HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is challenging one of her harshest critics to prosecute a public corruption case that she decided to abandon over concerns it was poorly managed and might have targeted people because of their race.
Kane wrote in a letter to Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, a fellow Democrat, that “any law enforcement agency interested in taking this case should do so,” and invited him to accept the evidence from her office.
“Because your office also has jurisdiction over this matter, and because both the prosecutors and the case agent who conducted the investigation now work for you, I again invite you to . . . bring whatever charges you believe to be appropriate,” she wrote to Williams, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The newspaper has reported that four black Democratic state lawmakers from Philadelphia were captured on tape accepting cash from a confidential informant working for the state attorney general’s office. State prosecutors agreed in late 2012 to drop more than 2,000 charges against the informant, Tyron Ali, a businessman and lobbyist who began to secretly record contacts with public officials from Philadelphia after being charged in a fraud case five years ago.
That deal was made shortly after Kane was elected but before she took office as attorney general in January 2013.
Kane subsequently squashed the investigation, saying it was poorly managed, it might have improperly targeted people based on their race, and it was not likely to result in a successful prosecution.
Williams has criticized Kane’s decision, defending two investigators who worked on the probe for the attorney general’s office and who now work for him. Williams, who is black, denied that prosecutors were motivated by race and said he was offended by the suggestion.
Replying to Kane with his own letter, Williams demanded all of the evidence as well as any internal memos, letters, and e-mails from her office pertaining to the case.
He accused Kane of “doing everything in your power to ensure that my office could never successfully bring charges.”
“You began by attacking line prosecutors and investigators as racist because you disagreed with their judgment about the case,” Williams wrote. “These attacks on the integrity of my office and its employees will make it more difficult for us to bring these – or any future – cases of public corruption.”
Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com