HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane will not suspend a senior aide who is charged with illegally trying to monitor a criminal investigation into her, her spokesman said Tuesday.
Patrick Reese will remain on the job, the spokesman said, despite an internal policy that requires suspension after an employee has been charged with criminal conduct related to their employment with the state.
Kane's office decided that the allegations against Reese did not rise to the level of a suspension and that office policy never envisioned this kind of situation, spokesman Chuck Ardo said.
"They determined that the policy as written never envisioned an alleged violation such as the one in this case, which involves accessing a computer in violation of the rules," Ardo said.
Montgomery County prosecutors charged Reese with criminal contempt on Aug. 6, the same day they charged Kane with perjury, obstruction and other charges.
Reese is accused of violating a Montgomery County judge's protective order by searching the attorney general's office email archive for information about a court-ordered grand jury probe last year into allegations Kane leaked investigative information to a newspaper.
Reese, 48, pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial Sept. 9.
Reese, who earns about $99,650, had been a supervisory special agent in charge of Kane's security detail and often drove her. Ardo did not immediately know what Reese is currently doing for the office. He was previously the police chief in tiny Dunmore Borough in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, Kane said Tuesday that her office may not fight open-records requests to release more details about pornographic emails discovered on state computers.
Kane has maintained that releasing the information will aid her defense against criminal charges that she leaked investigative information and lied about it, even though her office has contested The Philadelphia Inquirer's Right-to-Know Law request seeking the release of the emails.
Kane's office says it worries that releasing some of the material could be perceived as retaliating against current or former employees of the office who are witnesses against her.
The Commonwealth Court has scheduled a Sept. 16 hearing on Kane's challenge to the Inquirer's request.
Kane says she hopes the state Supreme Court will decide before then what can be released and render requests for the emails moot. If not, she said, her office will ask the Commonwealth Court to make that determination.