Attorney general’s office to issue report on explicit emails

By MARK SCOLFORO

Associated Press

HARRISBURG — A report from a law firm reviewing explicit and objectionable emails recovered from computers in the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office will be released next week, a spokesman for the AG’s office said Thursday.

A team led by former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler was hired nearly a year ago to comb through millions of emails and report what they found.

Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for Attorney General Bruce Beemer, said the agency plans to release information about the emails in the middle of next week. He did not disclose how much detail will be made public.

Dozens of employees of the office have been disciplined for exchanging emails. Those emails were discovered during a separate internal review of how state prosecutors handled the child molestation investigation of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Former Attorney General Kathleen Kane commissioned the Gansler team’s review last year. She called it “a unique opportunity to see the problem, hidden away for many years, address the problem and progress as a commonwealth.”

She described the emails as “racist, misogynistic, homophobic and religiously offensive” and has previously disclosed thousands of them to reporters and to the wider public. They contained pornographic images; comments that degraded women, Muslims and gays; raunchy jokes; and internet memes that contained juvenile humor.

The email scandal led to the resignation of two state Supreme Court justices who sent or received explicit content, Seamus McCaffery and Michael Eakin.

Kane was convicted in August of perjury and obstruction charges for leaking grand jury files to embarrass a rival prosecutor and lying under oath about it. She was sentenced last month to 10 to 23 months in jail and eight years’ probation. She is free on bond while she appeals.

Kane resigned after her conviction. Beemer, a former top deputy under Kane, was nominated by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and confirmed by the Senate and will be attorney general until January, when his newly elected replacement, Democrat Josh Shapiro, will be sworn in.

Shapiro said information about the emails “should be released in its fullest capacity,” redacted only for personal information such as Social Security numbers.

“I’m pleased to see General Beemer has apparently decided to take that step,” Shapiro said.

Beemer told attorney general’s office employees in late August that he was concerned about the blanket release of information from the Gansler team’s review and was “proceeding with extreme caution.”

Gansler has said the report will cost about $2 million. Ardo said Thursday the state has so far paid Gansler’s Washington, D.C.-based firm about $386,000. Gansler did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.