Thursday, January 28

Larry Schultz: Chronicle commentary

Trust is reciprocal. I can love you, but that does not mean you will love me. You might hate me, but that does not necessarily mean I will hate you.

But if you do not trust me, I am very unlikely to trust you. If you ask me to make a list of all the people I do not trust, I would begin by making a list of those who do not trust me. Masser publicly speaks the language of distrust about his fellow trustees. In the Chronicle, no less.

If the PSU BoT is riven by distrust, then it is the job of leadership to rebuild the broken trust. Given an opportunity to reach out, in even a tiny way, to the other side, in a publication devoted to Higher Ed topics, so that plenty of people who work in universities all over the country can read it, Masser punts. He believes that the way I will begin to trust him is by getting over it, by "moving on," by ignoring the massive failures of leadership he and his friends enacted, like he does.

That is not going to work for me, for thousands of other Penn Staters, for the Alumni Trustees he despises so much, or for the good of PSU. The Board Mr. Masser runs is now made up of people who ignored the blooming Jerry Sandusky matter until it blew up in their faces. Some of them left over the last few years, but were replaced by virtual clones, selected by organizations which know for a fact that running PSU in secret, with hidden agendas instead of transparency, is best for them.

Mr. Eckel seems to think the bottom line reason why we got caught flatfooted in the Sandusky case is because we did not have enough committees. "If anything, he says, the Sandusky scandal demonstrated that Penn State needed more committees, including audit and risk, and people of diverse experience were required to lead them." I guess the idea is that if we had more committees maybe someone would have passed the word when we had a warning a week or ten days before the indictments were handed down that it was coming. Maybe had a meeting to talk about it. You know, rather than Garban and Surma and Broadhurst simply sitting on it.

Having never publicly admitted that there was any problem with the failure to act, there is zero likelihood that in the over 100 Freeh recommendations they claim to have implemented there is anything that solves that problem. If anything, the instincts of the Board are worse, more closed off, more akin to a dictatorship than ever before. Which means this could happen to PSU again tomorrow.

When a person assumes fiduciary duties s/he undertakes to do whatever is necessary within the law to protect the beneficiary (in this case, PSU). Suppose you sit on a board in 2010 and you find out that in the 1990s some contracts were let to the relatives of a Board member without competitive bidding, and you hear an allegation that there were kickbacks to a Board member. You do not have to call a press conference, but you have to find out if it is true and determine whether it is still going on. It is the basic and prudent thing to do to protect PSU.

Today the Alumni Trustees need to know whether the University spent $8+ million on a report that is untrue. We need to know because based upon that report, with little review and no vote of the board membership, the University torched its own reputation. You cannot pretend that did not happen. The Alumni Trustees have a clear fiduciary duty to investigate this fateful waste of the University's assets. To deny them the records of the Freeh Report is to deny them the tools to do the job the law requires them to do. To make them pay their own lawyers to find out the truth in the service of their fiduciary duty is likely an untenable position for the University.

"Where’s the decision that we’re going to make that’s based on the Freeh report?" asks Mr. Barron, Penn State’s president. "It’s hard to see that there is one."

How about a decision regarding whether we wasted $8+ million on a report full of falsehoods which injured the University? How about an after-action report regarding the sloppy, slow, ad hoc nature of the entire response to Sandusky? Those seem like worthwhile endeavors to me. Of course, the construction of Barron's question is interesting. Of course there is no decision anyone is going to base on the Freeh Report, because everyone knows it is a bad report, even those who studiously ignore that fact. That is why we have to study it--so there can no longer be any question about what a colossal tragedy it is.

The central thesis of the Chronicle article is that there is no trust on the PSU Board. Masser's and Eckel's comments show that to be undeniable. The rather simple fix is to build trust, but their comments rule that out. 

The decision we are going to make based on the Freeh Report, Dr. Barron, is whether and how the University might have done a better job of confronting this disaster. More committees? In a word, no. We are not going to have a quarter billion dollars to waste on this stuff every couple of years. Perhaps seeing how we made these mistakes will cause us not to repeat them. The only thing stopping us from repeating them right now is there is (apparently) no Jerry Sandusky operating in our midst. Of course, that is what we thought when there was a Jerry Sandusky operating in our midst.

Larry Schultz is a candidate for the Penn State Board of Trustees

Wednesday, January 27

About That Oath

Much like in the case of the PSU 3, the critical evidence supporting AG Kane's perjury charges is of questionable origin.

By
Ray Blehar

The PA Corruption Network's Playbook, (December 29, 2015) outlined how corrupt prosecutors use dubious evidence to make cases against targets.  


For the PSU 3, it was emails of dubious provenance that provided the (alleged) evidence of perjury and other crimes.  


Ferman's smoking gun will be undone
For Pennsylvania Attorney General (AG) Kane, it was an oath of similarly dubious provenance that is now being portrayed by the Corruption Network as the smoking gun evidence against Kane.

Let's rewind the clock and see how that went down.

On August 6, 2015, then Montgomery County District Attorney, Risa Ferman threw more than her fair share of admiration toward the investigators and prosecutors -- who regurgitated much of the evidence from the grand jury --to craft the initial Kane charges.

"The investigators and prosecutors alike, they were meticulous. They were thorough. They were detailed, and this investigation was as comprehensive as any we've ever done."


According to the August charging documents, Kane had allegedly committed perjury and false swearing regarding four things she stated under oath (see below).




The evidence supporting the allegations was mostly based on the testimony of Bruce Beemer, James Barker, and Adrian King -- all of whom seemingly have motivations to take down AG Kane.  

As is typically the case with prosecutor's documents, evidence in favor of the prosecutor's version of events (e.g., Kane is lying and leaked information to get back at Fina) is included while the evidence against is excluded.  

But no matter how much the charging documents talk around the subject of who leaked the grand jury information,  the fact is that Ferman admitted she couldn't directly link AG Kane to the documents released.  

After that, all the rest is bluster.

That's why Ferman needed something else.

Ferman's investigators and prosecutors weren't as thorough as she said they were

   


The Secrecy Oath

On September 17, 2015, Ferman's "meticulous" gang of investigators made a visit to an undisclosed office in Strawberry Square and allegedly found an oath that they had not previously found in their other (meticulous and thorough) forays into the AG's office. 
  
To be fair, the investigators were probably searching for a document that looked somewhat official and were likely thrown off by the very unofficial secrecy oath document.  

The allegedly official "SECRECY OATH" document is about as official looking as Saddam Hussein's "Baby Milk Plant" sign that was fabricated and planted after his chemical weapons facility was bombed.







Prior to the stunning discovery of the oath, the "meticulous" investigative team was seemingly content to use the  grand jury testimony (page 15) of James Barker to allege Kane lied about not being covered by secrecy regarding the Mondesire grand jury.

Barker,who was called to testify on three occasions, stated that there is an implied ongoing obligation to keep grand jury information secret even after the grand jury is no longer in session.  




Consistent with Barker's testimony,  Kane testified that she had all of those newly hired by her office sign grand jury secrecy oaths for ongoing grand juries but not oaths for prior grand juries.  




Six weeks later, the Ferman investigators got a tip to take another look into they previously searched.  

Anonymous tip.  Where have we heard that before?

After finding the oath, King, among others, corroborated the meeting took place and oaths were signed.  The actual language in the presentation, however, is deceptive because neither King nor anyone else made any specific reference to signing oaths pertaining to previous grand juries.  

Given the PA Corruption Network's history with the PSU 3 case, it's not going out on a limb to float the idea that the oath document and related information were fabricated and planted.   


Kane and Shargel: Didn't crumble when
faced with dubious evidence about oath
Part of the Network's playbook is to present surprise evidence to the unsuspecting targets (and their  attorneys), who believe that their legal adversaries are actually playing by the rules. In that moment, the network's attorneys hope that the target or his/her legal counsel believe they have been caught red-handed and opt for a plea deal.

That didn't happen with Kane, just like the "flip" -- that Fina hoped for  -- didn't happen in the PSU 3 case.

The 2009 oath is hardly a smoking gun -- it's more like a boomerang.


A boomerang that will eventually come back and strike Judge Risa Vetri Ferman. 





Sunday, January 24

The PACN's Grand Jury Abuses -- and More

The Pennsylvania Corruption Network (PACN) uses the grand jury system as a sword and a shield.

By
Ray Blehar 

As mentioned in the PA Corruption Network's Playbook (January 1, 2016), when the PACN feels threatened or that they may be exposed for their own heinous acts, they use the court system to charge others with crimes (deflecting attention away from them).

The cases of the PSU 3 and current PA Attorney General (AG) Kathleen Kane were examples of how the playbook works -- and both cases were instances of using the grand jury system as a sword. 

Conversely, the Sandusky case and some current activities in Centre County show how the PACN uses the grand jury system as a shield.

Secrecy as a Sword

The Kane grand jury leak investigation appears to be the PACN using the system as a sword.

But before explaining that, let's wind back the clock.  

Judge Barry Feudale oversaw the Bonusgate and Sandusky grand juries, while Frank Fina prosecuted the trials.  Both grand juries had issues with leaks to the press, but no "leakers" were ever identified.  And no grand juries were established to investigate the leaks.

The Kane case, however, was an entirely different matter in terms of results.

A grand jury was convened to investigate the leaks.  It moved at lightning speed to quickly find that here was probable cause to charge the AG with contempt for leaking grand jury information, obstruction of justice for orchestrating the leaks, official oppression, perjury (part of the playbook), and false swearing.

However, before the grand jury's conclusions were reached, it was being used a sword by -- of course -- leaking damaging information about Kane to the press.   

In September 2014, the existence of the secret grand jury was reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer's was Angela Couloumbus and Craig McCoy.  The column was heavily biased toward Fina's and other former AG officials version of events, including the recitation of part of an irrelevant email, purported to be smoking gun evidence, sent to Kane by Adrian King.
  
Image result for Philly Inquirer logo

Not so ironically, these are the same reporters who were leaked secret court documents by Judge Barry Feudale

In January 2015, Couloumbus and McCoy again reported of the impending decision by the grand jury to recommend charges of contempt and perjury against Kane.  They were later subpoenaed by Judge Carpenter to testify about the leaks.  The Inquirer stated both would invoke the Shield Law to protect their sources.

Of course, there was no uproar to find out who was leaking to McCoy and Couloumbus -- even though part of the rationale for invoking the Shield Law was because they were exposing the "wrong-doing" of public officials (i.e., Kane).  As if another public official, say Frank Fina of the Philly DA's office or one of his associates there, couldn't have been behind the leaks.

When all was said and done, the investigation by then Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Fetri Vermin found that Kane didn't leak protected grand jury information.

But the damage had already been done to Kane by the PACN's wielding of the grand jury sword.

Secrecy as a Shield


To understand how the PACN uses grand jury secrecy as a shield, the Moulton investigation is instructive.

In 2012, then-AG candidate Kane campaigned that if elected, she would look into the Sandusky matter.   After winning by a landslide, Kane made good on her promise the day she took office.

Given the evidence of Fina'sBaldwin's and Feudale's grand jury chicanery, it's not a stretch to think that they had concerns about what the investigation might uncover.   

As a result, these preemptive strikes followed.

First, in February 2013, Feudale appointed a former AG Corbett appointee, James Reeder, to conduct investigations into the Sandusky leaks and leaks emanating from the grand jury of suspected mobster, Louis A. DeNaples.   It was likely that Feudale did so knowing that Reeder would shield any potentially damaging information from those grand juries from being accessed by the Kane (eventually Moulton) investigation.

Next, in  March 2013, anonymous sources alleged to be former AG attorneys and agents threatened to go public if Moulton's report was overly critical of their investigation or was factually inaccurate.  
 
Moulton Report: Inexplicable delays in obtaining search warrants and identifying victims.
Moulton's Report seemingly went soft on Fina and his cohorts, stating it was within his prosecutorial discretion to use a grand jury to investigate the case.  However, at the press conference announcing the report, Moulton called the delays in obtaining search warrants and other investigative steps to be "inexplicable."

In response, Corbett spokesperson Jay Pagni stated "It was a thorough, thoughtful investigation" that resulted in taking Sandusky off the street. 

But the facts show Corbett was wrong. The investigation wasn't thoughtful or thorough.  The AG's investigation clearly ignored leads that would have taken it to The Second Mile's (TSM) doorstep and to more victims immediately.

According to the evidence in the Moulton Report,  the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) interviewed Aaron Fisher, Steve Turchetta, Central Mountain High School (CMHS) students F.P ad F.A, and volunteer wrestling coach Joseph Miller by January 21st, 2009. All of them told the police that Sandusky's connection to children was TSM.   

Due to various jurisdiction issues and conflicts, the case was then transferred from Clinton County, to Centre County, then to Corbett's AG office in March 2009.

On March 17th, DAG Jonelle Eshbach received the PSP report on the case, but after that, no subsequent action occurred until May 1st, when the AG inexplicably recommended the case be taken up by an investigating grand jury (GJ). 

From May 1, 2009 until January 28, 2011, the investigation steered clear of TSM.  On the 28th, it finally issued a subpoena to the charity -- but only for Sandusky's employment and travel records.  

The GJ didn't issue a subpoena for names of TSM participants (children) until March 24th, 2011.  That delay, hypothetically gave TSM officials ample time to dispose of any incriminating evidence, including (possibly) silencing of the most important witnesses.

Given the evidence above, it is highly probable that the AG was avoiding TSM because whatever was going on inside or around it in Centre County had the potential of causing repercussions in Harrisburg -- and possibly other places.  

The Sandusky grand jury investigation ensured the lid stayed on whatever was happening at the charity.

Lock Down In State College

Until the publication of Don Van Natta's "The Whistleblower's Last Stand," little was known about the alleged anonymous email tip that identified Mike McQueary as a possible witness to Sandusky's abuse.  

The ESPN article revealed the tip was allegedly sent to Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller on November 3, 2010 -- the day after then-AG Tom Corbett won the gubernatorial election.  

Coincidence?  Likely not.

As noted in Ferman Presser: Lies, Contradictions, and Ethics Violations (January 6, 2016), the PACN includes men, women, prosecutors, judges, and political operatives across the state.

Parks Miller had her share of issues of late, including alleged foot-dragging on the sexual abuse investigation of Christopher Leeex parte communications with Judge Bradley Lunsford, and was accused of forging a judge's signature on a court order.    


Fortunately for Parks Miller, the grand jury system bailed her out on the forgery accusation.  On July 31, 2015, whomever the special prosecutor was found there wasn't enough evidence to charge Miller -- and so said the grand jury. 

Just days after the decision, Parks-Miller petitioned to convene an investigating grand jury 
"to consider at least one unsolved murder, and a recent series of other cases the scope of which cannot be determined without the powers granted to a county investigating grand jury."

Parks Miller's petition stated that unsolved disappearances, corrupt organizations, and drug trafficking cases could be assigned to the grand jury.

Few doubt that the unsolved disappearance reference is to former DA Ray Gricar, who disappeared in 2005.

In 2010, then Centre Daily Times reporter, Sara Ganim, wrote that Parks Miller's office would be conducting a review of the case.  Parks Miller related that she was confident the Bellefonte Police Department (BPD) was actively investigating the case. 

Three years later, the PSP announced it was taking over the case from the BPD.   Now it appears the investigation is being taken out of their hands by the actions of Parks Miller and otherwise protected from an investigation by shuttling the case to another grand jury.

But one has to wonder why the Commonwealth didn't do more sooner about the Gricar disappearance.

Network Connections 


When the Sandusky scandal broke, the media connected the April 2005 disappearance of former DA Ray Gricar to "unanswered questions" about why he didn't charge Sandusky in 1998.   

The reason the media couldn't figure it out was because the Sandusky grand jury presentment omitted that the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) didn't make an abuse finding.  That decision essentially 
precluded Gricar from charging, according to retired PSU Detective Ronald Schreffler.  

It is also notable that the presentment didn't even mention that Centre County Children and Youth Services (CC CYS) was involved in the 1998 investigation.  Contrary to what was written in the  Freeh Report about CC CYS recusing itself from the investigation in early May, it remained involved until May 27th. 

In summary, the Sandusky grand jury presentment (and later, the Freeh Report) was used as a shield to hide the failures of the DPW and CC CYS to protect children from Sandusky.   Conversely, its sword came out when it falsely saddled the PSU police and Ray Gricar with the responsibility of deciding the 1998 case.

But, the PACN may have been doing more than hiding the failures of  child protective services when it put forth the false story about 1998.  It was likely protecting itself.

Corbett didn't put Fina
on the Ray Gricar case

When  Ray Gricar went missing on April 15, 2005, then-AG Tom Corbett didn't seem overly concerned about it. 

Instead of Corbett calling on the PSP, the AG's criminal investigation division, or better yet, forming a task force to investigate the case, he let it stay in the care of the little BPD.  Obviously, the BPD could not marshal the resources that the PSP, AG, or a task force could.

About a year later, on February 28, 2006, Corbett announced the formation of a new Public Corruption Unit, rationalizing its need because Pennsylvania had legalized slots and casinos.  Corbett also noted the legislature formed an independent, elected AG's office in 1978 in order to fight public corruption.

In what now seems like a fox watching the hen house move, Corbett named  Frank Fina to be the chief of the new anti-corruption section. 

Interestingly enough, Fina was the AG's head of the criminal investigation division in 2005.  As Fina has been lauded by the media for his prowess, one has to wonder why Tom Corbett didn't tag him to lead the Gricar investigation.  

It gets better.

Some of the others assigned to the Public Corruption Unit were:

Patrick Blessington and Mark Costanza, two attorneys who would eventually be snared in the "porngate" case;

Jonelle Eshbach, who led the Sandusky investigation and then hot footed it out of town; and, 

James Reeder, who Barry Feudale assigned to investigate the grand jury leak cases related to Sandusky and suspected mobster and casino owner Louis A. DeNaples

As any prosecutor will tell you, too many coincidences are not a good thing for criminal defendants or for targets of conspiracy and corruption investigations.

While the media scoffed at Kane's suggestion that a corrupt "old boy's network" was out to get her, it appears she may have been right.  All that's missing to prove Kane's case that the network has it out for her is the "smoking gun" evidence.  

I'm willing to wager that evidence will be of the email variety.





Coming Up:

About That Oath

PACN's Centre County Chapter





Friday, January 22

PSU 3 and JUSTICE Won Partial Victory Today

Today's superior court ruling quashed some of the perjury, obstruction, and conspiracy charges for the PSU 3 and noted former AG prosecutor Frank Fina's unethical behavior

By
Ray Blehar

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court released opinions that quashed several charges against former Penn State University (PSU) officials Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and Graham Spanier.


Baldwin "incompetent to testify" 
The Court ruled that former PSU Counsel Cynthia Baldwin "was incompetent to testify" regarding privileged communications with the PSU 3.  Moreover, the Court ruled that none of the men were "properly represented by Ms. Baldwin" during their grand jury testimony as agents of the University.  

As a result of the violations of Baldwin, testimony given under her representation is not admissible.  As such, the perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy charges against Schultz and Spanier were quashed.  One count of perjury against Curley remained (because he did not raise the issue in his appeal), while the other two counts were quashed.

All three men still face a misdemeanor charge of failure to report child abuse and two felony counts for endangering the welfare of children (EWOC), and one count of conspiracy to endanger the welfare of children.

Today's ruling did not address the merits of the remaining charges, however, they too will eventually be dismissed.   None of the men were mandated reporters in 2001 nor would they be included under the law today even with the revisions to the law after the Sandusky scandal.  

Additionally, the criteria for a conviction on EWOC would almost be impossible for the Commonwealth to prove.

Schultz attorney Tom Farrell noted:  .


"I think the Lynn case creates real problems for the

prosecution.  Further, I think this case is a much weaker 

case than the Lynn case, specifically in terms of whether any

of the defendants were in a position where they had 

supervisory responsibilities over children or over other 

individuals who had supervisory responsibility over

children."  


"PA  Corruption Network" Receives  A  Blow


Former prosecutor Fina called out for "highly improper" conduct in the matter
While today was a partial victory for the PSU 3 - and Penn Staters - it was also a partial victory for justice.

All three opinions noted that Former Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina's conduct was "highly improper" for  improperly compelling Baldwin to testify against the PSU 3 without proper approval and for misleading Judge Feudale.






Feudale: "no babe in the woods."
Apparently the courts tended to ignore the fact that Judge Feudale is "no babe in the woods" either.  He was already tossed off the bench for his lack of judicial objectivity.  

It is also notable that Feudale also had a long history in overseeing child abuse cases.  

The evidence in the PSU 3 case indicates that he and Fina may have suppressed the PSU email evidence in order to charge the PSU 3 with failure to report child abuse and obstruction of justice.  

It's not going out on a limb to think that Feudale turned a blind eye to Fina's misconduct.

PSU explicitly stated to Fina that it did not waive privilege that existed between Baldwin and the PSU 3.   Moreover, Fina told Judge Feudale he would not question Baldwin about privileged matters.  




After making that statement to Judge Feudale, a significant amount of the questioning of Baldwin regarded confidential communications.   

Fina has been lauded by the PA media as a corruption fighter due to his prosecutions of the Bonusgate and Computergate show trials.  


Today, the curtain began to be pulled back.  The PA Corruption Network's abuse of the grand jury system and courts is being exposed. 

In closing, what does that say about those who are questioning AG Kane's selection of Maryland attorney Douglas Gansler to look into all matters around the email evidence?

Next:  Grand Jury Abuses



PS4RS Press Statement on PA Superior Court Ruling

PRESS STATEMENT (my emphasis added)
PA Superior Court Ruling Upends Case Against Penn State Admins
January 22, 2016 —— Members of Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship are pleased with today’s ruling by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania resulting in the dismissal of multiple charges against Penn State administrators. The ruling dismisses the charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and conspiracy against Penn State administrators Tim Curley, Gary Schultz and Graham Spanier. But we are not finished. All we have asked since November 2011 is for due process for everyone involved. Unfortunately, the Penn State Board of Trustees, their hired gun Louis Freeh, and the opportunistic NCAA all ignored the concept that is the very foundation of our country. Each rushed to judgment and in the process impugned loyal, respectable, generous and -- most of all -- innocent men. The court overturned the despicable violation of these men’s constitutional rights by the Office of the Attorney General in collusion with former Penn State trustee and Counsel Cynthia Baldwin. Their actions have cost the state's flagship university hundreds of millions of dollars and caused untold anguish for hundreds of thousands of Penn State alumni and supporters.
It is a travesty that Jerry Sandusky and his use of The Second Mile to prey on at-risk children was not identified sooner by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. It is inexcusable that he was not promptly indicted by then-Attorney General Tom Corbett and his deputy, Frank Fina. As we have contended from Day One, this was never a Penn State problem. It was – and still very much is -- a state of Pennsylvania problem.


Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship (PS4RS), with more than 40,000 members nationwide, was formed to promote positive change within the University Board of Trustees, demanding transparent, trustworthy leadership. For further information on PS4RS, please visitwww.PS4RS.org, email ps4rsinfo@ps4rs.org, or go tohttp://www.facebook.com/PS4RS. Follow PS4RS on Twitter at @PS4RS

Wednesday, January 6

Ferman Presser: Lies, Contradictions, & Ethics Violations




Then-Montgomery County DA Risa Ferman's August 2015 press conference contained lies and contradictions

By

Ray Blehar

On December 29th, I wrote that step #5 of the PA Corruption Network's Playbook was for prosecutors to go public with trumped up charges based on questionable evidence and/or falsehoods in order to publicly smear political opponents.


Then-DA Risa Ferman's August 6, 2015 press conference -- like those given by former Attorney General (AG) Linda Kelly in relation to charging PSU officials Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and Graham Spanier -- was a page out of the "playbook" and contained a number of falsehoods.


Lies


Vermin's, er, Ferman's statements regarding the actions of AG's Kane's head of security, Patrick Rocco Reese, were absolutely false and were likely made in an attempt to establish a non-existent link between grand jury information and Kane.

At 9:29:


"Also filed today, we filed a charge of indirect criminal contempt against  Patrick Rocco Reese....he's charged with indirect criminal contempt based upon the evidence we gathered which would prove he secretly snuck into the grand jury files in violation of a protection order issued by Judge Carpenter."

At 10:16:


"After that protection order was issued, Agent Reese, on a repeated basis, snuck into those grand jury files and obtained confidential grand jury information."  



Reese was charged with Violation of a Protective Order, however the supporting evidence in no way proved that any grand jury information was ever in the possession of Reese. 

Protective Order Notice #123 stated that all grand jury information was retained by Supervising Judge William Carpenter and Special Prosecutor Thomas Carluccio, thus could not have been accessed by an email search of the AG Office's email system -- regardless of whether Reese "snuck" into the files or not.





The "secretly snuck" language in Ferman's statements are solely based on the dubious testimony of the actual grand jury leaker, Adrian King.  


Reese was convicted -- by Judge Carpenter, not a jury -- for using email search terms that prosecutors alleged were attempts to find out information about the grand jury investigation of Kane.  Reese is rightfully appealing the conviction.


But Ferman didn't stop there.  


As we saw in the case of the PSU 3, the law was misinterpreted (intentionally) to allege that Kane was behind the "scheme" to leak confidential materials.


At 6:00, Ferman stated:


The materials gathered and distributed in the course of this scheme were confidential investigative materials.  And confidential investigative information is protected in Pennsylvania by  a statute.  It's called the Criminal History Records and Information Act.   In law enforcement we refer to it as the acronym, "cree-ah", C-H-R-I-A and it is detailed in the charging documents.



First, Kane wasn't charged with violating CHRIA.  Next, neither the grand jury presentment nor the charging documents contain any details about CHRIA.  The grand jury presentment made two references to CHRIA that simply cited its title and code.   


Ferman deceived the public by never explaining the law (in the AOPC) and by using the irrelevant grand jury testimony of Adrian King to make the case that Kane released information covered under CHRIA.  See below.




The alleged confidential material that was leaked to the press was a transcript -- compiled in 2014 -- by David Peifer, the Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Special Investigations.  The transcript was not part of the AG's or any other criminal investigative file.  Nor was it the result of any  formal or informal criminal investigation or inquiry -- the legal requirement to be considered "investigation information" under CHRIA.

This evidence indicates that Ferman purposely misinterpreted the law (and deceived the public about it) in order to publicly allege a conspiracy by Kane.  



Contradictions

Ferman's statements at the outset of her press conference about leaking of grand jury were contradicted later in the press conference.

At 4:37 Ferman stated:  


"This investigative team determined that Attorney General Kathleen Kane devised a scheme to secretly leak confidential criminal investigation information and secret grand jury materials directly to political operatives in the hopes of embarrassing and harming former state prosecutors, whom she believed -- she believed without evidence -- that made her look bad.  

The affidavit of probable cause, which is our charging document, you have before you, details how this scheme was accomplished and the crux of it was obtaining and compiling this confidential information, delivering it to a political operative with instructions to leak it to the press, all designed to make it look like a former prosecutor went soft on a corruption investigation."

At 24:20, Ferman refuted the earlier statement, explaining that Kane didn't compile and deliver the materials.

If you, if you read through the evidence that relates to the conspiracy charge, it is clear for the evidence we gathered, that while the Attorney General orchestrated and directed the scheme, that she, herself, did not compile the materials and deliver them to Mr. Morrow.  So clearly, there were at least one other, perhaps, more individuals involved, and that is the crux of conspiracy.  What a conspiracy means, in the most basic terms, is the act of one is the act of all. So all of the people involved in the leak of that information can be responsible."


As my January 1st blogpost pointed out, Ferman had no evidence of Kane possessing any grand jury materials at the time the Philadelphia Daily News story went to press, thus she was making material misstatements at the press conference.



Ethics?

In late December, the press reported that Kane is under investigation by the Ethics Commission based on a complaint lodged by a citizen activist. 

Interestingly enough, concerned citizens of Pennsylvania could make an ethics case against Ferman for the extrajudicial statements she made at her press conference. 

At 13:40:


"Ladies and gentlemen, this is a sad day for the citizens of Pennsylvania and it is a sad day for all of us in law enforcement.  A prosecutor has the responsibility as a minister of justice, and when he or she does her job honorably - as we should - we honor our oath.  We stand up and do what is right every day.  When someone is entrusted with upholding the law, violates that oath and violates that law we are bound to uphold, we are all victims -- everyone of us.  When an elected official violates the public trust and violates his or her oath, it is up to us to stand up and hold that person accountable.


Obviously, to tell all of Pennsylvania's citizens that they are victims of Kane is poisoning the jury pool and appears to be a "textbook" example of a prejudicial statement.


The flip side happened at 12:33:


I'd like to thank the staff members of the Office of the Attorney General - current and former.  Members of the staff who displayed moral courage in standing up to share information they had. It takes tremendous courage to stand up and, in essence, tell on your boss.  It's a hard thing to do.  It takes personal courage.  And they had it.  They took actions at great risk to themselves personally and professionally.  And I thank them.



Heaping praise on the AG staff  -- Commonwealth's witnesses - for their "moral courage" and "personal courage" also serves to prejudice the jury pool against Kane.  

According to Ferman, the following individuals had moral courage and took great professional risk:


1.  Adrian King -- the actual leaker of information who likely got immunity for putting the onus on Kane.


2.  James Barker -- who oversaw the AG's "leaky" investigative grand jury unit and was fired due to the unit's performance.


3. Bruce Beemer - who will likely become the AG if Kane is removed.  Talk about professional risk?


Around the 20 minute mark of the press conference, one (clueless) reporter asked Ferman,  


"Do you have a membership card in the Good Old Boy's Network in Harrisburg?

She responded by saying:  

"I don't think they've invited me."


Ferman was actually being truthful -- about Boys and Harrisburg.  

The Good Old Boy's Network doesn't just include men and it's not just in Harrisburg -- it's all across Pennsylvania.  One of the network's specialties is perverting the justice system to fit personal and/or political agendas.






The evidence in the Kane case strongly indicates that Montgomery County Judge, Risa Vetri Ferman used the Network's "playbook" and is part of the PA Corruption Network. 


Next: About that oath.