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NEWS
December 5, 2015 | By Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Staff Writers
The lead prosecutor in the undercover sting that captured five Philadelphia legislators and a Traffic Court judge on tape accepting money will be called to testify about what role, if any, race played in the investigation, a judge has ruled. The judge ordered former state prosecutor Frank Fina to testify in two weeks at a hearing in the case against State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop, a veteran Democratic officeholder from West Philadelphia who is charged with pocketing $1,500 in illegal cash payments.
NEWS
December 5, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis and Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writers
Following repeated calls for their resignations, three top city prosecutors entangled in the pornographic email scandal have been reassigned to lower-profile positions in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. On Monday, District Attorney Seth Williams moved Frank Fina, E. Marc Costanzo, and Patrick Blessington to jobs that will strip them of their ability to prosecute new criminal cases. Fina, a top public corruption prosecutor, was reassigned to the civil litigation division.
NEWS
December 4, 2015 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
PHILADELPHIA District Attorney Seth Williams yesterday finally took action against three prosecutors at the center of the so-called Porngate scandal, reassigning them to lower-profile units amid repeated calls for their termination. Because, sometimes, "sensitivity training" just isn't enough. Frank Fina, once a star public-corruption prosecutor, will move from the special-investigations unit to the civil-litigation unit. His colleague Marc Costanzo will be transferred from special investigations to appeals, and Patrick Blessington will be transferred from insurance fraud to the post-conviction-relief-act unit.
NEWS
December 3, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writers
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane has appointed the former top law enforcement officer in Maryland to head a wide-ranging investigation into the chain of pornographic emails exchanged among state prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officials on government computers. Standing at a dais inside the National Constitution Center, Kane said Douglas Gansler, Maryland's former attorney general, would lead a team of lawyers from his Washington firm to review the emails and decide whether those who circulated them broke any laws.
NEWS
December 3, 2015 | BY WENDY RUDERMAN, Daily News Staff Writer rudermw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5924
IT WAS LATE 2009. Then-state Rep. Bill DeWeese sat in a conference room at the Attorney General's Office in Harrisburg filled with investigators and prosecutors. Frank Fina, a lead prosecutor on a series of political-corruption scandals that would rock Harrisburg and ultimately would send DeWeese to prison, had breasts on his mind. Fina asked DeWeese whether he knew that one of his legislative staffers had used an illegal $5,000 bonus to get a " 'tit job,' " according to DeWeese, a Democrat who served as House speaker and majority whip.
NEWS
December 2, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane will use the backdrop of the National Constitution Center on Tuesday to announce her choice of special prosecutors to conduct a broader investigation into pornographic emails exchanged on government computers. Kane is expected to announce a team of lawyers to review the email scandal known as Porngate, and detail the scope of the inquiry, as well as what powers the special prosecutors will have in pursuing any violations of "criminal, civil, or ethics laws.
NEWS
November 27, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - Federal prosecutors say the trial of former allies of Gov. Christie in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure case should remain in New Jersey, rejecting one of the defendants' arguments, that "sensationalistic" media coverage has prejudiced a potential jury pool in Newark. In court filings made public late Tuesday, prosecutors in the office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said the defendant, Bill Baroni, a former top Christie appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, had failed to meet the legal burden of showing that "extraordinary local prejudice will prevent a fair trial.
NEWS
November 25, 2015 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams did little to assuage his critics Monday when he announced that three prosecutors ensnared in a pornographic email chain had finally received sensitivity training. "It's a slap in the face," said City Councilwoman Cindy Bass, who, with eight colleagues, has called for the firing of the prosecutors. "It only happened because we called for their resignation and firing. " The prosecutors - Frank Fina, Marc Costanzo, and Patrick Blessington - completed the training Friday, according to a release from the District Attorney's Office that said Williams and 11 other employees took the training as well.
NEWS
November 25, 2015 | By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer
After 26 years in the city prosecutor's office, First Assistant District Attorney Ed McCann resigned Monday, officials said. George D. Mosee Jr., the head of the office's juvenile division, will replace him, District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement. McCann declined to say why he was leaving - although his name has been floated in courthouse circles as a possible addition to Mayor-elect Jim Kenney's administration. "I'm really proud of my 26 years of service," McCann said.
NEWS
November 21, 2015 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nine members of Philadelphia City Council on Thursday signed a resolution urging District Attorney Seth Williams to fire three prosecutors entangled in the so-called Porngate scandal. The members also called on the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office to appoint an independent special prosecutor to investigate, adding their names to a growing group. "This is not something that's going away," said Councilwoman Cindy Bass, who introduced the resolution. "This is something that is really only gaining steam and gaining momentum.
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