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LegalIntelligencer3-5-13

LegalIntelligencer3-5-13

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Published by Signor Ferrari
Legal Intelligencer, March 5, 2013
Legal Intelligencer, March 5, 2013

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Published by: Signor Ferrari on Jul 08, 2013
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09/07/2013

 
 
Prosecutors Angered Over Kane'sSandusky Investigation
 
By Ben PresentThe Legal Intelligencer
 March 5, 2013 
 Attorneys and agents from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office who were involved in theinvestigation and prosecution of Jerry Sandusky are "outraged" that Attorney General Kathleen Kane iskeeping her promise to investigate the office's handling of the case, and some are prepared to go public if the review's findings are overly critical of their work or inaccurate, sources close to the Sandusky investigation said.
 
"If they come after us, we're coming out publicly," said one source who held a leadership post in the officeand was involved in the investigation. "We're proud of what we did and we didn't give a rat's ass aboutpolitics. We wanted to get a monster off the streets. And we did."
 
Several sources interviewed who were involved in or close to the Sandusky prosecution were alsounanimous in refuting Kane's central question in launching the internal investigation
whetherGovernor Tom Corbett influenced the pace of the investigation for political reasons when he was attorney general of Pennsylvania.
 
"Absolutely, categorically no," said another source close to the investigation, when asked if Corbett slowedthe investigation. "But that's not a very interesting story, is it?"
 
Corbett has publicly defended his office's handling of the case, noting that several big breaks, including atip that led to key witness Mike McQueary, came only as Corbett was leaving. If anything, though, anindictment of Sandusky while he was an aspiring governor only would have earned him more votes,Corbett has said in more than one press statement.
 
Other sources confirmed that, though Corbett had a "no surprise rule" in which he wanted to know of investigatory decisions that could morph into political landmines, he was not involved in the day-to-day decision-making and gave complete autonomy to the attorneys and agents working on the case. That said,Corbett would have welcomed the notoriety, they said.
 
Sources did say that Corbett wanted to be kept apprised of the status of the investigation.
 
It was also not his decision to put the case before a grand jury, sources said. That decision is a tactic thatKane has publicly said caused the investigation to take longer than it needed to.
 
 
Kane's aggressive stance on the Sandusky investigation was a campaign promise and political gambit thathas been widely credited by political analysts as helping her win election as attorney general
the firstDemocrat and the first woman to do so. In bringing in Widener University School of Law professor andformer federal prosecutor H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr. to lead her review, Kane is following up on a promisethat many say won her the election. Legal observers and attorneys familiar with Moulton have describedhim as having "unquestionable integrity."
 
But several sources from the prosecutorial community said that many of their colleagues from across thestate are "outraged" that Kane would second-guess a body of work that eventually led to convictions on 45of 48 counts and put Sandusky, the longtime Penn State defensive coordinator, behind bars for the rest of his life.
 
Kane declined to comment on the probe for this story.
 
TRIED TO CANCEL TALK?
 
The sentiment among prosecutors came to a head at the state's District Attorneys Association mid-wintermeeting last month, where, according to several sources, Kane attempted to cancel a seminar given by theSandusky trial's two prosecutors
Joseph E. McGettigan and Frank G. Fina. The focus of the talk washow to successfully prosecute high-profile cases and deal with media scrutiny.
 
Kane has denied that, saying she made appropriate inquiries into the scope of a presentation on a case heroffice is still handling.
 
However, according to several sources who spoke with
The Legal 
on the condition of anonymity, here'show the events leading up to the seminar played out:
 
The week before the talk, sources said, Kane directly contacted Shawn Wagner, the Adams County districtattorney and president of the District Attorneys Association, and convinced him to cancel the event, citingthe appellate status of the case as her chief concern.
 
However, after Fina and McGettigan addressed the association's leadership in what sources called an"impassioned" discussion February 3, Super Bowl Sunday, the board (including Wagner) unanimously overturned the decision.
 
Fina and McGettigan, who both declined to comment for this story, both gave the presentation February 6.
 
Reached for comment, Wagner said the seminar was initially canceled due to a "miscommunication"about what Fina and McGettigan were going to cover. It was reinstated when their actual topic was made clear.
 
 According to Wagner, the presentation was first captioned "Lessons Learned in the Sandusky Case."
 
Declining to give specifics for the attorney general's reasoning, Wagner said Kane had expressed"concerns" about the topic and questions about whether McGettigan could be involved, as he was still arepresentative of the agency. She never asked Wagner to cancel it and never insisted that McGettigan notspeak, Wagner said.
 
 
 
"After my conversations with the attorney general and after a discussion with other members of theDistrict Attorneys Association, we agreed we would not go forward," Wagner said. "That was not a resultof the attorney general saying 'don't go forward.'"
 
Kane also denied that she made efforts to stymie the seminar. A spokesperson for her office said that Kane became aware of the presentation after she was sworn in, and correctly looked into it.
 
"Attorney General Kane correctly made inquiries to understand the scope and nature of the seminar andto ensure that the presentation would be in compliance with grand-jury secrecy rules," said Ellen M.Mellody, the communications director for the Office of Attorney General. "Stating that Attorney GeneralKane 'attempted to cancel' the seminar is not accurate."
 
 A number of 
 Legal 
sources, however, said that Kane had tried to stop the presentation; allegedly sheexpressed concern to Wagner that the talk could jeopardize the appeal.
 
Those same sources refuted the notion that the presentation would affect the office's success in opposingSandusky's appeal, instead offering the same word in explaining why Kane would try to cancel such a talk:Politics.
 
One source present at the event, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the "sentiment wasoverwhelming" among prosecutors who reported being "outraged" that Kane was investigating such asuccessful prosecution.
 
"You don't do this," the source said. "You don't investigate successful cases."
 
HOW THE INVESTIGATION PLAYED OUT
 
The Office of the Attorney General received the Sandusky case on a conflict referral in the spring of 2009.The district attorney of Centre County at the time, Michael Madeira, kicked the case to state prosecutors because his wife's brother was one of Sandusky's adopted sons. At the time, Pennsylvania State Police hadalready been investigating Sandusky and continued to do so, parallel to the AG's investigation.
 
There was only one victim at that point, a Clinton County teenager who first made allegations againstSandusky to the local Children and Youth Services bureau in 2008. The victim, Aaron Fisher, was longknown in court papers as Victim 1, but went public after Sandusky's trial last June.
 
State Police continued to investigate Sandusky as the AG's office launched a grand jury investigation inthe late spring of 2009. According to sources close to the investigation, the state troopers proposed theidea of bringing charges on Fisher's account alone.
 
The team from the Attorney General's Office held off for several reasons.
 
For one, sources said, Fisher was a wreck.
 
Not uncommon for victims of sexual abuse, details of Fisher's story changed more than once and his firstround of testimony before the grand jury did not give prosecutors enough foundation for charges, sources

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