Pennsylvania politics have been plagued by a convoluted series of backstabbing and retaliation, most recently concerned with hundreds of inappropriate emails exchanged between two justices, their friends, and their colleagues.
The Associated Press reports that Justice Michael Eakin, 67, has officially resigned, almost two years after Attorney General Kathleen Kane began releasing these emails in retaliation for her being indicted for perjury, among other charges. His colleague, Justice Seamus McCaffery retired after being suspended from the court in 2014.
In December, Eakin argued that the emails, which contained nude photos of women, homophobic jokes, and content that made fun of socio-economic stereotypes and violence against women, did not affect his ability to do his job.
“Perhaps my demeanor is one of the boys,” Eakin said at the time, according to the AP. “But what I sent was to people who were also one of the boys. It was in the locker room. I allowed, I created something that could be released. Shame on me and it won’t happen again.”
Penn Live reports:
Most of the emails on the private account maintained by Eakin under the alias “John Smith” were sent as part of a blast group maintained by Harrisburg attorney Terrance McGowan.
A smaller batch of emails that Eakin forwarded to smaller group of friends was stored on the OAG’s computer servers because one of those buddies was Jeffrey Baxter, a Deputy Attorney General who used to work for Eakin in Cumberland County.
This is a small victory for Attorney General Kathleen Kane who, partially in retaliation for what she views as trumped up charges against her, has made it her mission to bring down the sometimes bigoted old boys’ club of the Pennsylvania criminal justice system, Penn Live points out.
“This is the only process I know of in America where you can be charged with sending emails to friends that were inappropriate and face the death penalty,” said Eakin’s lawyer Bill Costopoulos, noting that the ethics trial regarding the emails, set to begin in two weeks, would not proceed. “I just don’t think that’s right.”
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Image of Michael Eakin via AP.