- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A team of Washington-based lawyers will comb through thousands of emails on government computers in an independent examination of pornographic and other objectionable content shared among judges, prosecutors and others, Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Tuesday.

Kane announced the team will be led by Doug Gansler, a fellow Democrat who has been Maryland’s attorney general and was an unsuccessful candidate for that state’s gubernatorial nomination last year.

She said the emails’ content showed a lack of tolerance or respect for others, as well as state and federal constitutional violations.

“The discovery of these emails gives us, the people, a unique opportunity to see the problem, hidden away for many years, address the problem and progress as a commonwealth,” Kane said during a news conference at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. “But progress means changes. These are people who are resisting changes.”

Gansler said his team, with subpoena and grand jury powers, may prosecute if they find evidence that crimes occurred. He said the investigation will be completed “relatively quickly” and that he expects to release most, if not all, the emails in question.



Kane discovered email exchanges that she describes as “racist, misogynistic, homophobic and religiously offensive” last year, when another outside lawyer conducted an internal review into how the office had handled the child sexual abuse investigation into former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

She has disclosed thousands of them to reporters and the wider public and disciplined dozens of people inside the agency she has run for the past three years.

The scandal was among the reasons fellow state Supreme Court justices suspended Justice Seamus McCaffery last year, shortly before he abruptly retired. The involvement of a current member of the high court, Justice Michael Eakin, is the subject of a pending investigation by the state’s Court of Judicial Discipline.

Kane currently leads her agency without a valid law license, as the high court suspended it on a temporary, indefinite basis last month while she awaits trial on charges she leaked secret grand jury material to a newspaper and lied about it.

The state Senate is considering whether to initiate a process to remove Kane from office after its own committee voted 5-2 last week to endorse such a process.

Gansler’s two terms as Maryland’s attorney general ended in January. He said he would not be consulting with Kane during the investigation but would have a contact within the office to help him obtain necessary material.

Kane dismissed questions about her authority to hire Gensler as a special deputy attorney general as “nonsense.”

Gensler said his own pay will be at the same rate that Kane earns, while others in his law firm will work at a discounted rate he did not specify. He said the total cost will likely be less than $2 million.

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Scolforo reported from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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