Wednesday, July 8, 2009


We've just finished conferring with our spies in the courtroom for yesterday's hearing on pretrial motions filed by the Bonusgate defendants.

While most of the media coverage centered on the motion to dismiss the charges based on "selective prosecution," we found the revelations about how evidence was gathered much more interesting.

Get this: not one of the battalion of lawyers representing the Office of Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett had any idea what the OAG requested in the subpoenas served on the House Democratic Caucus in 2007. Did they request certain computer hard drives? Did they request electronic copies of e-mails between particular members, or sent during a particular time period? Did they request specific memos or documents?

They don't know.

Lawyers for Mike Veon contend that Corbett allowed then-House Democratic Leader Bill DeWeese to choose his own scapegoats, scouring the caucus computer system for evidence that implicated those scapegoats alone. They contend that a thorough search of the caucus' hard drives and servers would have implicated others - DeWeese in particular. But no such search was conducted.

Robert Soop, supervisory agent of the OAG's legislative corruption investigation, testified as much at a preliminary hearing for two of the defendants in October:

Q: What I am more interested in is, who gave you this?
A: Who gave us the actual e-mails?
Q: Yes.
A: It was negotiated -- my understanding is, it was negotiated through representation from the House.
Q: So the House Democratic Caucus gave you the e-mails?
A: Specifically, Mr. Chadwick would have been involved in that process.
Q: You can't testify under oath here today that these e-mails came from any computer in particular? You don't have the IP address to trace it to a particular computer, correct?
A: The House gave them to us, and these e-mails were obtained as a result of the system at the House.
Q: That's not my question. My question is you didn't go to the particular hard drive of Mr. Veon's computer, or Miss Rosepink's computer and you as law enforcement did not retrieve these e-mails from those hard drives, according to your testimony?
A: I personally did not do that, no.
Q: Nor did any law enforcement person? It was the House Democratic Caucus, according to your testimony?
A: Again, I was not involved in that process. That is my understanding of how it took place.

Umm...hey, OJ? Can you let us know if you find anything suspicious?

Agent Soop was subpoenaed to testify at yesterday's hearing, but Judge Richard A. Lewis temporarily blocked all subpoenas while he considers whether he will hear testimony on the motion to dismiss based on selective prosecution. Those subpoenaed to testify on other motions, including Agent Soop, still could be required to appear no matter how Lewis rules on the selective prosecution motion.

Veon's lawyers argued that prosecutors should not be allowed to introduce the e-mails that DeWeese turned over unless they can authenticate them. Based on Agent Soop's October testimony, it appears they can not.

It's very clear to Team CasablancaPA that DeWeese did just as Veon's lawyers contend. As we have pointed out before, we already know that DeWeese failed to turn over a large cache of e-mails that were later discovered, printed out, in an office previously occupied by caucus attorney Bill Sloane. Sloane facilitated the caucus' response to subpoenas in 2007. According to the Post-Gazette, many of the e-mails appear to implicate DeWeese and those in DeWeese's inner circle.

We also know DeWeese failed to turn over about 200 emails that show his top two aides, Kevin Sidella and Tom Andrews, directing a taxpayer-funded contractor to perform campaign work. Corbett noted in a presentment last year that DeWeese himself corresponded with the same state contractor on campaign matters. Rather than pursue charges Corbett inexplicably praised DeWeese for using his campaign e-mail account.

We don't know what other evidence DeWeese withheld, and more importantly, we don't know why Corbett allowed DeWeese to determine the course of the investigation. We do know that DeWeese turned over the e-mails only after Corbett granted someone immunity under a sealed order.

Meanwhile, Judge Lewis is expected to decide this week whether to hear testimony on the "selective prosecution" motion, and rumors are rampant that Corbett is desperate to defang Veon's allegation by sprinkling a few more indictments around the Capitol (Or, at least, by creating the impression that he will).


Anonymous said...

Typical of one-sided CasablancaPA, there is inconsistently in your logic. One the one hand, you seem to enthusiastically agree that computer hard drives are absolutely needed to verify the authenticity of e-mails used by the attorney general to bring criminal charges against 12 people. But on the other hand, you take as gospel the alleged contents of a box of e-mails reportedly left behind in an office formerly occupied by caucus attorney Sloane. What about the authenticity of THOSE e-mails? It's far more likely that that box was planted and its contents are of questionable, if not suspicious, origin. Don't you think?

Signor Ferrari said...

Seriously? That's your talking point now? What are you guys smoking over there in Whip's office?

Anonymous said...

Enjoying the posts, Mike.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any inconsistencies at all. The AG is apparently treating all printed/copied e-mails the same.

Veon is questioning the validity of the printed e-mails. DeWeese will be free to do the same, one would assume, when/if he gets indicted.

In fact, if DeWeese believes the newly-discovered e mails from Sloane's office are forgeries, he should definitely go after the rascals who forged them.

I read the coverage of the hearing on the Post-Gazette site, and it seemed to me that Veon was not really questioning whether or not the e mails were authentic, but rather why Chadwick/DeWeese got to decide exactly which ones they were gonna turn over.

During the hearing, the AG's office even admitted how hard they tried in court to get the Dems hard drives, but were rebuffed by Chadwick's team.

Again, no inconsistencies as far as I can see. DeWeese will have all the time in the world for his lawyers (does he have one now, or are the taxpayers still paying for his?) to make similar arguments.

Anonymous said...

Fumo was convicted on his emails and those some of his staff tried to destroy and hide and there was no need to verify the authenticity.

There is testimony to support those emails used to indict the 12 and now there is guilty pleas along with immunity to bolster the emails, travel expenses on state time for private and campaign use, and of course Non-Profits.

The Emails discovered in DeWeese Office were not even about the bonuses for campaigning.

Signor Ferrari said...

I guess the forgers did a really bad job, then.


Anonymous said...

During the hearing, the AG's office even admitted how hard they tried in court to get the Dems hard drives, but were rebuffed by Chadwick's team.

It looks to me that DeWeese did the right thing as Manzo admitted his actions and then was fired.

Now Manzo has turned on Veon, Cott, and Peretta Rosepink and who knows how many others.

The fact is with or without emails, Manzo admitted wrongdoing, and it is here that all Defendants Lawyers will have to go to defend themselves agaiant allegations made by Manzo on cross examination, in the end.

Anonymous said...

Big difference between what DeWeese did - respond to a subpoena - and what Eachus has done - dug up dirt (e.g. every personal email sent from a state account) on fellow members without a subpoena and using government resources to find such minutiae.

Signor Ferrari said...

Wow, you guys in the Whip's office must really be scared of whatever is in that box that was discovered in Sloane's former office! Spin away!

Anonymous said...

Would someone from the Fourth Estate please find out how much taxpayer money Eachus spent on Fumo's law firm to support the bizarre defense of his ultra-close friend Veon (maybe ex-friend now)?

Anonymous said...

Spin away? From the master himself. I don't work for the Whip. I'm just an observor who understands the true nature of Eachus and your entire group, as skilled as you are. No skin in this game, other than one from a public interest perspective.

Signor Ferrari said...

The caucus is not paying any of Mr. Veon's legal fees, as the Post-Gazette has reported. How much taxpayer money it has spent and is continuing to spend to defend current members is a good question, though.

Anonymous said...

Not saying the Caucus officially paid for Veon's defense. I'm saying Chris Casey's work was designed to help Veon argue that others did what Veon did - even though making phone calls on state time (while wrong) is far different than (if proven) siphoning funds through a non-profit and running a massive campaign operation on the taxpayers' dime. Dilworth Paxson - Fumo's law firm - is at it again.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Signor Ferrari is right, the caucus is not paying any of Mr. Veon's legal fees. Toddd Eachus refued to do it.

On the other hand, the Caucus did not pay to erase Veon's Campaign Debts either, only Todd Eachus did that by himself with Caucus money, that his voters will know about in detail soon.

Meanwhile, Todd Eachus did hire Fumo's Law Firm and they are raking it in, and the voters will soon learn why this happening too.

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