Then-Montgomery County DA Risa Ferman's August 2015 press conference contained lies and contradictions
On December 29th, I wrote that step #5 of the PA Corruption Network's Playbook was for prosecutors to go public with trumped up charges based on questionable evidence and/or falsehoods in order to publicly smear political opponents.
Then-DA Risa Ferman's August 6, 2015 press conference -- like those given by former Attorney General (AG) Linda Kelly in relation to charging PSU officials Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and Graham Spanier -- was a page out of the "playbook" and contained a number of falsehoods.
Vermin's, er, Ferman's statements regarding the actions of AG's Kane's head of security, Patrick Rocco Reese, were absolutely false and were likely made in an attempt to establish a non-existent link between grand jury information and Kane.
"Also filed today, we filed a charge of indirect criminal contempt against Patrick Rocco Reese....he's charged with indirect criminal contempt based upon the evidence we gathered which would prove he secretly snuck into the grand jury files in violation of a protection order issued by Judge Carpenter."
"After that protection order was issued, Agent Reese, on a repeated basis, snuck into those grand jury files and obtained confidential grand jury information."
Reese was charged with Violation of a Protective Order, however the supporting evidence in no way proved that any grand jury information was ever in the possession of Reese.
Protective Order Notice #123 stated that all grand jury information was retained by Supervising Judge William Carpenter and Special Prosecutor Thomas Carluccio, thus could not have been accessed by an email search of the AG Office's email system -- regardless of whether Reese "snuck" into the files or not.
The "secretly snuck" language in Ferman's statements are solely based on the dubious testimony of the actual grand jury leaker, Adrian King.
Reese was convicted -- by Judge Carpenter, not a jury -- for using email search terms that prosecutors alleged were attempts to find out information about the grand jury investigation of Kane. Reese is rightfully appealing the conviction.
But Ferman didn't stop there.
As we saw in the case of the PSU 3, the law was misinterpreted (intentionally) to allege that Kane was behind the "scheme" to leak confidential materials.
At 6:00, Ferman stated:
The materials gathered and distributed in the course of this scheme were confidential investigative materials. And confidential investigative information is protected in Pennsylvania by a statute. It's called the Criminal History Records and Information Act. In law enforcement we refer to it as the acronym, "cree-ah", C-H-R-I-A and it is detailed in the charging documents.
First, Kane wasn't charged with violating CHRIA. Next, neither the grand jury presentment nor the charging documents contain any details about CHRIA. The grand jury presentment made two references to CHRIA that simply cited its title and code.
Ferman deceived the public by never explaining the law (in the AOPC) and by using the irrelevant grand jury testimony of Adrian King to make the case that Kane released information covered under CHRIA. See below.
This evidence indicates that Ferman purposely misinterpreted the law (and deceived the public about it) in order to publicly allege a conspiracy by Kane.
ContradictionsFerman's statements at the outset of her press conference about leaking of grand jury were contradicted later in the press conference.
At 4:37 Ferman stated:
"This investigative team determined that Attorney General Kathleen Kane devised a scheme to secretly leak confidential criminal investigation information and secret grand jury materials directly to political operatives in the hopes of embarrassing and harming former state prosecutors, whom she believed -- she believed without evidence -- that made her look bad.
The affidavit of probable cause, which is our charging document, you have before you, details how this scheme was accomplished and the crux of it was obtaining and compiling this confidential information, delivering it to a political operative with instructions to leak it to the press, all designed to make it look like a former prosecutor went soft on a corruption investigation."
At 24:20, Ferman refuted the earlier statement, explaining that Kane didn't compile and deliver the materials.
If you, if you read through the evidence that relates to the conspiracy charge, it is clear for the evidence we gathered, that while the Attorney General orchestrated and directed the scheme, that she, herself, did not compile the materials and deliver them to Mr. Morrow. So clearly, there were at least one other, perhaps, more individuals involved, and that is the crux of conspiracy. What a conspiracy means, in the most basic terms, is the act of one is the act of all. So all of the people involved in the leak of that information can be responsible."
As my January 1st blogpost pointed out, Ferman had no evidence of Kane possessing any grand jury materials at the time the Philadelphia Daily News story went to press, thus she was making material misstatements at the press conference.
Ethics?In late December, the press reported that Kane is under investigation by the Ethics Commission based on a complaint lodged by a citizen activist.
Interestingly enough, concerned citizens of Pennsylvania could make an ethics case against Ferman for the extrajudicial statements she made at her press conference.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is a sad day for the citizens of Pennsylvania and it is a sad day for all of us in law enforcement. A prosecutor has the responsibility as a minister of justice, and when he or she does her job honorably - as we should - we honor our oath. We stand up and do what is right every day. When someone is entrusted with upholding the law, violates that oath and violates that law we are bound to uphold, we are all victims -- everyone of us. When an elected official violates the public trust and violates his or her oath, it is up to us to stand up and hold that person accountable.
Obviously, to tell all of Pennsylvania's citizens that they are victims of Kane is poisoning the jury pool and appears to be a "textbook" example of a prejudicial statement.
The flip side happened at 12:33:
I'd like to thank the staff members of the Office of the Attorney General - current and former. Members of the staff who displayed moral courage in standing up to share information they had. It takes tremendous courage to stand up and, in essence, tell on your boss. It's a hard thing to do. It takes personal courage. And they had it. They took actions at great risk to themselves personally and professionally. And I thank them.
Heaping praise on the AG staff -- Commonwealth's witnesses - for their "moral courage" and "personal courage" also serves to prejudice the jury pool against Kane.
According to Ferman, the following individuals had moral courage and took great professional risk:
1. Adrian King -- the actual leaker of information who likely got immunity for putting the onus on Kane.
2. James Barker -- who oversaw the AG's "leaky" investigative grand jury unit and was fired due to the unit's performance.
3. Bruce Beemer - who will likely become the AG if Kane is removed. Talk about professional risk?
Around the 20 minute mark of the press conference, one (clueless) reporter asked Ferman,
"Do you have a membership card in the Good Old Boy's Network in Harrisburg?
She responded by saying:
"I don't think they've invited me."
Ferman was actually being truthful -- about Boys and Harrisburg.
The Good Old Boy's Network doesn't just include men and it's not just in Harrisburg -- it's all across Pennsylvania. One of the network's specialties is perverting the justice system to fit personal and/or political agendas.
The evidence in the Kane case strongly indicates that Montgomery County Judge, Risa Vetri Ferman used the Network's "playbook" and is part of the PA Corruption Network.
Next: About that oath.