The Senate Thursday announced it is returning to session Tuesday to confirm Bruce Beemer as Attorney General, replacing Acting Attorney General Bruce Castor. The Senate held a brief non-voting session day August 23 to accept Beemer’s nomination from Gov. Wolf.
At about the same time, Acting Attorney General Bruce Castor sent an email to the 800 employees in the Office of Attorney General saying he is now reviewing the porn email report prepared by Douglas Gansler of the Maryland law firm Buckley Sandler, according to the Associated Press.
On Friday, the Fraternal Order Of Police, which represents investigators in the Office of Attorney General, filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court seeking to block Castor’s release of the porn email report, according to Philly.com.
Later on Friday, PennLive.com reported Castor said he would delay release of the porn report indefinitely or until his Office could develop a procedure that allows those listed in the report more information on which to respond.
In an email to Office of Attorney General employees Friday, Castor said, “The notice many of you received from Buckley Sandler sets a deadline of 10 a.m. Monday, August 29, 2016 to respond to the fact that your name would either be listed in a report or in an appendix. The notice does not give you any indication of what content was allegedly inappropriate. In keeping with past office practice, and in my own judgment, OAG should not require responses from people until those same people have had an opportunity to see what they are responding to: a simple matter of fairness.
“Thus, while I remain Attorney General, I will not be approving the release of any part of the report until we can devise a procedure that, at the very least, allows for informed responses. Therefore, the response deadline of August 29th at 10am as set by General Gansler is extended indefinitely pursuant to my authority as the current Attorney General.
“Yesterday, I asked you to remain calm and not be anxious. I do so again. The report was not released in May because I was unhappy with it. It was not released in July because I was unhappy with it. There were zero “leaks” in all that time because I had the only copies. So please trust me now when I assure you that I am acutely aware of the damage this information could do, however unwarranted, to many of your reputations. I am proceeding with extreme caution during my few remaining days with this agency, and the men and women that are part of it that I have come to admire and respect.”
Castor told employees in an email Thursday they should have been notified if their names were included in the report. The note then went on to say, according to Philly.com, “Please don’t be anxious. I am conferring with senior staff on how to proceed.”
PennLive.com printed what it said was the Castor’s entire Thursday email--
"I have learned that some of you received emails notifying you that your names may be included in the Buckley Sandler Report. I want to reassure you that the report and all attachments are now with me for review, and cannot be released without my approval. I am reminding General Gansler of that today.
"When there is more to report, I will let you know. Please don't be anxious. I am conferring with Senior Staff on how to proceed."
PennLive.com quoted Castor later Thursday as saying: "I'm not going to make a decision that affects a lot of people's lives and their family's lives without thinking it through. When I'm confident I am making the right call I will make it," he added, "and not until then."
The Tribune Review reported Thursday the porn email report would name only those individuals who had sent 50 or more offensive emails in the Attorney General’s Office, other law enforcement offices and other agencies.
PennLive.com reported Friday the report is said to name 38 persons as "high-volume" senders who sent or forwarded more than 50 offensive emails to others, plus "several hundred" staffers who will be listed in an appendix as having sent less than 50.
Philly.com Thursday reported the notice to employees and others named in the report gave them until Monday (August 29) to contest their naming, even though the notice did not indicate which of their emails were included in the report.
Gansler was hired by convicted former Attorney General Kathleen Kane to review the offensive emails and prepare a report.
Just 9 days ago (counting the weekend), Castor told a press conference the Buckley Sandler report was in very poor shape; one draft even gave his computer a virus. He also said he had very little success in getting Gansler’s law firm to do anything he wanted them to do.
Apparently that changed.