- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A judicial ethics court has given Attorney General Kathleen Kane two weeks to provide records in a disciplinary case against Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin after lawyers complained she did not respond to requests for a full set of his salacious and objectionable emails.

Judge Jack Panella of the Court of Judicial Discipline signed an order Thursday that set a Feb. 25 deadline to fulfill the Judicial Conduct Board’s demand for emails involving Eakin going back to 2008.

The subpoena was issued in mid-December by the board, which is pursuing ethics charges against Eakin over his email practices. The subpoena seeks emails “which touch, reflect or concern” those sent to or from Eakin involving sexually explicit, misogynistic, ethnically insensitive, racist or homophobic material.

The board wrote to the court on Feb. 1 to say that Kane’s office had not responded.

In a “status report” to the court, board lawyers said they followed the court’s direction in issuing the first subpoena to Kane’s office on Dec. 11. The attorney general’s office refused to accept the subpoena on Dec. 14, leading to a meeting the next day with lawyers for the court and Eakin. The board then mailed a second subpoena but received no response.

“Kane’s disregard of this court’s subpoena follows her inconsistent and capricious record of compliance with the board’s attempts to obtain all of the emails relevant to its investigation and to ensure the emails that it had obtained previously were, in fact, the complete set of emails in AG Kane’s possession,” wrote board lawyers Frank Puskas, James Kleman Jr. and Elizabeth Flaherty.

Panella directed her to produce the records or an affidavit saying they were previously turned over.

Kane spokesman Chuck Ardo said Friday that the office was trying to determine who accepted the subpoena and how it was handled.

“It appears that the failure to respond, if there was one, was certainly inadvertent,” Ardo said.

He said the Judicial Conduct Board or the ethics court already has all of the Eakin-related materials in the attorney general’s possession.

Eakin, a Republican and former Cumberland County district attorney, faces trial next month in Philadelphia on charges his email practices violated conduct rules for judges. If convicted, he could be removed from the bench where he has served since 2002.

Kane is awaiting trial herself on criminal allegations she leaked secret grand jury material to a reporter and lied about it. She has disputed the allegations. Her trial is scheduled for August in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Kane survived a nearly party-line Senate vote this week about whether to remove her from office because she currently lacks a valid law license. The Supreme Court voted unanimously in September to put her license on temporary, indefinite suspension.

She has said she hopes to win the Democratic nomination in April for a second term. At least three other Democrats and two Republicans have also announced plans to run, although the field could change next week, when nominating petitions are due.



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