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The email morass thickens

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Bruce Castor, a Republican, is the first deputy attorney general under Democrat Kathleen Kane.

HARRISBURG

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said she hired a former out-of-state-prosecutor in December to ensure the integrity of a report on offensive emails among prosecutors, agents and judges.

A preliminary report by former Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler was supposed to be released last week, according to Kane's No. 2 official, Solicitor General Bruce Castor. It was set for Tuesday. The agenda: sexually explicit emails and vile communications that passed through the Office of Attorney General's servers. Two Supreme Court justices, former state officials under Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, resigned or lost their jobs. Dozens of employees under Kane were disciplined.

But there's been no overall picture of the email universe. Despite saying they should be released, Kane only did so selectively. She appeared to dole porn out whenever her legal troubles mounted and to hurt political enemies. She faces criminal charges in Montgomery County.

Then on Memorial Day, along came a very unusual statement from Castor. Gansler's findings were “not comprehensive,” “incomplete” and his report redacted too many emails. Castor said Gansler and his law firm “were unable to comply with the aggressive timetable” that Castor established. Castor, the former Montgomery County district attorney who is used to being his own boss, said he had expected the report by the end of May. His chief concern was the report didn't nail down whether prosecutors and judges exchanging emails might have compromised cases.

The presser was suddenly postponed. Castor said it would be held over the summer.

Within 24 hours, Castor walked it back. He said “General Douglas Gansler” provided “an objective, extensive and independent review of offensive email” between the judiciary and OAG. Castor requested that material be included as an addendum to the report. “No changes have been requested, nor will be made to the interim report,” an office press release read.

One can only imagine Gansler on the phone to Kane, griping about his treatment, then Kane going ballistic on Castor.

Castor thus far seems to have had complete reign to function as de facto attorney general while Kane rides out having a suspended law license and a trial set for August on felony perjury charges and related misdemeanors.

There's one irrefutable fact about the interim report, whatever spin they put on it: The report will be tainted. The second-in-command of the Attorney General's Office has stated that it was incomplete as submitted. The addendum may or may not address Castor's concerns; it's to be submitted “by next week, and the press conference will be scheduled at the earliest date thereafter.”

Will Castor be talking freely by then, or will he be muzzled? We won't know for sure.

It's an interim report, I believe, because Kane would like to get two bites of the apple before her trial. Here's betting the final report is released a week or two before trial, when she'll try to work in the claim that she was done in by an “old boy's network” protecting dirty email chains.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter (717-787-1405 or [email protected]).

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