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Pennsylvania AG Kane wrapping up review of Corbett's handling of Sandusky case

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Monday, June 2, 2014, 11:30 p.m.
 

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Monday that her report on Gov. Tom Corbett's handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse investigation while he was attorney general might be completed this month.

“I'm hoping so,” Kane said in a brief interview. She is awaiting approval from Judge Norman A. Krumenacher III, a Cambria County judge supervising her special report on why it took nearly three years to charge Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State University.

Sandusky, 70, convicted in 2012 of 45 charges of molesting boys, is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction.

Kane's investigation began 15 months ago. She promised during her 2012 campaign to determine whether Corbett slow-walked the investigation for political reasons.

Prosecutors charged Sandusky about a year after Corbett was elected governor in November 2010. Corbett has maintained he did nothing to interfere and would not inject politics into a case.

Kane is the first woman and first Democrat elected as attorney general. Corbett, a Shaler Republican, likely is in for a tough re-election battle against York County Democrat Tom Wolf.

Even if Kane's investigators find no smoking gun, “any negative attention on Corbett as he ramps up his campaign is unwanted by him,” said J. Wesley Leckrone, a political science professor at Widener University.

That could cut into the heart of Corbett's Republican base in the so-called “T,” an imaginary strip across northern Pennsylvania that would be supported by a column through Central Pennsylvania, Leckrone said.

“Big-time college football isn't big in the Southeast. People live and die by it in Central Pennsylvania, and that's where the Republicans are,” Leckrone said. Many die-hard Penn State fans “have their minds made up about Corbett,” but the report could influence other GOP voters, he said.

If Krumenacher approves the report, Kane said, it will be sent to some officials central to the investigation whom she declined to name.

“I can't tell you who that is,” she said.

But sources said that includes Corbett and former Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina, both of whom were interviewed by special deputy H. Geoffrey Moulton, a Widener University Law School professor and ex-federal prosecutor tapped by Kane to investigate. She is paying Moulton $74 an hour.

Corbett spokeswoman Lynn Lawson confirmed he talked to Moulton last week. Corbett's office would not say whether a state-paid lawyer accompanied him to the interview. “I can only confirm that the meeting occurred,” Lawson said.

Corbett and Fina will get an opportunity to respond in writing. After they respond, the report returns to Krumenacher for approval.

Kane's office has said the need to reconstruct millions of deleted emails delayed the report. There are no criminal charges being investigated, officials said.

Fina, who works for Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, declined to comment.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 and bbumsted@tribweb.com.

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