Seth Williams is attacking Attorney General Kathleen Kane's decision not to pursue charges in Frank Fina's Philadelphia sting operation, and it's not because he thinks it's a solid case.
After all, Williams has concurrent jurisdiction and is free to file charges if he sees fit. But as he told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "[confidential informant Tyron] Ali apparently no longer had any legal obligation to testify against those he had taped because the charges against him had been dropped."
The charges were dropped 45 days before Kane took office. The obstacle Williams says he faces is the obstacle Kane faced.
"There's no way I can use him under any prosecutorial theory I can think of," Williams said. So under what prosecutorial theory does he think Kane can?
None, of course. As we said, he's not attacking Kane because he thinks Fina built a solid case.
He's attacking Kane because she revealed that two members of his staff participated in apparent racial targeting. That doesn't look good to voters, especially in a majority-minority city like Philadelphia.
According to Kane, "The OAG Agent who managed the CI was debriefed by current senior OAG executive staff members prior to his leaving OAG for employment at PDAO (to join again with the former OAG Attorneys who had previously directed the investigation). During the debrief, the OAG Agent indicated that he was instructed by his supervising OAG Attorney to focus only on members of the General Assembly's Black Caucus and that when he had information of potentially illegal acts by white members of the General Assembly he was specifically told not to pursue it. The OAG Agent also stated that his supervising OAG Attorney promised him a promotion and cash bonus for working on the investigation."
Furthermore, "Statements about limiting the focus of the investigation to only members of the General Assembly's Black Caucus were also made by the CI to federal law enforcement officials."
Sure, Williams had the option of feigning outrage and making a show of firing Fina and Claude Thomas, the OAG Agent who supervised Ali. But he'd admitted he'd already reviewed the case and he clearly had no problem with the tactics at the time of his review. If he publicly accepts Kane's version of events, it might be interpreted to mean he'd knowingly harbored staffers who participated in apparent racial targeting.
So he can't publicly accept Kane's version of events.
Williams excuses the damning fact that of 113 recordings, white targets appear only twice - because, he said, only black targets circulated in Ali's "immediate realm."
But his statement contradicts "sources with knowledge of the sting," who said "the investigation made financial pitches to both Republicans and Democrats, but only Democrats accepted the payments." There being no black Republicans of note in Philadelphia politics, that statement means financial pitches were made to white targets who turned them down.
Which is it? Were pitches made to white Republicans or were only black Democrats targeted because they were in Ali's "immediate realm?"
And if pitches were made to white Republicans who turned them down, where are the recordings? Of the two white targets, one "is on tape merely because he happens to be in a room with two black targets," Kane said. And the other one is John Galloway, who has every reason to believe he was targeted because he enraged Tom Corbett with his criticism of the "Bonusgate" investigation.
Galloway said,"The idea was to scare the living (expletive) out of anybody who questioned Tom Corbett."
Was, and still is.