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(PA) AG Corbett Subpoenas Twitter to Name Bloggers
ABC27 News ^ | 05/20/10 10:55 am | Myles Snyder

Posted on 05/20/2010 12:39:53 PM PDT by pillut48

Harrisburg, Pa. - The state attorney general's office has issued a subpoena threatening officials of the social networking service Twitter with arrest unless they reveal the names of two bloggers who have been critical of Attorney General Tom Corbett and his public corruption investigation.

The subpoena orders Twitter's custodian of records to provide "any and all subscriber information" pertaining to the accounts "bfbarbie" and "CasablancaPA," including name, address, contact information, creation date, and Internet protocol address.

The accounts have criticized Corbett's use of grand juries, suggesting he used the investigations for political gain and to go after political opponents.

The Twitter representative was supposed to appear before the statewide investigating grand jury on May 14 to "give evidence regarding alleged violations of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." The court document does not specify what crime is being investigated.

The subpoena, issued May 6, further states that failure to attend may result in an arrest warrant for contempt of court. It is not clear whether Twitter has turned over the information.

Vic Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union told Pittsburgh's WTAE-TV that the court action "raises grave concerns about abuse of the grand jury process to retaliate against political critics and opponents." He said Americans "have a right to criticize government officials and to do so anonymously."

Corbett, who won the Republican nomination for governor Tuesday night, told the television station that he doesn't have any problem with people criticizing him on Twitter. He refused to discuss the nature of the subpoena, however, stating that the investigation prevents him from discussing the matter.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Constitution/Conservatism; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: corbett; twitter
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Says he's a 'republican'--anyone in the area know what this is about? Going after anonymous bloggers like this is giving me a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach...
1 posted on 05/20/2010 12:39:54 PM PDT by pillut48
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To: pillut48

He’s actually going to be the Republican gubernatorial candidate. Not liking this...


2 posted on 05/20/2010 12:42:07 PM PDT by woweeitsme
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To: pillut48

Free Speech gone in PA?

Hadn’t seen this before, wonder what is next. Maybe no elected official can be criticized.


3 posted on 05/20/2010 12:42:33 PM PDT by K-oneTexas (I'm not a judge and there ain't enough of me to be a jury. (Zell Miller, A National Party No More))
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To: pillut48
The accounts have criticized Corbett's use of grand juries, suggesting he used the investigations for political gain and to go after political opponents.

Mr. Corbett pretty much proved the accuracy of those suggestions by going after the guys criticizing him.

4 posted on 05/20/2010 12:43:24 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law." -- Aristotle)
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To: pillut48

FU Corbett.


5 posted on 05/20/2010 12:43:28 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (JUST VOTE THEM OUT! teapartyexpress.org)
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To: pillut48

He is being accused of Public Corruption.
Big difference than saying he’s a jerk.


6 posted on 05/20/2010 12:44:33 PM PDT by Marty62 (marty60)
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To: woweeitsme
He’s actually going to be the Republican gubernatorial candidate.

He sounds like a statist thug.

7 posted on 05/20/2010 12:44:37 PM PDT by NeoCaveman (we now live in a post-Obamapacolyptic world)
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To: pillut48

Republican, dhimmicrat, same damn thing nowadays.

Big government and alliegence to the NWO.

He claims to be a conservative yet stomps on free speech?


8 posted on 05/20/2010 12:45:53 PM PDT by Sparky21555
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To: pillut48

ping


9 posted on 05/20/2010 12:46:20 PM PDT by maine-iac7
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To: pillut48
Says he's a 'republican'--anyone in the area know what this is about? Going after anonymous bloggers like this is giving me a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach...

He just won the Republican Primary for Governor. The occupation media assassination of him begins. He has been a good AG and is also suing to stop obamacare.
10 posted on 05/20/2010 12:50:51 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the occupation media.)
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To: pillut48

What a dumbass.


11 posted on 05/20/2010 12:51:54 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Everyone needs valid ID except illegal aliens and the President - only in America)
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To: Jim Robinson
"FU Corbett."

Jim. He has been a good AG and is challenging obamacare. This is the beginning of the media assassination because he is popular and could win the Governor position in November.
12 posted on 05/20/2010 12:53:17 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the occupation media.)
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To: PA Engineer

Well, he’d best make himself clear pretty quick. Using government power to go after anonymous critics is not good.


13 posted on 05/20/2010 1:01:08 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (JUST VOTE THEM OUT! teapartyexpress.org)
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To: pillut48
"bfbarbie"'s blog here
14 posted on 05/20/2010 1:01:13 PM PDT by pillut48 ("Calling ILLEGAL aliens "immigrants" is like calling shoplifters 'customers'!"-UCFRoadWarrior ><>)
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To: All
ALCUPA RELEASE: ACLU Representing Anonymous Twitter Critics of PA Attorney General Tom Corbett

Grand Jury Issued Subpoena to Twitter Demanding Users' Identities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 20, 2010

HARRISBURG - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania announced today that it is representing two anonymous Twitter users who have criticized State Attorney General Tom Corbett on a social networking site. Corbett's office asked a grand jury to issue a subpoena earlier this month to Twitter demanding the identities of his critics.

"Any subpoena seeking to unmask the identity of anonymous critics raises the specter of political retaliation," said Witold Walczak, legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania and one of the lawyers representing the Twitter users. "It's a prized American right to criticize government officials, and to do so anonymously."

The subpoena seeks the subscriber information of two Twitter accounts, bfbarbie and CasablancaPA. The subpoena, which asks for records to be turned over by Friday, May 14, was issued by the attorney general's statewide investigating grand jury on May 6.

Twitter has advised the ACLU that they have not disclosed the account holders' identity, after receiving an objection from a user to the production of subscriber information. It is Twitter's policy to delay production in such cases to provide the user an opportunity to assert his or her rights.

A news account earlier today reported that the Attorney General's Office appeared to justify the subpoena by claiming that they needed to know the identities of the Twitter users because they suspected that it was a former legislative aide, Brett Cott, who had been convicted in the Bonusgate case and who was using the blog to "attack and malign the investigative and prosecutorial process, which resulted in his conviction." If true, they argued, this would justify imposing a harsher sentence. The ACLU questions whether seeking evidence in aid of a sentencing proceeding is an appropriate use of the grand jury system.

"The ACLU's concerns are that using the grand jury process in aid of seeking evidence for sentencing is improper and that using the court to unmask political critics is unconstitutional retaliation that violates the First Amendment," said Walczak.

The ACLU's lawyers have entered discussions with the AG's Office, asking them to withdraw the subpoenas. If the AG's Office refuses, the ACLU expects to file a motion to quash the subpoenas.

"For a candidate who is campaigning on his desire to protect the privacy of Pennsylvanians who are affected by the new health care bill, Attorney General Corbett shows a disturbing lack of interest in the privacy of critics who, in the best tradition of American democracy, have chosen to criticize his conduct of office anonymously," said Paul Alan Levy, a lawyer with the Public Citizen Litigation Group, which is working with the ACLU on the matter.

In addition to Walczak and Levy, also representing the anonymous Twitter users are Barbara Zemlock, a lawyer with Post Schell in Harrisburg, and Mark Sheppard, an attorney in the Philadelphia office of Montgomery McCracken, Walker and Rhoads, LLP.

15 posted on 05/20/2010 1:06:44 PM PDT by pillut48 ("Calling ILLEGAL aliens "immigrants" is like calling shoplifters 'customers'!"-UCFRoadWarrior ><>)
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To: Jim Robinson
Well, he’d best make himself clear pretty quick. Using government power to go after anonymous critics is not good.

There is one more thing not related to this. Two years ago a 27 year old perv was stalking our 15 year old daughter. We made the initial report on a Sunday night. AG Corbett had investigators at our house the next afternoon. They were courteous, supportive, helpful and acted within 24 hours.

I agree he needs to get on top of this, but I know we are not getting the real story.
16 posted on 05/20/2010 1:08:31 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the occupation media.)
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To: PA Engineer
Jim. He has been a good AG and is challenging obamacare.

He's also sent a bunch of those corrupt Harrisburg weasels to the iron bar hotel. The old boy, back scratching, envelopes under the table network do not like him at all.

I suspect there is more to this than meets the eye -- like someone in the State Police or AGs office leaking info on his investigations. Official corruption in Harrisburg is nearly 3rd world in it's pervasiveness.

17 posted on 05/20/2010 1:22:20 PM PDT by Ditto
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To: All
A Corbett spokesman said the subpoena was partly related to a Friday sentencing hearing for former Democratic legislative aide Brett Cott. He is one of three people convicted in March of public corruption charges in the ongoing investigation into the alleged illegal use of legislative employees and government resources to run political campaigns.

The grand jury on May 6 subpoenaed the identities and other information about the two users from Twitter Inc. Corbett's office has been using the highly secretive grand jury process for the past several years to look into allegations that government resources and legislative employees have been illegally used to run political campaigns...Attorney general's office spokesman Kevin Harley said the subpoena "has nothing to do with criticisms of the attorney general."

"There are many bloggers and other Web sites that are critical of the attorney general," Harley said. "That's not what this is about."

Grand jury secrecy makes it difficult, if not impossible, to know why the identities of bfbarbie and CasablancaPA are being sought.

But in an interview with the AP last year, Corbett said he was aware of anonymous critics of his investigation, and mentioned Cott by name.

"We know people like Brett Cott are on the blogs all day, making stuff up," Corbett said.

Cott was an aide to former Rep. Mike Veon, D-Beaver, who also was convicted of multiple counts. Veon's sentencing is scheduled for next month.

Source: AP: ACLU helping guard Twitter posters' IDs in Pa. (MARK SCOLFORO)
*****************************
Uh, oh. This is going to be a HUGE public relations nightmare for Corbett!! That quote is going to come back and haunt him.
18 posted on 05/20/2010 1:22:45 PM PDT by pillut48 ("Calling ILLEGAL aliens "immigrants" is like calling shoplifters 'customers'!"-UCFRoadWarrior ><>)
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To: Ditto
He's also sent a bunch of those corrupt Harrisburg weasels to the iron bar hotel. The old boy, back scratching, envelopes under the table network do not like him at all.

He has made many enemies by enforcing the law. The Rat and Union corruption is unbelievable in PA.
19 posted on 05/20/2010 1:28:05 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the occupation media.)
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To: PA Engineer

Democrat Harry Truman beat the man who busted up both Tammany Hall and the NY Mob — Republican Manhattan District Attorney Thomas Dewey.


20 posted on 05/20/2010 1:32:44 PM PDT by bvw
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To: NeoCaveman
Corbett said he was running because it was "the next step". He also stated in speeches delivered in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, on the same day several weeks prior to the election, that he considers the Constitution to be a LIVING document.

If you live in PA don't throw away your Sam Rohrer signs, he could be the default candidate in November.

I know the Machine would never allow that but I can dream....

21 posted on 05/20/2010 1:34:18 PM PDT by codder too
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To: Ditto
Correct. People need to cut Tom Corbett a little slack, at least until the whole story gets out. Veon almost skated because his crooked little thugs leaked information which was supposed to be confidential until the Grand Jury completed their investigation. The timing is as suspicious as hell . . .

Bottom line is that I have real doubts that Corbett is going after political speech here. He's never struck me as being that thin-skinned.

22 posted on 05/20/2010 1:34:23 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Vigilanteman; Jim Robinson

Hope your right, but Jim is absolutely correct, he needs to jump on this and get the story straight and into the public view or he’s dead meat.


23 posted on 05/20/2010 1:55:29 PM PDT by Sudetenland (Slow to anger but terrible in vengence...such is the character of the American people.)
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To: Ditto
I suspect there is more to this than meets the eye -- like someone in the State Police or AGs office leaking info on his investigations. Official corruption in Harrisburg is nearly 3rd world in it's pervasiveness.


24 posted on 05/20/2010 2:03:25 PM PDT by GalaxieFiveHundred
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To: Jim Robinson
Subpoena seeks IDs for two Twitter accounts Negative comments about Corbett, Bonusgate probed

Thursday, May 20, 2010

By Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pennsylvania attorney general issued a subpoena to Twitter earlier this month seeking the identities of two account holders who have repeatedly posted negative comments about Tom Corbett and his Bonusgate investigation.

[snip]

Ferrari would not comment on who runs the CasablancaPA blog or if they have any relationship to any of the Bonusgate defendants.

However, in a sentencing memorandum filed against former legislative aide Brett Cott in Dauphin County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, Senior Deputy Attorney Generals Frank Fina and Patrick Blessington attributed the blog to Mr. Cott.

"Defendant has extensively and anonymously utilized a blog titled 'CasablancaPA: Exposing the hypocrisy of Tom Corbett' to defect blame and deny responsibility for his criminal conduct and to attack and malign the investigative and prosecutorial process, which resulted in his conviction," they wrote.

In an e-mail, Mr. Cott declined to comment.

"Tom Corbett is completely and without a doubt using the grand jury process in a way that is completely and without question, inappropriate," said Bryan S. Walk, Mr. Cott's attorney. "There is nothing to uncover that could be remotely connected to any criminal investigation. The timing of the subpoena smacks of attempts to intimidate him and enhance his sentence."

He would not comment on whether his client is associated with CasablancaPA.

A jury last month found Mr. Cott guilty of theft of service, conflict of interest and conspiracy to commit conflict of interest.

The prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 18 to 44 months -- much higher than the standard -- for Mr. Cott who was found guilty of three felonies in the Bonusgate corruption scandal. They cited a history of "dishonorable and deceptive behavior," and called Mr. Cott "a remorseless, defiant repeat offender who is apparently incapable of contrition."

He will be the first of three co-defendants to be sentenced in the case, which centers around the use of $1.8 million in public funds to provide bonuses to state employees who worked on campaigns.

25 posted on 05/20/2010 2:05:14 PM PDT by dirtboy
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To: pillut48

Here’s the Twitter accts in question: http://twitter.com/bfbarbie
http://twitter.com/casablancapa


26 posted on 05/20/2010 2:08:04 PM PDT by PghBaldy (Like the Ft Hood Killer, James Earl Ray was just stressed when he killed MLK Jr.)
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To: PA Engineer

That’s called “doing his job”.

He doesn’t get to put his boot on my neck because his employees were professional.


27 posted on 05/20/2010 2:08:17 PM PDT by dockkiller (COME AND TAKE IT.)
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To: pillut48

They are not investigating a crime, they are using the state to enforce a personal vendetta.

With Obama and Elena Kagan running around, we should all know that free political speech will not be free much longer.


28 posted on 05/20/2010 2:09:36 PM PDT by GeronL (Political Correctness Kills)
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To: PA Engineer
Jim. He has been a good AG and is challenging obamacare

So that makes it ok for him to trample on our Consitutional rights?

29 posted on 05/20/2010 2:13:48 PM PDT by Jean S
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To: Jean S

I would wait on this - the timing of this in the press reeks, given Corbett just won the GOP nomination for Gov a couple of days ago, and a local Daily News blogger known to be a Dem talking points shill is all over it as well. This is tied up in Bonusgate, an investigation into official corruption in Harrisburg - so let’s give this a few days to see what goes down. If there is no ‘there’ there, then yes, let’s rip ‘im. But the bloggers in question are not being forthcoming either.


30 posted on 05/20/2010 2:17:24 PM PDT by dirtboy
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To: pillut48

This should be a little clearer if you read between the lines:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jl5hlHw3foVWVBKAXL5SV984z9AwD9FQPMKO2


31 posted on 05/20/2010 2:17:37 PM PDT by francky (Pro Life!)
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To: dirtboy

After reading that blog Corbett doesn’t look too good.


32 posted on 05/20/2010 2:18:29 PM PDT by GeronL (Political Correctness Kills)
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To: GeronL
Don't you think that's possibly the idea here? Corbett just won the GOP nomination for governor, and this comes out in screaming headlines two days later? Bonusgate has been going on for some time.

If he truly is abusing power, then he deserves to get a spanking. But let's wait to get the entire story first.

33 posted on 05/20/2010 2:22:08 PM PDT by dirtboy
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To: pillut48

Bad move.


34 posted on 05/20/2010 2:22:52 PM PDT by darkangel82 (I don't have a superiority complex, I'm just better than you.)
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To: GeronL

We also don’t know if the bloggers actually revealed grand jury testimony, there could be underlying potential criminal activity with this.


35 posted on 05/20/2010 2:24:05 PM PDT by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy

They are out to destroy Corbett. The Post Gazette is decidedly liberal. Right now, I am giving Corbett the benefit of the doubt. Gut feeling is there is way more to the story than we are aware of and because legal proceedings are still going on, Corbett cannot really defend himself without divulging facts in the case.
Until proven otherwise, I say Corbett is, and has been, a straight shooter...a rare breed.


36 posted on 05/20/2010 2:29:32 PM PDT by MestaMachine (De inimico non loquaris sed cogites- Don't wish ill for your enemy; plan it)
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To: Jean S

Did you read any of the other background information posts?


37 posted on 05/20/2010 2:29:40 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the occupation media.)
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To: dockkiller

Did you read any of the other background posts newbie?


38 posted on 05/20/2010 2:30:31 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the occupation media.)
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To: dirtboy

Are you implying that this is a set-up by the left? That never happens, they always play fair.


39 posted on 05/20/2010 2:36:54 PM PDT by Jean S
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To: Jean S

Perish the thought...


40 posted on 05/20/2010 2:40:27 PM PDT by dirtboy
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To: pillut48
The state attorney general's office has issued a subpoena threatening officials of the social networking service Twitter with arrest unless they reveal the names of two bloggers who have been critical of Attorney General Tom Corbett and his public corruption investigation. The subpoena orders Twitter's custodian of records to provide "any and all subscriber information" pertaining to the accounts "bfbarbie" and "CasablancaPA," including name, address, contact information, creation date, and Internet protocol address.

Papers please

41 posted on 05/20/2010 2:43:28 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Throw the bums out in 2010.)
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To: francky
ACLU helping guard Twitter posters' IDs in PA

The ACLU doesn't represent good, decent, law-abiding folks, so there's likely much more than meets the eye here.


42 posted on 05/20/2010 2:46:32 PM PDT by GalaxieFiveHundred
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To: PA Engineer

An interesting theory I’ve read is that the subpeona calls for the records to be produced at the sentencing for Cott tomorrow. The AG’s office knows that Cott is the blogger but in court you need proof so they need the confirmation from Twitter. If nothing else it will help keep Cott from saying how remorseful he is when he begs for leiniency.


43 posted on 05/20/2010 2:47:17 PM PDT by dirtboy
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To: pillut48
"Any subpoena seeking to unmask the identity of anonymous critics raises the specter of political retaliation," said Witold Walczak, legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania and one of the lawyers representing the Twitter users. "It's a prized American right to criticize government officials, and to do so anonymously."

Slander, libel, false witness (perjury), treason, and inciting a riot are all examples of speech that is NOT protected by the first amendment. Rush Limbaugh was smeared with phony wikiquotes that cost him the right to bid on a football franchise.

44 posted on 05/20/2010 2:48:05 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Throw the bums out in 2010.)
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To: K-oneTexas
Free Speech gone in PA?

No. Anyone can say anything. Make comments about an investigation into corruption or any other crime which suggests you might be involved in either and yeah, you might be called to tell what you know to a Grand Jury.

Hadn’t seen this before, wonder what is next. Maybe no elected official can be criticized.

Suppose Holder was going after Muslim radicals. Suppose someone, perhaps someone connected to CAIR, started mouthing off about the investigation. The state has no right to call those who are obviously intent on derailing the investigation before a Grand Jury and get them under oath?

The Soviet Union stayed up as long as it did because this "free speech...a witchhunt to silence us" schtick was used.

If I were commenting on an investigation and I got called to testify, I would be eager to do so.

45 posted on 05/20/2010 2:50:08 PM PDT by Brugmansian
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To: pillut48

So he’s going after corrupt elected officials and their cronies, these scumbags decide to use twitter to post some stuff and now he wants to subpoena twitter records to get their identities.

There would only be ONE reason for doing this:

someone working for him is leaking grand jury testimony/evidence through twitter... which would be totally against the law.

From what I understand, the only people barred from sharing grand jury information are the prosecutors. Others are encouraged not to disclose what happened, but it isn’t against the law if they do.


46 posted on 05/20/2010 2:50:24 PM PDT by NotSoModerate
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To: dirtboy

Absolutely. They are very afraid if he becomes Governor. I bet he will do a Chris Christie on the Unions. That is the financial center of Rat power in PA.


47 posted on 05/20/2010 2:58:15 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the occupation media.)
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To: Brugmansian

If I’m commenting on an investigation and privy to it ... I could see this action.

Now if I am saying things only the investigators know ... then I expect to get my butt hauled in.

If I am spouting off my opinion ... then no.

These comments on the Internet should be sufficient for the AG or PD to know they are uninformed talkers or a person of interest.

You don’t play this card just because you have the power to do it! That’s all I am saying.

Holder is an idiot and a half-wit, as well as a party operative. Him I could expect this from just because of that. Is the PA AG the same. I don’t know.

Facts presented are really slim to none.


48 posted on 05/20/2010 3:00:36 PM PDT by K-oneTexas (I'm not a judge and there ain't enough of me to be a jury. (Zell Miller, A National Party No More))
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To: K-oneTexas

I don’t see being called to testify before a Grand Jury as punishment. I see answering the subpoena as a civic duty.

Right now, no one knows what testimony has been heard, what evidence gathered. Its all sealed. So...there is no basis to claim this is inappropriate; if he’s doing it just to harass.

It is possible, you know, these people are on the payroll of or somehow related to those under investigation for crimes.


49 posted on 05/20/2010 3:06:52 PM PDT by Brugmansian
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To: pillut48

“The court document does not specify what crime is being investigated. “

The author tells us that the AG is going after a couple people who said bad things about him, and people fall right into their trap of assuming that saying bad things about him is the reason he is after them.

The author could have said he was going after a couple people who breathe air, which would be true. But would that mean he’s got a thing for people who breathe, or would it just be two facts presented in a way to convey what the author wanted to convey?


50 posted on 05/20/2010 3:11:05 PM PDT by Darth Reardon (Im running for the US Senate for a simple reason, I want to win a Nobel Peace Prize - Rubio)
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