Williams Explains Decision to Keep Fina
Well, it would be more accurate to say he’s finally taking questions.
On Friday, Williams announced he would not fire prosecutors Frank Fina, Marc Costanzo and Pat Blessington for their involvement in pornographic and lewd email chains on state-owned equipment during their time in the Attorney General’s office.
Today, Philadelphia Magazine released an interview with Williams conducted by Associate Editor Holly Otterbein.
She asked why the DA decided to release his decision at 4:23 p.m. on the Friday afternoon before Labor Day weekend.
“I finished up Friday morning,” Williams stated “and I wanted to release it as soon as possible. If I had waited until Tuesday, then I’m sure people would have been mad. ‘Oh, he knew Friday.’ So there was no right or wrong. All I could do is what I thought was best.”
He did not say, though, whether he deliberately set out to finish his review on that day so he could release the information at the most advantageous possible time. He also apparently didn’t hold a press conference because he wasn’t sure people would want to ask him questions.
“What I thought I would do was, as soon as possible, make the release,” he said. “And then if there were people such as yourself who wanted to ask specific questions, I’d make myself available to answer questions.”
Otterbein also asked why Fina was given the same punishment as the other two men when he sent some of the emails and was not just a recipient.
“I tried to look at what the facts were,” Williams responded. “And I can’t state strongly enough how stupid the emails were, right. But if you’re going to look at it and break it down, what we saw and what was released by the Supreme Court on the 26th were 20 emails. And you look at it, Frank Fina was more than just a recipient, yes. He forwarded seven of them, and of the seven that he forwarded, two of them he made comments on.”
Nevertheless the DA still felt Fina’s actions didn’t warrant his termination.
When Otterbein pointed out the rampant racism and sexism in the emails, Williams shifted the blame to their then-employer Tom Corbett.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that these aren’t offensive. I’m not trying to say that they aren’t racist or misogynistic or ignorant or just outright asinine. How this could be done in the workplace, I don’t know. How it is that Attorney General Corbett allowed this, I don’t know. I don’t understand a workplace where people have as much time to be sending around all this stupid shit at work. I don’t.”
Additionally, while Williams asserted he wasn’t afraid of what effect this decision would have on his political future he did seem quite upset at how he has been portrayed.
“I’d rather not have you asking me these questions, or NOW being mad at me, or the Daily News having a picture of me from before I lost 55 pounds on the front page of the Daily News,” he stated.
Finally, Williams brought up the fact that the man he feels was at the center of the email activity was kept on and eventually promoted by Kathleen Kane (this fact was also included in Williams’ Friday statement).
So that seems to cut to the core of the issue. Neither side will fire anyone because neither side wants to admit wrongdoing.