- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - An investigation into a state government email scandal will lead to more fallout like the suspension of a state Supreme Court justice, Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Wednesday.

Kane said in a statement, a day after Justice Michael Eakin’s suspension, that outside lawyers hired by her office are reviewing more than 1 million emails. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the Court of Judicial Discipline described Eakin’s emails as insensitive and inappropriate toward gender, race, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

“In the coming months, as the special prosecutor reviews over 1 million of these emails, I expect there to be more of these days,” Kane said. “And with each one, we will come one step closer to restoring the credibility of our justice system. We will be one step closer to transforming our system of justice from the one we have to the one we deserve.”

The scandal, first disclosed by Kane last year, has claimed the jobs of several high-ranking people inside state government, particularly at the attorney general’s office. Another state high court justice, Seamus McCaffery, abruptly retired last year after being suspended over his participation in swapping sexually explicit content or pornography by email.

Kane’s office discovered email exchanges involving pornographic images and videos on the office’s servers during an internal review of how state prosecutors had handled the child molestation case involving former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Eakin’s emails apparently were discovered by Kane’s office because some were exchanged with a state prosecutor.

Kane turned Eakin’s emails over to judicial ethics agencies three months ago and suggested that a prior investigation last year that cleared him had willfully swept the matter under the rug.

“I applaud the Court of Judicial Discipline for its decision yesterday,” Kane said. “For more than a year, the contents of Justice Eakin’s emails were known to officials within the justice system. Some chose to look the other way while others chose to call them ‘unremarkable.’ None felt they merited any discipline and all have undermined the credibility in our justice system.”

Kane sought the new ethics investigation of Eakin just days after Eakin and his four colleagues on the state Supreme Court voted unanimously to suspend Kane’s law license as she fights criminal charges, including perjury and obstruction. Montgomery County prosecutors accuse Kane of leaking secret grand jury material to a newspaper to smear two former state prosecutors and lying about it under oath.

The state Senate also is exploring whether to remove Kane from office, a move that Kane said would be unconstitutional.

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