s annotate your oxymoronic note, taking into account its author, shall we?

    “The recent Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance seems fine with unlimited contributions that aren’t directly connected quid-pro-quo.”

    This claim [which another individual discounted] would not defend against a justified corruption claim; I would think a jury would want to jail people who violate the public-trust.

    “When the police attempt entrapment, they have to have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Here, they appear to have dotted the t’s and crossed the i’s.”

    You have absolutely no basis for making this claim.

    “Since when were the racial arguments demolished? ‘The State Reps. implicated were all members of the Democratic Party as well as the Black Caucus.’ Now, if they had targeted a dozen politicians (white and black) and only the black politicians had allegedly accepted bribes, but the white ones didn’t, then you could avoid a claim of racial bias. But in this case, the targeting appears racial. And that’s all a jury needs to believe.”

    If you read further, the articles claim that the initial “net” was not racially-oriented, notwithstanding the race of the “fish” who were caught.

    “You’re the one embarrassing yourself with your expectations for Guzzardi and support of his hairbrained ideology.”

    I have been close-to-the-vest regarding Guzzardi; my responsibility was limited to petition-vetting and, notwithstanding your unfounded barbs, this effort was sustained by CC.

    “When you say: ‘initially reserved judgment,’ it clearly implies to native English speakers that his position has changed. The use of initially combined with past tense ‘reserved’ is a strong indicator of a change. Otherwise, if there was no change, you would write, he ‘still reserves judgment.’

    First of all, you infer incorrectly [and you should type period/comma inside quotation-marks]; secondly, I referred solely to what he did @ first-blush.

    “If you didn’t know his current position, then you shouldn’t have implied that it changed.”

    I cannot remedy your deficient reading-comprehension skills, as has been oft’ noted herein; I don’t know if he has yet altered his stance.

    “I’m still waiting for YOUR prediction on % of vote Guzzardi gets in May primary.”

    Godot may yet arrive.

    “I’ve guessed it will be close to 20%. (It could be as high as 25%, but 20% seems more likely and closer to the final number than any guess you are likely to make.)”

    You keep trying to change-the-subject when here, for example, the focus is clearly trained upon AG-Kane; in psychiatric terms, this is part of Bleuler’s-quartet defining psychosis [“loose associations”].

  5. Unsanctioned R says:

    “But, once she turns the case over to Williams…”

    If ifs and buts were candy and nuts…

  6. David Diano says:

    Unsanctioned R-
    She got the down arrow on the perception of the delay. But, once she turns the case over to Williams, she’ll be giving him a shovel to dig himself a deeper hole.

    Then reality will take over perception. The final verdict in the case (or Williams dropping the case once it’s in his lap) will be the long term political decider.

  7. Unsanctioned R says:

    “The court of law”!?
    How dare you talk about the law?
    But more importantly, why bring it up?
    Who’s talking about a court of law!
    This is POLITICSPA!!

    P.S. That’s NOT an up arrow she got this week.

  8. David Diano says:

    Perception is NOT reality.

    The Sun “appears” to go around the Earth, but the REALITY is that the Earth goes around the Sun.

    In the court of law, the burden of proof is on the prosecution not only on the alleged crimes but also on the police conduct. You could be guilty as sin, but if the police acted improperly, you could avoid conviction. (Like evidence obtained without a warrant thrown out.)

  9. Unsanctioned R says:

    Oh David, are the walls padded around you? Please ask an attorney friend about your legal analysis. Your comparison to recent SC decision at least is way off.

    Perception is reality and the AG has been spayed.

  10. Sancho-
    The recent Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance seems fine with unlimited contributions that aren’t directly connected quid-pro-quo.

    When the police attempt entrapment, they have to have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Here, they appear to have dotted the t’s and crossed the i’s.

    Since when were the racial arguments demolished? “The State Reps. implicated were all members of the Democratic Party as well as the Black Caucus.” Now, if they had targeted a dozen politicians (white and black) and only the black politicians had allegedly accepted bribes, but the white ones didn’t, then you could avoid a claim of racial bias. But in this case, the targeting appears racial. And that’s all a jury needs to believe.

    You’re the one embarrassing yourself with your expectations for Guzzardi and support of his hairbrained ideology.

    When you say: “initially reserved judgment” it clearly implies to native English speakers that his position has changed. The use of initially combined with past tense “reserved” is a strong indicator of a change. Otherwise, if there was no change, you would write, he “still reserves judgment”.

    If you didn’t know his current position, then you shouldn’t have implied that it changed.

    I’m still waiting for YOUR prediction on % of vote Guzzardi gets in May primary.

    I’ve guessed it will be close to 20%. (It could be as high as 25%, but 20% seems more likely and closer to the final number than any guess you are likely to make.)

  11. Joe The Plumber says:

    “Our gem of a D.A. called a grand jury — based on nothing — to look into the accidental death of a woman in attorney Chuck Peruto’s home, but he can’t scrape up enough on the “police officers” to present to the grand jury? And he had the nerve to criticize Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane for not indicating corrupt politicians?”
    Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/stuniversity/256701296.html#ltbXvM88qeVA4wBF.99

  12. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    @ dd:

    First, I write only for myself and not for Guzzardi; my point had been that he had initially reserved judgment and not that he had subsequently weighed-in.

    Second, you ignore the fact that many of the initial arguments raised by AG-Kane [such as “racism”] have been demolished; thus, you reflect inherent bias in your selective and transparent effort to rewrite history.

    Third, it matters not whether the anticipated voting was allegedly unaffected by $$$, for payments can be provided to “reward” people for “doing the right thing”; thus, the alleged quid-pro-quo survives efforts to undermine the facts-on-the-ground.

    Fourth, you again suggest a convenient “out” by blaming an outcome that would not befit your prediction as tainted [by whatever type of conjured bias]; perhaps, instead, you should simply allow fact-finders to do their job and allow “res ipsa loquitur.”

    Fifth, readers of this page of PoliticsPA should note how DD has embarrassed himself elsewhere, most recently @ “pa-gov-schwartz-appears-on-msnbc-with-new-aca-ad/57177/”; this may partially-explain his support for AG-Kane who, otherwise, is justifiably being attacked across the political spectrum [with some lamenting her crashing “star”].

  13. Unsanctioned R-
    You are too worried about the “narrative”. Kane made a good case as to why the case was flawed beyond repair.

    I think the votes in question were all unanimous Dem votes, so you’d have a hard time proving a quid-pro-quo relationship between gifts and a vote they’d be expected to make anyway. The handling of the “informant” seems to be one of the biggest problems as investigators were willing to let him off scott-free for hundreds of thousands, in order to create a sting involving hundreds of dollars targeting black legislators.

    Unless the judge and jury are white men from the deep south, this case is a loser.

    Sancho-
    You started with: “I know nothing about the politics of internal-Dem machinations,”
    You should have stopped there.

    As for why the case is a loser, go back and look at Kane’s original assessment listing the flaws. It’s always possible to get a bad judge and jury to go along with a prosecution, but it doesn’t mean it’s a good/responsible idea when the case is so flawed.

    If you, Guzzardi and Unsanctioned R are supporting Williams on this, Kane must be in better shape than I thought.

  14. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    Addendum:

    I had purposefully referred to Williams as the “AG” because [1]–he appears to be filling this vacuum, and [2]–the appellation conveys the impression that he has behaved as “the only adult in the room.”

    I know nothing of his private machinations, but it seems he has been a reliable public-figure within Philly; would anyone impugn his ability to pursue a high-profile anti-corruption matter?

  15. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    Addendum:

    I had purposefully referred to Williams as the “PA-DA” because [1]–he appears to be filling this vacuum, and [2]–the phrase carries certain alliterative qualities.

    I know nothing of his political ambitions, but it seems he has been a competent dispenser of justice within Philly; would anyone impugn his ability to prosecute this case effectively?

  16. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    I know nothing about the politics of internal-Dem machinations, but I have read of the [damning] tapes and the [more-damning] tacit-admissions of guilt; thus, why should DD pre-ordain the case as a loser, unless he is somehow attempting to manipulate the thread of the conversation [as usual] away from the facts?

    With all due respect, it would seem that handing the case to the Feds risks superimposition of another level of AG-Holder’s [and BHO’s, by extension] politicization of everything they touch; this contrasts with what appears to be a heartfelt desire to obtain justice by the PA-DA.

    Just as did Guzzardi, one responder initially provided AG-Kane the benefit-of-the-doubt, but it seems her flip-flops are now beyond embarrassment; thus, perhaps, it is time for the state-legislature to initiate a probe of her handling of this case.

    Meanwhile, true-to-form, it seems Corbett remains, basically, inert, except to have countered her claim that she was somehow now emulating his past performance in this matter…ignoring crucial interim events; notwithstanding party-affiliations, therefore, this issue could become front-and-center in the gubernatorial race, and it would be of-interest to acquire input from the four Dems in this regard.

    In short, the public record suggests prosecution should be a no-brainer, regardless of how AG-Kane conjures rationalizations upon procrastinations; it is entirely plausible that it could be pursued both by AG-Williams and by the state-legislature [with the latter tasked not only with the care-and-maintenance of its members, but also with the ability of AG-Kane to dispense justice untainted by political-bias].

  17. elroy hirsch says:

    Mr. Williams’ conflict is his prosecutor Frank Fina. Fina lead the sting and is under investigation for alleged misconduct in several other cases. Kane is currently defending him in court and at the same time reviewing his actions as the Deputy Attorney General under Corbett/Ryan/Kelly. There is no point in adding another mess to the mix.

  18. David D. Waltz says:

    I have been following this mess since it came out. Why not give the case to the Feds? This does not make any scents other there is a case or not. From what I am seeing it sounds like there is a case. So lets end this the names are out there so lets end this one way or the other. Clear the names or but them in jail.

  19. Unsanctioned R says:

    David, U shur u want 2 stay in the prediction business? Ur record not so good.

    Williams and Murphy are Obama productions. His organization is in shambles in most places. Kane is a Clinton girl, they’re ascending. That said…

    I defended Kane when this broke, but she’s self destructed herself at every turn. The narrative now is that her motives can no longer be trusted. That’s a bad place to be. If there’s audio in the casefile, jury be damned, Williams will deliver the coup de grace to Kane. Call it Murphy’s revenge. It’s darn near Shakespearean.

  20. lariat-
    Please learn the difference between your and you’re. Otherwise, people will figure out you’re clueless during your first sentence, and spoil the surprise.

    How will the “party be over for her”? If the case is a prosecution loser, then Williams is forced to either:
    1) realize this and give up the case
    2) roll the dice and go ahead with a bad case

    Either way, Kane gets to wear an “I told you so” t-shirt whenever she visits Philly D.A.’s office.

    Seth Williams endorsed Pat Murphy for A.G. Maybe Seth was hoping to be A.G. because if Murphy won A.G., he’d be running for Gov now, and Williams would be lining himself up to fill the slot.

    But, that’s an alternate universe.

    I think Kane is holding back the records a bit longer just to make Williams scream (cry) so hard for them that he’ll be unable to separate himself down the line, when the case falls apart. After weeks of Williams whining “Mine. Mine. Mine”, he’s not going to be able to say: “Not mine”.

    Williams may be an advocate for gun control and safety, but Kane is about to hand him a load gun pointed at his own face, and he’s begging to pull the trigger.

  21. lariat says:

    Dave, your clueless, She doesn’t want to hand it over to Williams, because when she does the party will be over for her . Wait until the turnpike case BREAKS LOOSE. She will need more than Sprague.

  22. I think Kane is covering all her bases, by raising flags, and giving Williams enough rope to hang himself (by ignoring them).

    When Williams finally gets this case, and it blows up very publicly in his face, (for all the reasons she listed) he’ll be done politically.

  23. lariat says:

    It’s about time PA politics stopped giving horse teeth a pass.

  24. PAINDY1 says:

    “A Cluster Cluck”: The big sting: To what end?

    http://trib.me/1r1qVIf

  25. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    One wonders if she should be investigated for her handling of this case, just as she’s investigating Corbett.

  26. truther12@hotmail.com says:

    Burying the corruption by spiking the prosecution is a travesty. Beyond that, her lack of skill in seeing the multiple trains she keeps walking into by not seeing how each one of her moves will play out is nuts. First she says no to prosecution, blames, the Feds, but then the Feds dispute her claim. Then she tells the Philly DA he can have the case to prosecute. The Philly DA says he will take the case. Now she says other righteous law enforcement willing to clean up Harrisburg corruption cannot have the case. More and more this looks like she is covering for the corrupt Democrat politicians.
    Will the AG’sr next sound bite be “Let them eat cake”

  27. Unsanctioned R says:

    What a train wreck she’s become. I really am surprised.

Comments are closed.