According to Angela Couloumbis of the Inquirer, Montgomery County Judge William R. Carpenter has order Kane to appear before his court on April 27th to explain the firing of James Barker.
This raised questions because Barker was among the witnesses called by the grand jury recommending charges against Kane. Couloumbis is now reporting that Barker’s testimony contradicted Kane’s own statements.
Later, Kane’s office accused Barker of failing to stop an unspecified grand jury leak.
“Restructuring was necessary for efficiency and tighter controls amid media reports of cases allegedly before a sitting grand jury. While not known yet who is specifically responsible for those leaks, supervisory accountability falls to the head of the unit,” Kane’s office said.
“There is not the slightest grain of truth to the notion that there is anything retaliatory about these restructuring and personnel changes. Any innuendo to the contrary is entirely false.”
Judge Carpenter is now asserting that while the grand jury investigation has run out, the protective order he issued for witnesses is still in effect.
Therefore, he is calling on Kane to appear and answer charges that Barker is being punished for his testimony.
We will have any updates if they should come up and judging by past history, there will probably be more updates.
Update: Kane’s personal attorney Lanny Davis released the following statement:
“I can reassure Judge Carpenter that the personnel decisions over the last two years, including the most recent ones, were 100% appropriate management decisions by Attorney General Kane consistent with her campaign themes and commitments to the people of Pennsylvania for reform and efficiency in the Office of Attorney General.
I refer all to the attached statement issued yesterday by the Attorney General. As you will note, Attorney General Kane also believes in accountability and responsibility, and expressed concern about media reports concerning a grand jury. She also categorically denies that these personnel decisions were in any way retaliatory – they were made on the merits for the reasons just stated.”
Davis also included the AG’s complete statement from yesterday’s on Barker’s firing:
“The Attorney General ran on a platform promising change and reform from the way the Attorney General’s office had functioned in the past. The changes made in the last two years (which include moves and terminations) and those that will continue to be made in the future are consistent with this commitment to the people of Pennsylvania.
Regarding the decision to replace the head of the Appeals/Grand Jury Unit, restructuring was necessary for efficiency and tighter controls amid media reports of cases allegedly before a sitting grand jury. While not known yet who is specifically responsible for those leaks, supervisory accountability falls to the head of the unit.
The decisions on restructuring and personnel are about change to an office that desperately needed new leadership that is accountable and responsible to Pennsylvanians. There is not the slightest grain of truth to the notion that there is anything retaliatory about these restructuring and personnel changes. Any innuendo to the contrary is entirely false.
Looking forward, the Attorney General will continue to ensure that this office that is so important to the safety and welfare of our citizens performs to the highest possible standard.”
The statement also elaborated on the restructuring of the Attorney General’s office:
“With the initial realignment of the Criminal Division, the Appeals Unit and the Grand Jury Unit will be separated allowing each to function independently and without distractions and to allow for more direct supervision over the Grand Jury Unit. Deputy Attorney General Amy Zapp will head the Appeals Unit. She will report directly to Executive Deputy Attorney General Larry Cherba. Cherba, who is EDAG of the Criminal Law Division, will oversee the Grand Jury Unit. Each unit head will report directly to First Deputy Attorney General Bruce Beemer.”
Update 2: Steve Esack of the Morning Call is reporting that Montgomery County DA Risa Vetri Ferman has issued search warrants for Kane’s headquarters in Harrisburg, her office in Norristown and her emails.
Update 3: Kane’s attorney Lanny Davis has released another statement, although it does not mention the recent search warrants.
“We reiterate that we look forward to cooperating with the Montgomery District Attorney to assist her in reviewing all the facts. As I have said before, I am confident that once that process is completed, the conclusion will be that Attorney General Kane has done nothing wrong.
Regarding Judge Carpenter’s notice of a hearing, we intend to file papers, as he has invited us to do, challenging the basis of the order and reiterating that personnel decisions made by Atty. Gen. Kane were entirely based on good faith judgments about improving the efficiency and competency of the Attorney General Kane’s office.”