Friday, August 12, 2022

Krasner's Eviction Of Reporter Unprecedented & Unconstitutional

Before he evicted me, D.A. hid from Big Trial
By Ralph Cipriano

Larry Kane was flabbergasted.

Kane's  the dean of TV anchors in Philadelphia for nearly 40 years until his retirement in 2003. And he couldn't believe that District Attorney Larry Krasner had actually ordered a couple of police officers to evict me from a press conference.

Kane's now a 79 year-old semi-retired special contributor for KYW News Radio who was preparing some expert commentary on my eviction. During our interview, I briefly turned the tables on the broadcast Hall-of-Famer and asked how he would describe what Krasner did.

"Unprecedented" was the only word Kane could think of. Not even the late Frank Rizzo, Kane said, had ever pulled a stunt like that.

A couple of lawyers I talked to had another word to describe Krasner's eviction of a reporter from a press conference  -- unconstitutional.  

"Krasner is engaging in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination against you," wrote Mark Zecca, a former senior attorney in the city of Philadelphia's Law Department. 

The press conference held Monday at the Emmanuel Christian Center in West Philadelphia, Zecca wrote in an email, was an official government activity where Krasner presided over a "government forum for journalists."

"And [Krasner] made it crystal clear that every single journalist would have an opportunity to ask questions, except you," Zecca wrote in an email. "He made it clear that he was making himself available — to all except you."

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Screaming Totalitarian Inside Progressive Larry Krasner

By Ralph Cipriano

Back in 2000, when he was a ponytailed civil rights lawyer representing protesters at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Larry Krasner claimed to be a champion of the First Amendment.

"The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution strictly protects free speech from preemptive suppression, because the loss of that illegally suppressed speech can never be restored," Krasner wrote in his 2021 book, For The People; A Story of Justice and Power.

In his book, Krasner recounted how upset he was when he heard that a judge who was a former cop was talking openly about a secret government plan to detain protesters until the Republican convention was over.

To make matters worse, Krasner wrote, "the police were giving off signs that they planned to crack down on free speech," which Krasner described as the protesters' "sacred" right. 

But as District Attorney on Monday, Krasner that former champion of the First Amendment, ordered two police officers to preemptively suppress my right to free speech by evicting me under threat of force from a press conference that the D.A. held at the Emmanuel Christian Center in West Philly. 

Why was I evicted? Because three times at that press conference, I tried to ask Krasner a question. 

In behaving like a dictator, Krasner proved David Horowitz's maxim that "Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out."

Monday, August 8, 2022

Krasner Orders Reporter Evicted From Press Conference

Larry Krasner Orders Detective To Evict Reporter
By Ralph Cipriano

At a press conference today, I tried to ask District Attorney Larry Krasner a question.

Actually, I tried to ask him a question three different times. 

The first time I spoke up, Krasner issued a stern warning.

"That is not how we proceed," Krasner admonished me. After four years of presiding over free-for-all press conferences, the D.A. now maintains that reporters no longer have the right to speak up and ask him a question. Instead, the D.A. says, like kindergarteners at show-and-tell, they have to be called on first before they can speak.

And the one reporter Krasner never calls on is me. 

"Anyone who cannot observe those rules can leave and can leave now or be escorted out," the D.A. warned the press corps. 

The second time today that I dared to ask the D.A. a question, Krasner gave me another warning. The next and last time I asked, Krasner hit the eject button.

"Sir, that is the third time," Krasner said, pointing his right index finger toward the exits. "Detective [Tom] Kolenkiewicz, will you please escort him out."

As the dictatorial Krasner  looked on, Detective Kolenkiewicz grabbed my arm. And then the detective and another member of the D.A.'s security team, Police Officer Chad Jeter, plus a third security officer from the church where Krasner was holding his press conference, surrounded me and escorted me out of the building. 

My crime: daring to ask the D.A. a question at a press conference.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Senior Advisor To D.A. Krasner Is Disbarred Lawyer Who Lives In N.J.

By Ralph Cipriano

On May 11, 2020, the Rev. Gregory Holston, a senior advisor on advocacy and policy to District Attorney Larry Krasner, got an email about time cards from the office's head of Human Resources.

In response, Holston, probably by mistake, hit the reply all button.

“Good morning," Holston wrote in an email sent to everyone in the office. "I’m coming up on my six month[s] with the district attorney’s office."

"I live in New Jersey and I’m supposed to move to Philadelphia by July," Holston wrote. "Because of the pandemic, I’ve been unable to search for a new home. Will I have additional time to move to Philadelphia? Rev.”

Yes, rest assured, Rev., you'll have plenty of time to move to Philadelphia. Because more than two years later, the Rev. Holston, who is paid $140,000 annually by D.A. Krasner, still lives in Sicklerville, N.J. in the house he bought back in 2003, in the community where he's registered to vote.

The Philadelphia City Charter requires all employees of the district attorney's office to live in Philadelphia; in the past, city employees have been fired for flouting the residency requirement. But apparently that clause in the city charter doesn't mean much to Rev. Holston, or his boss, D.A. Larry Krasner.

Holston is the second official in upper management in the D.A.'s office to be outed in less than a week by Big Trial for flagrantly flouting the city charter's residency requirement. The first was Nancy Winkelman, the supervisor of the D.A.'s law division, who twice listed on campaign finance reports last year a phony address in West Philadelphia, a rundown rental property with a coffin in front, when Winkelman really lives in a house on a scenic lake in Medford Lakes, N.J.

While Winkelman recently lectured a federal judge that "My integrity, my reputation, my candor, my ethics have never been questioned," the Rev. Holston can't make that same speech. Because like too many employees in D.A. Krasner's office, Holston has skeletons in his closet.

Monday, July 25, 2022

For Third Straight Press Conference, Fearful Krasner Flees Reporter

D.A. Larry Krasner prepares to flee
By Ralph Cipriano

District Attorney Larry Krasner is so used to being coddled by the docile Philadelphia press corps that when somebody asks him a tough question, he literally doesn't know what to do.

Instead, Krasner panics and gets all twitchy. And then he runs and hides.

For the third straight week, Krasner today rearranged the format of his weekly press conference for the sole purpose of preventing Big Trial from asking him any tough questions. 

Instead, Krasner called on by name every other reporter the room, including a shy young intern at one of the local TV stations, so they could take turns lobbing him softballs, in English and Spanish.

And when they were finally done, the D.A. abruptly called off the press conference, turned tail and headed for the exits. He was protected by a couple of bodyguards who physically prevented your Big Trial correspondent from confronting our cowardly D.A. before he hustled out of the room.  

It was a pathetic performance by a public official, matched only by the passivity of the local press corps who collectively are a disgrace to journalism. As I have written previously, while people in this city are being shot, murdered and carjacked at historic levels, the timid local media is protecting Krasner by failing to report the overwhelming and readily available evidence that proves he is a complete failure as D.A.

The conflict-adverse D.A. began today's performance with a fake show of transparency. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

Top Larry Krasner Supervisor Who Said Her Integrity Has Never Been Questioned Falsely Claimed She Lived In The 'Hood'

Winkelman's "residence" features a coffin
By Ralph Cipriano

Nancy Winkelman, supervisor of the law division in Philly D.A. Larry Krasner's office, is a woman of integrity.

Just ask her.

"My professional reputation is extraordinarily important to me," Deputy District Attorney Winkelman told U.S. District Court Judge Mitchell Goldberg during a June 23rd hearing, where the judge had summoned Winkelman to explain what His Honor described as a "lack of candor."

"My integrity, my reputation, my candor, my ethics have never been questioned," Winkelman lectured the judge. "And it's something I take very, very seriously," she said, adding that she was "stunned" to learn that the judge had dared to question her integrity.

But this self-proclaimed woman of integrity, who gets paid $176,171 a year, has a dirty little secret. According to two of D.A. Krasner's campaign finance reports filed last year with the city's Board of Ethics, when Winkelman gave her boss a $1,000 donation on March 18, 2021, and a $500 donation on April 10, 2021, she twice declared that she lives in a rundown rental property featuring one and two-bedroom apartments and a coffin in front at 650 S. 51st Street in West Philadelphia.

Winkelman, who, as an employee of the D.A.'s office since 2018, is required by the city charter to live in Philadelphia. But where she really lives is in a house on a scenic lake in rural Medford Lakes, N.J., that according to Burlington County property records, she has owned since Sept. 21, 2015. It's a house with a new deck, a sunken hot tub, and a Koi pond that has an estimated value of more than $750,000. That's where a recent visitor to her home found her. 

According to New Jersey voting records, Winkelman, who did not respond to requests for comment, is currently registered to vote in the borough of Medford Lakes. A car parked in her driveway has a New Jersey license plate.

It's a cozy set up. Winkelman only shows up at the D.A.'s office twice a week. There, she's a top honcho in Larry Krasner's office where his lenient treatment of criminals has raised the local murder rate from 315 in 2017, when Krasner first got elected, to an all-time record of 562 last year, a 78% increase. [As of yesterday the city has already racked up 306 murders this year, just two percent off last year's record pace.]

But Winkelman, the self-proclaimed woman of integrity, doesn't have to worry about the consequences of running into any of the armed and dangerous criminals that her boss, known as "Let 'Em Loose Larry," routinely lets out of jail.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

State Supreme Court Justice: Larry Krasner 'Abused' Grand Jury Process And 'Slanted' Grand Jury Report To Indict Cop For Murder

By Ralph Cipriano

State Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty today charged Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner with abusing the grand jury process in his crusade to indict former Police Officer Ryan Pownall for murder in a racially charged officer-involved shooting case.

According to what Dougherty wrote in a concurring opinion, the D.A.'s office under Krasner was “driven by a win-at-all-cost office culture” that "treats police officers differently than other criminal defendants."

"This is the antithesis of what the law expects of a prosecutor," Dougherty wrote, adding that under the law, a prosecutor is supposed to be a "minister of justice."

Dougherty's formal admonishment of the D.A.'s office was a double-barreled loss today for Krasner, who is being threatened with impeachment by the state House of Representatives. In a 4-2 majority opinion issued today, the state Supreme Court ruled against the D.A.'s office in a key issue in the Pownall case.

What the Supreme Court did today was to uphold an earlier ruling by the state Superior Court that said the D.A.'s office couldn't seek retroactively rewrite the law about justifiable use of deadly force by a police officer, so that former Officer Pownall could be convicted of murder.

In their unsuccessful appeals, the D.A.'s office was trying to get around a state statute that says a police officer is "justified in using deadly force only when he believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or such other person."

The law goes on to say that the officer must believe "such force is necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape," or if the suspect "has committed or attempted a forcible felony or is attempting to escape and possesses a deadly weapon."

In the opinion of one of the detectives who investigated the Pownall case on behalf of the Philadelphia Police Department, Derrick Jacobs, that's exactly what happened. And that's why Krasner wanted to retroactively change the law so he could hang a police officer. 

But that's not what a "minister of justice" is supposed to be doing.

In his concurring opinion, Justice Dougherty blasted the D.A.'s handling of the Pownall case as full of prosecutorial misconduct. He said that Krasner's office didn't fully inform the grand jury of the relevant  law involving justifiable use of force by a police officer. And that's why the grand jury produced a "slanted" report that Krasner's office subsequently fed to a complicit and uncritical media,  so they would run with Krasner's twisted version of the facts. 

Monday, July 18, 2022

Terrified Larry Krasner Runs And Hides From Reporter

By Ralph Cipriano

At a press conference today, a visibly nervous and fidgety Larry Krasner went out of his way to ignore repeated questions about the sweetheart deal his office gave Derrick Jones, the allegedly deranged killer accused of stalking and  executing three SEPTA riders. 

"And I am going to ask if there are any questions," Krasner said, before throwing his weekly press conference open to reporters.

"However, instead of our usual scrum, and I say that respectfully, I think there are occasions where some journalists who are the most aggressive get most of the attention," Krasner said. "That doesn't seem fair to me."

Anybody who's watched the tame press conferences broadcast online that follow Krasner's weekly Monday morning dog-and-pony shows would have to wonder what scrums the D.A. was talking about. The entire local press corps is better known for its docile passivity when dealing with Krasner.

The D.A.'s press conferences are so dull that one local TV station has taken to just sending a film crew over to record the proceedings without bringing along any reporter who might dare to challenge what our frequently delusional D.A. has to say. 

But that didn't stop the D.A. today from inventing a solution to the non-existent problem of those violent reporters' scrums that exist only in Krasner's imagination. The D.A. proceeded to calm a potential journalistic riot by calling on individual reporters from his right to his left, to see if they had any questions.

 My problem was that I was the last guy to the left of Krasner. And the previous week, he had actually hustled out of a press conference rather than answer any of my questions. So I was determined not to let him get away with ducking me again. 

"I'm just gonna go down the line and see if there are any questions from the journalists who are here," Krasner said.

"What about Derrick Jones?" I interrupted. 

"Excuse me sir," Krasner said. "As I said, we're not gonna have a scrum. We're gonna start over here. Mr. Dean?" he began, before taking several questions from Mensah Dean of The Philadelphia Inquirer.