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Kathleen Kane criticizes mediation appointment in “porngate” ethics case

A state government scandal going by the moniker “porngate” is currently the subject of a lot of talk here in Pennsylvania. The fact that the scandal combines allegations of sexual misconduct with government corruption goes a long way in explaining the hubbub. At the center of the scandal are allegations that prosecutors, judges and other state officials exchanged pornographic images on government computers.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who exposed the misconduct, has become a central figure in the scandal as she has been attacked since making the allegations, and has herself criticized how the scandal has been handled. She will not be running for re-election due to criminal charges alleging that she provided grand jury evidence to a Philadelphia newspaper and lied under oath about having done so. Kane is also being investigated for possible impeachment.

One Supreme Court Justice has already resigned as a result of the scandal, and another judge on the high court, Justice J. Michael Eakin, was suspended last December and has been waiting to go through a public disciplinary hearing on alleged ethics violations. Kane, who has been outspoken from the beginning of the scandal, recently criticized the appointment of what sources call a “well connected” private attorney to serve as mediator in Eakin’s case, citing conflicts of interest. Interestingly, Kane previously hired the same attorney to represent her in defamations suits against The Inquirer for running stories about her decision to stop and undercover investigation of Democratic lawmakers suspected of accepting cash or gifts.

Political differences certainly play a part in the whole debacle, including the legal action taken against Kane, a Democrat. After her law license was suspended due to an arrest, Senate Republicans began calling for her to be removed from office. In our next post, we’ll take a look at the Eakin case and some of the challenges to settling the case.

Sources:, “Kane criticizes panel's appointment of Philly attorney as mediator,” Paul Vigna, Feb. 8, 2016., “Kane hires Sprague for possible defamation suits,” Thomas Fitzgerald and Craig McCoy, March 22, 2014.

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