Kane Defends Decision Not To Prosecute Politicians In Sting Case - KMSP-TV

Kane Defends Decision Not To Prosecute Politicians In Sting Case

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PHILADELPHIA -

Pennsylvania's Attorney General is defending her decision to drop the case against five Philadelphia Democrats entangled in a sting operation.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane held a press conference Monday. She says despite taped evidence of four representatives and a traffic court judge allegedly pocketing money or gifts from an informant, she won't prosecute because the investigation was "botched."

State Reps. Michelle Brownlee, Louise Bishop, Vanessa Brown, Ronald Waters and former Judge Tomasine Tynes allegedly took money and, in one instance a Tiffany bracelet, from an informant seeking favors, but they have not been charged.

The story broke in bold headlines in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer. It revealed an informant, facing criminal charges beginning in 2010 visited the politicians offering cash and the one gift in return for votes or favors.

All of the alleged transactions were recorded.

Kane says the case was racially-tainted. She also says other prosecutors and federal authorities have passed on prosecuting the matter.

"The majority of the work, including more than 91 percent of the recordings by a confidential informant, took place 18 months prior to my inauguration, through three former Attorneys General," Kane said Sunday in a news release. "Additionally, when prosecutors dismissed more than 2,000 serious charges of fraud that alleged their informant stole $430,000 meant for poor children and seniors, they crippled the chance of this case succeeding in prosecution.  Despite the case originating in 2010, this agreement to drop the charges was signed just 24 days after I was elected and weeks before I was sworn in."

Kane also said Monday that the only person who could have authenticated the tapes was the informant, and he was tainted.

FOX 29's Jeff Cole had a lot of questions for the attorney general Monday, as you'll see in the video clips above.

Kane says her decision not to bring the case has nothing to do with that fact that she is a Democrat and so are the state representatives. She maintains that prosecuting political corruption remains a top priority of her administration, noting that of the 11 cases she has prosecuted so far the majority involved Democrats.

FOX 29 News asked Waters to call us, but he didn't.

Bishop told us she had no comment before slamming a door shut.

Brownlee told the paper she didn't recall taking money from the informant.

Brown refused comment.

Tynes told the paper she found the bracelet in a safe deposit box and will now decide what to do with it.

A local watchdog group is calling for a special prosecutor.

The city's top prosecutor says claims of racial targeting are ridiculous.

Cole has more details in the video reports above.

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