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NEWS
April 2, 2014 | By Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - The lead prosecutor in an undercover sting investigation spent nearly two hours behind closed doors Monday testifying before the House Committee on Ethics about the now-shuttered case that captured four Philadelphia legislators on tape accepting money. Frank G. Fina's appearance before the House panel was the clearest indication yet that the chamber was moving to launch its own inquiry into whether the four lawmakers broke ethics rules or engaged in illegal activity when they accepted cash or money orders from the sting's undercover operative, Tyron B. Ali. Because the committee meets in secret, neither Fina nor the panel's chairman, Rep. Scott Petri (R., Bucks)
NEWS
April 2, 2014 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Former Pennsylvania State University president Graham B. Spanier is asking a federal judge to halt his trial on charges that he helped cover up child sex-abuse by Jerry Sandusky, this time alleging misconduct by a prosecutor. In a lawsuit filed Monday against Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane in Harrisburg, Spanier accuses former Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina of violating his right to due process and acting in bad faith by bringing charges based on testimony from Cynthia Baldwin, Penn State's former top lawyer.
NEWS
March 23, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
  Three years into an undercover "sting" operation, the lead prosecutor urged the Attorney General's office to expand the inquiry into a "more aggressive" probe that would include setting up a fake lobbying shop in Harrisburg. In a July 2012 report, Frank G. Fina informed then-Attorney General Linda L. Kelly that the "Abscam-type" investigation mainly involved state legislators who had "accepted cash payments. " "These cash payments have gone largely unreported on the legislators' political contribution forms," Fina wrote.
NEWS
March 21, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
WILL IT BE A showdown between the U.S. Attorney's Office and a federal judge? U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson has ordered an April 3 hearing for federal prosecutors to explain why they have defied his recent order for them to assign two more prosecutors to the complex racketeering-conspiracy case involving 10 members of the local Ironworkers union. In a letter earlier this week, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger wrote to the judge: "The government respectfully objects to this staffing directive.
NEWS
March 21, 2014 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Seven months before Jerry Sandusky's arrest, investigators believed they were on the verge of a bigger bombshell: that top officials at Pennsylvania State University had for years protected a serial sex abuser who assaulted young boys on campus. In a closed-door meeting, Deputy Attorney General Frank G. Fina asked a judge to let them get years of e-mails from officials, including coach Joe Paterno and President Graham B. Spanier. "It appears possible that quite a number of people at Penn State University either knew or suspected something untoward was happening," Fina said.
NEWS
March 20, 2014 | By Jeff Gammage and Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writers
From the outside it looks like a slam-dunk case: four Democratic state lawmakers from Philadelphia and a city judge captured on tape as they accept money or gifts from an undercover informant. Attorney General Kathleen Kane's decision to drop the investigation deeply troubled some former prosecutors, who want to know more about how that determination was reached. But it does not surprise defense lawyers, who say even an expertly run sting can be difficult to prove. "This could be a perfectly prosecutable case - or this could be a case that should not be brought," said veteran Philadelphia defense lawyer Robert E. Welsh, who worked six years as a federal prosecutor.
NEWS
March 16, 2014 | By Chris Palmer and Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writers
To Lucress Irizarry, the July 2012 birthday party for State Sen. LeAnna Washington was like any other laid-back summer gathering. About 100 casually dressed guests milled beneath a tent on the lawn of Fairmount Park's Belmont Mansion, some holding plates of quiche and chicken from the buffet. As the afternoon sun fell, guests sat at round tables or danced to music from a DJ. "It was really nice," said Irizarry, who co-owns a photography company that Washington hired to shoot the event.
NEWS
March 7, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
THE PHILADELPHIA Catholic priest on trial for allegedly molesting an altar boy in 1997 was suspended from ministry in 2011 after he twice gave deceptive answers during polygraph tests when asked about touching children's genitals, a prosecutor said yesterday. The revelation about the Rev. Andrew McCormick, 57, was made in court by Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp. It was made following the closing arguments by defense lawyer William J. Brennan and after the jury had been escorted from the room.
NEWS
February 23, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
LYNN NICHOLS, who spent 22 years with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and became assistant chief of the Homicide Unit, yesterday pleaded guilty to criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, in connection with a plot to get revenge against a former boyfriend. Under a negotiated guilty plea, Municipal Judge James DeLeon sentenced Nichols, 47, to a year of nonreporting probation and ordered her to pay $884 in restitution to a woman she victimized. Nichols was fired in October and charged with obstruction of justice, filing a false report and criminal mischief after police uncovered her plot.
NEWS
February 21, 2014 | By Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office says it is taking over the investigation into a physical altercation between Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice and his fiancee, Janay Palmer, in the Revel Casino Hotel that police records say left Palmer unconscious. Rice and Palmer were both arrested early Saturday and charged with simple assault-domestic violence after police were called to the Boardwalk casino shortly before 3 a.m. The website TMZ Sports posted security video Wednesday that showed Rice coming out of an elevator holding up a woman who appeared to be unconscious.
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