PHILADELPHIA - The investigation into whether state officials used government computers to exchange pornographic and offensive pictures and emails now has a special prosecutor leading the charge.
Embattled attorney general Kathleen Kane has tapped former Maryland AG Doug Gansler to lead the investigation, among other attorneys who will conduct the inquiry.
“We've seen newspaper accounts, we've heard innuendo, there's a lot of political back and forth,” Gansler said. “That's not our play. We are there to look at the facts and only the facts and wherever they take us.”
Gansler and his legal team will be reviewing the exchange of pornographic and offensive emails between various state officials during the Jerry Sandusky case, which Kane says could have demonstrated bias in the state's criminal justice system.
“They're not shared by your typical image of a guy in his basement,” she said. “They're not in a private chat room on the Internet. They're passed along between judges including the highest court in Pennsylvania.”
It's still unclear whether Kane has the power to appoint Gansler to the post since her law license remains suspended.
“They'll complain about and intend to thwart the appointment of an independent special prosecutor with nonsense about my authority to appoint a special deputy as if it is the practice of law,” Kane said. “I assure you that as the duly elected attorney general, I can.”
Gansler mounted an unsuccessful run for governor in Maryland last year, losing the Democratic primary in a campaign marred by controversies.
He was criticized nationally two years ago after photos surfaced online of Gansler at a house party with his teenage son and not doing more to stop the underage drinking going on.
Maryland state troopers also claimed Gansler ordered them to break traffic laws when they drove him.
He's been working at a Washington, D.C. law firm since he left the AG post and says he's focused on the task at hand.
“We are not targeting anybody; we're going to look at all the emails,” he said. “I don't live here, and that's the point. That's why we're independent.”
Gansler said they expect to have full subpoena and grand jury powers, even though they are not licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania.
The legal team is expecting the total cost of the investigation to run somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million.