Friday, May 28, 2010
Just as we suspected.
Unless we're missing something, every media outlet that covered the preliminary hearing for John Perzel & company missed the most interesting element of the story.
This may be the first time in state history a prosecutor takes a defendant to trial on accusations of destroying evidence after the prosecutor himself opened the door for that destruction.
Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett belatedly brought about a billion charges against Team Perzel, after the political reality finally dawned on him. But the accusations of obstruction fascinate us most - and most offend Corbett himself: "Obstruction's the worst," he huffed at the press conference to announce the billion charges.
Corbett's like a golfer that accidentally drives a ball toward your head, screams "fore!" and then gives you "two for flinching."
It's not just that Corbett gave the House Republican eight months advance notice that he might come nosing around the caucus to see if they left anything incriminating lying around. He explicitly green-lighted the replacement of the computers where that incriminating evidence might reside.
As the Patriot-News reported, "all GOP desktop computers were replaced from July 17 to Sept. 6  at the Capitol." And, as the Tribune-Review reported, "The attorney general's investigators were consulted about the changeover of computers."
Unfortunately for both Corbett and caucus staff - but only one (rank-and-file) lawmaker - Corbett later decided he was going to need the data on those computers after all. Because Capitolwire was suggesting Corbett's political ties to the Republican legislature might inhibit the investigation. And The Morning Call was calling for an independent prosecutor.
Why would Corbett allow the caucus to ditch its computers in the middle of a criminal investigation? Or meet, along with his campaign manager, with a major target? Or allow another target to host a fund-raiser?
And what kind of investigation was it, anyway, if after nearly a year Corbett didn't have enough facts, or understand where the investigation was going?
Given Corbett's urge to throw people in jail if he even thinks they're asking inconvenient questions, it's unlikely the public will get answers. Even if someone did work up the nerve, he'd probably just duck back into his sofa fort of grand jury secrecy. Lord knows what those OAG party animals are hiding behind that veil. We already know they were improperly using the grand jury to gather information for a sentencing hearing. For all we know, Corbett could be having the jurors filling out his tax return, or washing his cars. Or working in his gubernatorial campaign. Oh, wait, that's right: we already know about that.