Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

April 10, 2014

Attorney General Kane applauds unsealing of investigation documents that reveal flawed case

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today applauded Judge Hoover's decision to open sealed court records which confirm that her administration made the proper decision regarding a deeply-flawed criminal investigation involving a confidential informant.

"I am gratified by today's ruling. The Office of Attorney General filed a motion to unseal the court pleadings even before the investigation was made public, but was legally prohibited from revealing my efforts to open these records," said Attorney General Kane.

"Like many Pennsylvanians, I am frustrated that the investigation conducted prior to my taking office was so flawed," she said. "These documents support a large part of our decision not to prosecute the case based on a number of factors including this botched investigation."

"The documents reveal more details on the investigation, which was conducted under three of Attorney General Kane's predecessors, and about the review of the case initiated at Kane's direction after she became Attorney General in January of 2013.

READ THE OAG UNSEALED DOCUMENTS FACT SHEET.

The pleadings confirm that the case had been dormant for nearly nine months prior to her taking office. The documents also show that Attorney General Kane attempted to nullify a plea agreement negotiated prior to taking office, and that contrary to published reports, did not attempt to "take back" the case from federal authorities.

Office of Attorney General Senior Counsel Bruce Beemer, a career prosecutor who was formerly chief of staff to Kane's predecessor Attorney General Linda Kelly, headed up the 2013 case review. He released a statement today standing by his recommendation not to prosecute the case due to the numerous flaws and weaknesses in the investigation. READ BEEMER'S STATEMENT IN FULL.

"My recommendation was made after reviewing the available evidence. This was based not upon any one single aspect of the case but rather upon the totality of the facts and circumstances surrounding the case and investigation. It was not based on political considerations of any kind," said Beemer.

The documents demonstrate that Attorney General Kane tried to nullify the unusually generous cooperation agreement that former Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina reached with the informant, who had been charged in April 2009 with "a massive theft of taxpayer dollars."

This contract with the informant binding the Office of the Attorney General - which permitted the informant to escape without any punishment or payment of restitution - was signed by Fina weeks after Attorney General Kane was elected to office but before she was inaugurated. In addition, the Fina-informant agreement was signed after seven months of inaction in the case, on Nov. 30, 2012.

The documents also prove that allegations made that Kane "asked for the files back" from federal authorities "to reclaim the investigation" are false. The case files were still in the custody of the OAG and the case jurisdiction still resided with the Attorney General when Kane took over in January 2013. The documents further confirm that federal authorities never accepted the case for prosecution.

The Office of Attorney General noted that some of the previously sealed documents include a motion filed on Sept. 12, 2013 by the informant's attorney (and supported with an affidavit of Frank Fina), requesting that the Fina-informant agreement be executed and the charges against the informant be dismissed.

In that motion, the informant made an unfounded conflict of interest allegation. That claim involved a consensual recording with a city candidate's senior staff member corroborating the informant's allegation of the staff member's knowledge and participation in alleged campaign contribution violations. However, no such recording was found nor were reports of the informant's allegations concerning any campaign violations. The informant, through his attorney, withdrew the motion.

Since Kathleen Kane became Attorney General, her office has prosecuted 11 public corruption cases, the majority of which involve Democrats, including several major Democratic party power brokers involved in alleged corruption at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

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EDITOR'S NOTE:
April 7 response in support of motion to unseal
Affidavit of Frank Fina
Wiretap disclosure in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania