Announcement follows high-level meeting with Philly’s civic, religious, community leaders
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 16, 2015 − Following a meeting with Philadelphia’s community leaders, clergy and civil rights advocates about the email scandal that has ensnared Pennsylvania’s judicial system, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams this morning re-stated his call for PA Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin to resign, demanded the removal of three other officials, and called for a special prosecutor to investigate the attempted cover up.
Williams said the emails that Justice Eakin sent and received from his state-issued account were more than x-rated.
“This isn’t ‘porngate’,” Sen. Williams said at his press conference following his meeting, “This is ‘hategate.’
“These emails are riddled with hate speech. All of them undermine the integrity of our judiciary and they raise serious questions about Justice Eakin’s impartiality and his common sense, especially as it affects women and minorities.
“Justice Eakin must resign. We need a special prosecutor to conduct a credible investigation, and the legislature must take the required steps to prevent these kinds of racist, misogynist, homophobic expressions from happening on the public’s dime,” Williams said.
Williams, Democratic chairman of the Senate State Government Committee and a ranking member of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, said Eakin wasn’t the only one to reveal himself as, at best, insensitive, and, at worst, racist.
“Eakin’s emails went to district attorneys, public defenders, assistant U.S. attorneys, and a significant number of private attorneys from the Harrisburg area,” Sen. Williams said.
Included in Eakin’s email chain, Williams said, was Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico; judges Bruce Bratton and Bernard Coates Jr.; Dauphin County First Deputy DA Fran Chardo; Chief Public Defender Bradley Winnick; and Chief Deputy Public Defender Greg Mills.
But Sen. Williams listed the “cover-up players” — who reviewed the insulting emails and dismissed them as insignificant, included state Attorney General First Deputy Bruce Beemer, PA Judicial Conduct Board Chief Counsel Robert Graci, and PA Supreme Court Special Counsel Robert Byer.
“Messages circulating in this network were discovered because they were sent to a public email in the attorney general’s office,” the senator said. “The emails contained offensive content that went way beyond being pornographic. They included hate speech that targeted African Americans, Latino Americans, LGBT Americans and Muslims.”
Besides serious judicial reform, Williams said the attorney general’s office must appoint a special prosecutor who has full prosecutorial powers to begin an investigation and help lawmakers in writing new legislation.
Contact: Mark Shade