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Pa. judge identified who denied Trib request to view sexually explicit emails circulated in AG's Office

| Monday, Sept. 1, 2014, 10:33 p.m.

HARRISBURG — A grand jury judge has not decided whether to release documents in response to a Tribune-Review open records request for emails circulated in the Attorney General's Office reputed to contain sexually explicit images, a spokesman for the judiciary said on Monday.

James Koval, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, identified the judge issuing an order blocking the records release as Cambria County Judge Norman A. Krumenacker III, who supervises a statewide grand jury.

It is unknown how a Right to Know law request to the attorney general landed before a statewide grand jury.

Krumenacker held a hearing on the matter by phone on Friday after issuing a stay earlier in the week. Krumenacker continued the order blocking the records release, according to Koval.

No final decision has been rendered.

Krumenacker has “taken it under advisement” until he concludes trying a murder case, Koval said.

The emails were allegedly circulated under employees of former attorneys general.

Renee Martin, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Kathleen Kane, said on Friday a judge issued an order blocking release of the records sought in a Right to Know Law request by the Trib filed on July 7.

Martin said she could not disclose the judge's name or the court. Grand jury matters are secret.

Koval said he could not provide Krumenacker's order.

The emails are believed to have come from outside the office and were then re-sent to people in the office. Republican Gov. Tom Corbett was attorney general for much of the period at issue from 2008-12. Corbett of Shaler is seeking re-election in the November general election against Democrat Tom Wolf of York County.

Sources say Corbett was not a recipient of the emails. Jay Pagni, his government spokesman, declined comment on Friday. Mike Barley, Corbett's campaign manager, told the Trib that Corbett “obviously would not condone that.”

Lynn Lawson, Corbett's communications director, on Monday declined comment.

The emails were among more than 20 million emails deleted during previous administrations and recovered by Kane's office for her review of how Corbett handled the Jerry Sandusky case. Kane said she conducted the review to fulfill a campaign promise.

A serial child predator, Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted in 2012 and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison term.

Kane's review found no evidence that Corbett had slowed the investigation for political reasons.

It took almost three years to investigate and charge Sandusky and eventually three former top Penn State administrators awaiting trial for an alleged cover-up.

Kane of Lackawanna County is the first woman and first Democrat elected as attorney general.

Kane, who took office in January 2013, began an internal review of the emails to determine whether any of the employees allegedly involved still worked in the Attorney General's Office. The results of that internal review aren't known.

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

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