Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett Issues Subpoenas To Strip Anonymity From Critics

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has subpoenas to learn the identity of two critics on Twitter who chastised Corbett for his “Bonusgate” investigation of legislative corruption. The tweets objected to Corbett’s handling of the trials of 25 former and current state lawmakers charged with using taxpayer dollars for campaign purposes.

One critic identified himself as Signor Ferrari, a Casablanca character, at CasablancaPA, asking “Is it wrong to mix campaign work with taxpayer business? Apparently not when Tom Corbett does it.” The prosecutors insist that Signor Ferrari is really Brett Cott, a former legislative aide who was convicted on charges of theft of service, conflict of interest and conspiracy to commit conflict of interest. Corbett wants to show that Cott is using a pseudonym to “deny responsibility for his criminal conduct and to attack and malign the investigative and prosecutorial process.”

That does not seem a particularly compelling basis to seek to strip anonymity from critics of the government. There is a distinct lack of judgment exercised in this matter and a reasonable basis to object that Corbett (and his staff) are motivated out of personal anger as opposed to prosecutorial interests. The Supreme Court recognized the importance of anonymity in our democratic society, particularly in the criticism of our government. Here is an earlier law review article on the subject: Turley on Anonymity

Even judges at times rely on such anonymity, here. Law professors have also objected to such intrusion, here. Anonymity on the Internet is under attack, particularly in civil litigation, here and here.

For the full story, click here.
Kudos: ABA Journal.

15 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett Issues Subpoenas To Strip Anonymity From Critics”

  1. I actually checked and there is a case filed with this number and name..

  2. Dear Mr. Turley,

    I have a scandal of National significance for Mr. Turley, which is primarily a Democrate scandal, and a Republican scandal of Pa. State significance, and which involves Tom Corbett’s office, which has helped cause our family to be tortured and has subsequently covered-up their misconduct and the miscoundcut of others.

    Please access the Paul and Virginia Soentgen Vanilla Sky Photo Arry presentation that Mr. Turley may see that the interracial Soentgen family is a legitimate family with a legitimate story.

    Our Photo Array accessed via:

    Paul and Virginia Soentgen would like to send Mr. Turley our
    e-mail press release, so please e-mail Paul and
    Virginia Soentgen at Mr. Turley’s e-mail address that Mr. Turley may recieve this extraordinary e-mail press release, that indicts Bill and Hiillary Clinton’s practised woman destroyer David Kendall and William T. Coleman, III, (Bill Clintons Yale Law School roomate and Don’t Ask Don’t tell Army General counsel) conspiring together in an actual
    hi-tech Lynching of an innocent Black woman, my wife
    Virginia Soentgen, this story is stranger than fiction.

    Mr. Turley, our story is also a fantastic courtcase whodunnit, and we have caught everyone. And our case is currently at the Supreme Court of the United States, docketed as No. 10-5528.

    We will never give up fighting!

    Paul Sooentgen’s phone # (610)-703-9556.

  3. John

    Good point and good luck.

    Seems to me the only thing to do to threaten cops these days is defund their departments. Then they might learn some respect and work for the citizens, not against them.

    Absolute power and all that.

    Cops seem to want to pretend that absolute power doesn’t corrupt them. Whatever the procedure or rules that allowed this man or whomever to be alone with the girl or girls so as to molest them, or allegedly molest them, ought to be determined and eliminated.

    I don’t think any male cops ought to be allowed to be with a lone female civilian if she is captive. It just ought to be illegal. Bring in the maid, anyone female, but don’t allow females to be alone with the men.

    This is problem too down on the border with captive female border crossers. Only an idiot would think they are safe alone with male border patrol officers.

    It’s a recipe for disaster.

  4. Too bad the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) isn’t as far reaching with public officials.

    I am still waiting on an appeal for FBI records concerning the “investigation” of Sheriff Tim Swanson and his jail’s handing of the Hope Steffey case. (And the other 5 women claiming abuses.)
    (Plus the three teen girls that he “investigated” because they were strip searched on a “tour” of the facility.) ((BTW these teen girls were convicted of nothing, and were originally charged with trespass on a public sidewalk. Which was dropped if they went on the tour & didn’t miss school.))

    So far the FBI has stripped out ANY information that would make the cops look bad. And they cite ‘privacy’ as the reason.

    I have appealed the decision and asked how blocking the report of Steffey’s cousin yelling to get a video camera, because the cop is “beating the $hit out of her” would be a ‘private’ matter.
    (I used that as one example.)

    And yet public office holders expect to get any information that they want, while we can’t get squat on them.

  5. Corbett can’t hold a candle to Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his police force. These ate the cops that are going to uphold the law and not engage in profiling. I have read many of these charges previously but this vid. is the most in-depth story about Arpaio’s penchant for political retaliation and police-state tactics I have seen so far:

  6. I have an interest in keeping it this way as well: How else can the whistle blowers to business without fear of retaliation.

    Anonymously Yours

  7. smallguv: Oh cripes, congress is investigating Facebook now? LOL, I just cannot keep up with it all.

  8. What happens if you call Corbett a vengeful little cry baby?

    By the way, I’m happy to tell him who I am.

  9. Tootie,
    You forgot our current legislative body’s current hearing into how facebook, where membership is voluntary, does business.

  10. Goverment officials who don’t like anonymous writings:

    Kim Jong-IL
    King George III (pronounced King George “the turd”)
    Attorney General Tom Corbett

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