Kane aide sentenced to jail for snooping on colleagues' emails

Patrick Reese.
Patrick Reese.
Posted: March 03, 2016

The former security chief for Attorney General Kathleen Kane was sentenced Thursday to three to six months in jail for surreptitiously reading colleagues' emails in an effort to learn about the criminal investigation of his boss.

Patrick Reese, 48, a longtime confidante of Kane's, showed no reaction to his sentence. He immediately vowed to appeal his conviction and was allowed to remain free on bail.

Montgomery County Judge William R. Carpenter, who found Reese guilty after a two-day trial in December, said Reese had damaged the reputation of the Attorney General's Office.

"The conduct was intentional," Carpenter said. "He knew it was wrong. He didn't care."

Reese was convicted of violating a protective order that barred staffers in the Attorney General's Office from viewing material related to the grand jury investigation of Kane and prohibited them from retaliating against witnesses in the probe.

Prosecutors said Reese searched computer servers in the Attorney General's Office at Kane's behest in an effort to learn about the grand jury investigation. He entered search terms that included "special prosecutor," "grand jury," "subpoenas," and "Carpenter."

Kane voiced her support for Reese in a statement Thursday, calling the protective order he was convicted of violating an unconstitutional effort to shield the emails of some people in her office.

"Senior Supervisory Agent Reese was doing the job he was sworn to uphold," she said. "I have every expectation that a higher court will confirm that Mr. Reese was performing his duties and not violating a court order."

Kane was charged last year with perjury, conspiracy, and other crimes for allegedly leaking confidential documents to embarrass a political foe. She has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in August.

The attorney general remains in office amid efforts to remove her and the temporary suspension of her law license. Last month, she announced that she would not seek reelection.

About a dozen of Reese's relatives and friends filled the courtroom in Norristown to support him, and 43 people submitted letters to the judge on his behalf. Lawyer William Fetterhoff said Reese was a respected former police chief, football coach, and lifelong resident in Dunmore, a small borough outside Scranton.

"I have no reason to believe he's not a fine family man," said Deputy District Attorney Thomas McGoldrick. "Those folks were simply not privy to the things he was doing for the attorney general."

Montgomery County prosecutors say Reese, at Kane's direction, began searching email messages while a grand jury was investigating her actions and weighing criminal charges. He left an electronic footprint of searches for grand jury subpoenas and schedules, names of people involved in the investigation of Kane, and even the identity of a grand juror.

Carpenter, who oversaw the grand jury, issued the protective order barring staffers at the Attorney General's Office from viewing material related to the grand jury or intimidating witnesses in the investigation.

Reese's lawyer argued at trial that there was no evidence his client knew about the protective order. But prosecutors said the order was widely discussed in Kane's office.

Reese was Kane's bodyguard and driver until he was reassigned after he was charged last year. He kept his job, and began working as an agent with the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation.

lmccrystal@phillynews.com

610-313-8116

@Lmccrystal

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|