Close this search box.

Kane Fires Official Who Testified In Her Grand Jury Case

Kane-sadAttorney General Kathleen Kane is at the center of controversy…again.

According to Brad Bumsted of the Tribune-Review, the AG fired the head of the appeals office James Barker yesterday. Kane’s spokeswoman Carolyn Myers described the move as part of a restructuring of the criminal division.

The issue? Barker is among those who testified to the grand jury that recommended charges be filed against the Attorney General.

The other problem? This “restructuring” seems to only involve the firing of James Barker.

“I don’t believe I did anything wrong,” Barker told Bumsted. “I don’t know why I was fired. My firing was the first anyone heard anything about a restructuring.”

When asked whether Barker had committed a fireable offense, Myers responded “I cannot say that.” She did insist, though, that his dismissal was “absolutely not” related to his testifying.

Barker can’t discuss what he said in his testimony although he is looking into whether a “protective order” for witnesses was violated by his termination.

Possible Implications

The key issue this episode raises concerns the Attorney General’s credibility.

Was there really no personal motive involved in Barker’s firing?

In a lengthy profile piece in the Inquirer last week, Kane asserted that she would never be petty enough to endanger her career over attacks and criticisms.

“I invested the time. I invested my family. We invested our resources into this,” she said. “Do you honestly think I would ever risk that over something, over a newspaper article, that appeared in the [Philadelphia] Daily News on one day?”

The profile, however, was based around the idea of Kane the fighter and there were several indications that she is a person who doesn’t take dissent well.

“They would discount my final decision,” Kane said at one point about her aides. “And I would have to say it two, three, four times. And that’s too many times.”

While Risa Vetri Ferman mulls over the conclusions of a grand jury that the Attorney General was short-sighted enough to risk her career in order to punish a political opponent, the public now must wonder whether the same about this incident.

Update: Attorney General Kathleen Kane finally gave a reason for why Barker was fired.

He didn’t prevent a 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.

Barker told Bumsted that Kane’s explanation was “unbelievable”.

“That’s the new excuse isn’t it?” he said. “I have never leaked grand jury information. I don’t know anything about it.”

Kane denied that Barker was being fired for his testimony.

“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.”

Kane did not identify what grand jury leaks she was referring to nor does this statement shed any light on why it took over 24 hours after Bumsted’s initial report for the Attorney General to respond.

34 Responses

  1. There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the made up imaginary way that helps David get out of nonsensical justifications.

    1st press release was no cause. 2nd was for cause–a cause the press sec said didn’t exist. Lies.

  2. Unsanctioned R-

    There are plenty of times where this sort of thing happens, like a police chief resigning,force to retired or being outright fired over an incident or pattern of incidents among the officers under his command.

    It doesn’t necessarily mean he did anything wrong, but just not enough stuff right. Or he did a lot of sh*t wrong, but they get him to go quietly by offering not to condemn him publicly.

  3. “Neither of them is saying that he did anything wrong.”


    “While not known yet who is specifically responsible for those leaks, supervisory accountability falls to the head of the unit.”

    Are we on the same planet Mcfly?

  4. No. Neither of them is saying that he did anything wrong. That is consistent.

    It sounds more like they removed his job completely. He was “head of criminal appeals and the grand jury unit”. Now, “Deputy Attorney General Amy Zapp will head the appeals unit” and Larry “Cherba will oversee the grand jury unit”.

    Regarding the leaks, Barker’s response was “I don’t know anything about it.” Yeah, that the problem. It’s his f*cking job to find out, or better yet, prevent them.

  5. The two statements are at odds on their face. One’s justification is a severance without cause and the other is a for-cause justification. It’s clear as day that one is a lie.

  6. Unsanctioned R-

    The statements of Kane and Myers are consistent. They aren’t accusing him of any wrong doing, just of not doing a good enough job.

    1) The only children reading this are you and bungy and Larry
    2) When did I say: “Yea she’s a liar” or claim that she has lied?

    So, your premise is false.
    A correct statement would be: She fought against an unconstitutional attempt to disenfranchise voters and rig elections. I’m not going to accept these cherry-picked leaks from her political enemies as evidence that she lied.

  7. [Bumsted] Asked whether Barker did anything wrong, Myers said: “I cannot say that.”

    Either the latest soon to be ex-spokeswoman disagrees with her boss’s new explanation of the firing, or the new explanation is a lie. There’s at least one lie coming out of the AG’s office on this one. And that’s kindof worse than stealing a sandwich.

    Going to bat for this lying AG sends a bad message to children. Saying you’d still vote for her sends a bad message about you. This is the ends-justifying-the-means type that others recognize: “Yea she’s a liar, but she stopped Pennsylvania from being the 30th state with a voter ID law and joining the rest of western civilization with fair elections, so who cares?”

  8. Unsanctioned R-

    Over Freed? Absolutely.

    I’m not convinced that anything of the things she’s been accused of are actually criminal.

    My position is that the leak of the memo with the unredacted name was unintentional. So, while it was an “error”, it does not rise to the level of “criminal”.

    It’s interesting that Barker (a Republican) was overseeing these grand juries that have been leaking under his watch.

    If the firing is not retribution, then there should be a few weeks of memos, meetings and a paper trails about the restructuring.

    If Kane feels Barker lied under oath, is that sufficient grounds for firing? I’d certainly fire an employee who lied and I could not trust. That’s not “retribution” but rather learning someone can’t be trusted.

    I’d fire someone for stealing another person’s sandwich from the office refrigerator and lying about it. Because if they’ll lie about a $10 infraction, they can’t be trusted with anything else.

  9. You’re saying if the election was today between Kane and Freed, you’d vote for Kane. We get it.

  10. Unsanctioned R-

    My argument has nothing to do with the ends justifying the means. The positions I listed that she took were exactly the reason I was proud to vote for her. She supported basic rights, when assholes like Corbett were trying to take them away (and lackeys like Freed would have stood by silently or even helped Corbett).

  11. Defending a criminal as the top cop is just another ends-justifies-the-means argument we come to rely on from democrats. With leaders like these, no wonder so many children grow up without any character. That’s not good from a historical perspective and certainly not something to be proud of.

  12. Larry

    You “agree, and who cares about any of that?” Actually, a lot the people whose rights Corbett was trying to trample. Freed as a lackey of that would have been horrible. So, your failure to be concerned about rights shows why your preference of Freed is worthless.

  13. “supervisory accountability falls to the head of the unit,” Kane’s office said.”

    So, Kane’s responsible then? Great job, press hacks!

  14. David, I agree, and who cares about any of that? Freed would have done the job he was elected to do and not use the office for political vendettas.

  15. Larry-

    There is no chance that Freed would have stood up to Corbett on lottery privatization, gay rights and voter rights. We would never have known about the abuses with the porn emails, either.

  16. The story has changed, quickly:

    Brad Bumsted HARRISBURG — Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who could be charged criminally for grand jury leaks, said Thursday that she fired a supervisor because responsibility for leaks from an unspecified “sitting grand jury” fell to him.

    While not known yet who is specifically responsible for those leaks, supervisory accountability falls to the head of the unit.”

    Barker told the Tribune-Review he finds that explanation “unbelievable.”

    “That’s the new excuse, isn’t it?” he said. “I have never leaked grand jury information. I don’t know anything about it.”

  17. David Diano, you only commented on the Kane-Murphy election. You should finally admit that Kane’s Republican opponent, Dave Freed, was far more qualified for the job. He is an elected DA and has actually managed an office, whereas Kane hadn’t practiced law for seven years before becoming AG and is simply a political hack. Of course, you’ll whine about Leroy Zimmerman, but that takes nothing away from Freed’s qualifications for the job.

    Nothing that Kane said during her campaign has turned out to be true. She’s a politician, not a prosecutor. The whole Corbett/Sandusky “investigation” was just a waste of money and a political gimmick that backfired on her.

  18. What can we infer from this? “The other problem? This ‘restructuring’ seems to only involve the firing of James Barker.
    ‘I don’t believe I did anything wrong,” Barker told Bumsted. ‘I don’t know why I was fired. My firing was the first anyone heard anything about a restructuring.’ ”

  19. What do they know that we don’t know? The highest level insiders resigned for a reason.
    Are we not to infer something for this spectacular amount of turnover at highest levels of the AG’s office? As PoliticsPa itself reports: /

    Yesterday [April 8], Carolyn Myers [who was on the job for a month-the previous spokesperson, Aaron Sandler, was on job for two months before ] was defending her boss’ decision to fire James Barker.

    Today, she announced she is stepping down.

    At the moment, Myers is denying that the two events are related.
    She told Brad Bumsted of the Tribune-Review that she gave the Attorney General her two week notice on Monday.

    Myers is the sixth spokesperson to leave Kane’s office since she was inaugurated in January 2013, just short of twenty-seven months ago.

    She [Myers]took the job just over a month ago when Aaron Sadler stepped down. He last[ed] about two months.

  20. When I used to defend her, her decisions were plausibly populist though sometimes unusually legally creative. But her actions since then showed everyone all her decisions were more likely just political ones. Her vindictiveness is brazen. And her appointments quit on her. Even Lanny Davis can’t put together a credible defense.

  21. Troubled Voter:
    “the Clinton hype”??? I was for Kane as soon as I saw her debate Patrick Murphy. The Clinton support came well after I had made my decision. I wouldn’t have voted for Murphy even if Clinton had supported him instead.

    Murphy didn’t want the job. He just wanted a stepping stone to run for Governor, and admitted as much to his supporters/donors.

    Murphy never struck me as qualified for the job. His debate answers were evasive and he didn’t seem to have a very good grasp of the various legal issues that came up.

    Kane was right to oppose the sale of the lottery. She was right to oppose the gay marriage ban. She was right to oppose the voterID law. At every one of these turns, people like you were calling her a “criminal” and demanding her impeachment.

    This has been an unending witch hunt to cast her every action as wrongdoing.

    This investigation against her has been nothing but a constant stream of illegal leaks used to attack her, and no one involved in the prosecution/persecution seems to care about those leaks. These leaks are far more deliberate and politically motivated retribution than anything she’s been accused of. The nature and pattern of them is far more criminal. The failure of the GOP courts and special prosecutor to address their own leaks demonstrates how hollow and devoid of credibility this entire process has been.

  22. Dave, our Attorney General is on her last leg. At what point will you finally give up on her? She won’t be renominated. She’ll be lucky if she isn’t prosecuted. You were wrong on Kane. Do us all a favor and admit it. Put your delusions aside and admit you were wrong. You got caught up in the Clinton hype and didn’t do your homework on this one. It happens. Pay attention next time before you support a candidate who isn’t remotely qualified for an office. Pennsylvania deserves better. Do your homework or do us all a favor and don’t vote.

  23. Observer makes a good point. If the person lied, then fire them. If he told the truth, that’s not grounds for firing. If the working relationship is poor/ineffective or if he was bad at his job, firing is legitimate.

    So much about this case is under seal, and the parts that have leaked out (crimes in themselves) seem to be cherry-picked.

    Kane is constantly in the position of defending herself, but is unable to directly address the issues without revealing protected information. If she did defend herself fully, she’d be in trouble for the revelations. It’s a no-win situation in the media.

  24. She just violated a court order that says no retaliatory action may be taken on a witness in Her Grand Jury proceedings.

  25. This is unbelievable. Jim Barker is a very well respected and hard working lawyer. Pure retaliation for his testimony. And now another press secretary gets tired of lying for Kane.

  26. I can totally see why people are quitting. If I begged my boss to not do something foolish and she continued to defy all good advise over and over with adviser after adviser…I’d have to resign too. The self destruction is epic.

  27. This man – supposedly an attorney – went in the grand jury room and lied. How could you keep someone like that anywhere on your staff? Thanks to Freakie Frankie, we know everything that went on during that grand jury, so she found out about Barker’s barking lies. Case closed. Let him go work for some Republican hack district attorney somewhere, the woman-hating redneck.

  28. Quick! Get one of the Kane sycophants/apologists in here to explain/deflect this latest horribly dumb thing!

  29. Restructuring the top guy? Give it a break. This looks like pure score settling before her departure. I wouldn’t have believed it except for her unending insistence on punching herself. She looks like the angry one.

  • Do you agree that ByteDance should be forced to divest TikTok?

    • Yes. It's a national security risk. (60%)
    • No. It's an app used by millions and poses no threat. (40%)
    • What's ByteDance? (0%)

    Total Voters: 30

    Loading ... Loading ...
Continue to Browser


To install tap and choose
Add to Home Screen