Emails in investigation of attorney general include porn, allege threats

State AG faces perjury and other charges for leaking grand jury material

By Marc Levy and Mark Scolforo
Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania court officials released about a thousand pages of records Wednesday from an investigation that produced criminal charges against the state's attorney general, including sexually explicit emails she has sought to make public as part of her defense.

The documents include scores of emailed images of nude or scantily clad women, some involving sexual acts, distributed among prosecutors and agents who were employees of the office at the time. Others had jokes that played on racial stereotypes or other material that could be viewed as offensive.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who faces perjury and other charges, has long wanted to make the emails public, arguing the charges against her resulted from her role in previously exposing the exchange of pornographic emails within the state prosecutor's office before she took over in 2013.

Other records detail a battle over a protective order issued last year by Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter, who oversaw the grand jury that recommended charges against Kane. The new filings were unsealed at his request.

Kane released reams of other pornographic and sexually explicit emails last year, but she said Carpenter's protective order limited what she could reveal or talk about.

In October, Carpenter said the order should remain in place, partly because of what he described as "conduct of an intimidating nature" against witnesses he said were confronted as they appeared to testify before the grand jury in August 2014. The witnesses have been named elsewhere as former state prosecutors Marc Costanzo and Frank Fina.

Kane argued to the high court that Carpenter had overstepped his authority in issuing the protective order.

"In truth," Kane told the Supreme Court in a November brief, "the protective order is the product of the maliciously ingenious, craven and contemptible (and so far successful) efforts of Fina and Costanzo to cynically manipulate and exploit the supervising judge, the special prosecutor and the grand jury process in order to avoid being held accountable for misconduct and violation of the public trust during their tenures at OAG."

Kane said Fina's emails included, among other things, an image of duct tape with the caption, "duct tape turns no, no, no to MMMM."

In a motion asking for the investigation to be quashed and the protective order vacated, Kane's lawyers wrote that Fina and Costanza "corruptly manufactured this grand jury investigation to protect their own jobs and reputations."

Other documents describe a battle between a key witness and Thomas Carluccio, the special prosecutor who brought witnesses to the grand jury Carpenter oversaw.

Special Agent David Peifer, a top Kane aide, accused Carluccio of threatening him, of being the grand jury leak and of committing perjury. Peifer testified twice before the grand jury last year but won a stay to avoid a third appearance in January after his lawyer said he became concerned about Carluccio.

Fina and Costanzo wrote to Carpenter last year to seek an investigation into a leak to the Philadelphia Daily News of material from a 2009 grand jury investigation. The grand jury led by Carpenter concluded that Kane had leaked the material, but she insists what she provided to the paper was not covered by court secrecy rules.

Kane faces charges that also include obstruction and conspiracy for allegedly leaking grand jury material and then lying about it, allegations she has vigorously denied. A district judge ruled after a preliminary hearing on Monday there was sufficient evidence to send the case to court for trial.

Published: Thu, Aug 27, 2015

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