PA House votes to hold DA Krasner in contempt
Krasner did not comply with a subpoena issued to him by a House Committee tasked with investigating his office.
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Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner will be held in contempt of state after his refusal to comply with a subpoena issued to him. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted on Tuesday, Sept. 13 to hold him in contempt for not giving access to documents as the subpoena requested.
“We just voted to hold the district attorney office in contempt and the one thing that could be done is that same person could be held in the Dauphin County Prison or Dauphin County Jail — but that is not the direction we’re taking,” Democratic State Rep. Amen Brown told NBC News Philadelphia on Tuesday.
The vote passed 162-38 and included a number of Democrats going against Krasner, who has been Philadelphia District Attorney since 2018, and is in his first year of his second term after winning last November.
Back in June, three Republican lawmakers announced they were going to begin circulating around a bill of impeachment against Krasner. Republican State Reps. Josh Kail from Washington County, Torren Ecker of Cumberland County and Tim O’Neal, also of Washington County, focused on the rising violence in Philadelphia that has become endemic.
“We did not arrive at this decision lightly or easily. In fact, we are taking this action after we have taken significant steps to pass legislation that addresses violent crime in Philadelphia by ensuring our current laws are enforced — We are starting this process now because the unchecked violent crime in Philadelphia has reached a breaking point due to the willful refusal by District Attorney Krasner to enforce existing laws,” Kail said in June.
The subpoena is a result of an ongoing investigation from the House Committee on Restoring Law and Order, which is focusing on Krasner and his office as well as his handling of the rising gun violence in the city. The committee works with the group of three Republicans in their effort to impeach Krasner.
Krasner went on the attack upon news of the impeachment effort.
“Pennsylvania House Republicans want to distract you from their decades of failed governance that have led to greater economic inequality and the current crisis of gun violence as they have encouraged the flooding of our communities with deadly firearms,” he said.
Krasner went on to call out Republican legislators that attempted to overturn the 2020 election results in the state and Pennsylvania’s decaying state of public education.
"Democracy — and freedom-loving Pennsylvanians will not be fooled by these anti-democratic efforts to de-value Philadelphia’s diverse votes. Philadelphia is not Pennsylvania’s colony. Our votes count in full, not as 3/5ths of a vote. Stay tuned for these and other efforts nationwide of legislators who would hold hands with hate groups to defeat democracy by both violent and non-violent means,” he added. “The coup continues as some Republicans try nationally and locally to overturn more elections they lost badly.”
The DA’s attorney Michael Satin also came out against the subpoena calling the entire vote “undemocratic.” According to Satin, there was a response to the subpoena, asking the judge overseeing it to dismiss it.
"The subpoena issued to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office seeks secret grand jury documents and other privileged documents related to a pending murder case involving a former police officer charged with killing a Black man — It interferes with local, democratic rule; and it violates the separation of powers by interfering with the district attorney’s prosecutorial discretion, among other things,” Satin said.
He also laid a challenge of transparency out for the House Select Committee to follow.
“In the end, if the Select Committee believes that its subpoena is lawful and proper, it should have the courage to present its arguments in court and on the record. That the Select Committee would pursue contempt proceedings before it has addressed the Commonwealth Court proceeding and before that Court has ruled violates its obligation to comply with due process,” said Satin.