Friday, September 30, 2022

Amateur Hour At The Krasner Impeachment Hearings

By Ralph Cipriano

The curtain is about to go up on day two of the Larry Krasner impeachment hearings.

And already it's a total failure.

Sifting through the testimony of the half-dozen witnesses who appeared at yesterday's hearing, one thing is clear -- not one of them laid a glove on Krasner.

Of the five relatives of crime victims who testified, only one of whom was a live witness, not one gave any evidence of any malfeasance by Krasner. Or even any evidence of any direct interaction with him, where they could have at least complained that Larry was mean to them.

The relatives of crime victims who testified, four of whom appeared on video, complained more about the cops than they did about Krasner. The testimonies were unfocused and rambling. The fact that these were video presentations that could have been edited for clarity proves that whomever was responsible for putting those videos together had no idea what they were doing.

A similar criticism could be leveled at the members of the house select committee who have presided over this disaster. If they think they're going to impeach Krasner with the weak sauce they've served up to date, they're as delusional as he is. 

Memo to D.A. Krasner -- take a day off, bud. And don't spend any more of your political allies' money on paying demonstrators to show up down here in the Navy Yard to stage "spontaneous" protests while dressed up like circus animals. 

Because thanks to the ineptitude of your political opponents, you've got nothing to worry about.

If I was running these hearings, my first two witnesses would have been a couple of show stoppers.

I would have led off with Linda Schellenger, whose son, Sean Schellenger, was stabbed to death by Michael White, a guy that Krasner conspired with defense lawyers to help him beat the rap.

Schellenger would have told how, after her son was murdered in cold blood outside Rittenhouse Square, she called Larry Krasner for five straight days, trying to talk to him. And for five straight days, the D.A. wouldn't return any of her calls.

While Schellenger could relate how Krasner didn't give her the time of day, she could have been asked about the more than three hours that Krasner spent huddling behind closed doors conspiring with Michael White and his defense lawyers, so White could walk out of court a free man.

How did that make you feel, Mrs. Schellenger?

Schellenger could have also explained how, on the Friday before the trial of her son's murderer was to begin, Krasner finally called her to tell her that he was dropping the lead charge, of third-degree murder. So that Michael White would have a better chance of getting acquitted of voluntary manslaughter, which is harder to prove in court than third-degree murder.

When Linda Schellenger protested that Krasner should let the jury decide whether White committed murder or not, the D.A. exploded. 

"He literally yelled at me on the phone," Linda Schellenger said. He admonished her for "questioning his authority and his intellect," she said, before telling her, "This is my decision."

My second witness would have been Lisa Hart Newman. She's the daughter of a couple of crime victims. When U.S. District Court Judge Mitchell Goldberg recently sanctioned the D.A.'s office for repeatedly lying to him, the judge ordered Krasner to write a personal letter of apology to Lisa Hart Newman.

Why? When Hart Newman was just seven months old, she was in the house the day Robert Wharton and a co-defendant brutally strangled and drowned her parents. After the murders, Wharton and his co-defendant ransacked the house, stole Hart Newman's crib, and turned off the heat in the dead of winter, leaving the infant alone to either starve to death, or freeze to death, whichever came first. 

But she miraculously survived when her grandfather the minister showed up at the door and rushed the dehydrated, starving infant to the hospital. 

Wharton was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Krasner entered the case four decades later to try and get Wharton off death row. To pull that off, Krasner's D.A.'s office had to falsely claim to the judge that Wharton had supposedly rehabilitated himself in prison.

To float that fraudulent argument, the D.A.'s office  had to purposely try and hide from the judge the details about Wharton's attempted escape from a courtroom, only to be stopped when a sheriff's deputy shot him outside City Hall.

The D.A.'s office also had to lie to the judge by falsely claiming they had informed Hart Newman and three of her relatives about Krasner's plan to get the brutal killer of her parents off death row. 

And the D.A.'s office also had to falsely claim to the judge that Hart Newman and three of her remaining relatives had no objection to springing Wharton off death row.

Schellenger and Hart-Newman would have been two witnesses who could have provided first-person accounts about their experiences with Krasner. They could have talked about his unethical actions, and his complete disdain for crime victims and their families.

Instead, the house select committee took a half-dozen shots at Krasner yesterday. Five shots came from relatives of crime victims, and the sixth shot was from a rather dull law professor.

 And every time, the house select committee fired, they completely missed the target.

10:00 a.m.

John Lawrence is the rather pompous Republican state representative from Chester and Lancaster counties who chairs the house select committee. He opened today's hearing by criticizing Krasner's allies for staging "literally a circus" outside the building yesterday that featured people dressed up as elephants and zebras, and some guy walking on stilts. 

Lawerence is saying how serious the committee's mission is, and how disrespectful it was for Krasner's allies to stage a circus while relatives of crime victims were tearfully testifying about their own personal tragedies. 

My take is that Lawrence is being disrespectful to thousands of crime victims in Philadelphia by not taking his duties seriously, and bungling the job of impeaching Let 'Em Loose Larry.

Today's first witness is Greg Rowe, executive director of the Pennsylvania District Attorney Association. 

Rowe is explaining how, out of 67 counties in Pennsylvania, only one county, Philadelphia, isn't a member of his association. That's because one of Krasner's first acts after he took office in 2018 was to drop out of the D.A.'s Association, Rowe says.

Why? Because Krasner felt the D.A.'s Association was too punitive, Rowe said, and relied too much on incarceration as a deterrent to crime. 

Imagine that, putting people in jail for committing crimes. It's not something that Larry Krasner believes in. And that's why for the past two years the residents of Philadelphia are being shot, carjacked and murdered at historic rates.

Rowe is now explaining all the training courses that his association sponsors. These are training sessions that could have helped educate the poorly-trained and inexperienced rookie prosecutors in Larry Krasner's office so that maybe they could win a few cases.

Rowe's testimony appears to paint Larry Krasner as not a team player. But we already knew that.

Now Rep. Amen Brown is asking Rowe some theoretical questions about bail. He's followed by Rep. Wendi Thomas, who asks Rowe to define what an ADA's job is.

In terms of impeachment, we're going nowhere again.

Thomas is asking Rowe about whether it's kosher for a D.A. to selectively enforce only the laws that he agrees with, and ignore the laws that he doesn't agree with.

Prosecutors in Pennsylvania, Rowe replies, have broad discretion to "utilize the laws as they see fit as long as they do it in a way that seeks justice."

Now there's an opening you could drive a truck through. 

Somewhere, Larry Krasner is smiling.

I'm tempted to go outside and visit the circus sponsored by Krasner's allies, to see how the elephant and zebra and the guy on stilts are doing.

It's got to be more interesting than this.

Before today's hearing began, I did get a chance to talk to some of the organizers of the circus protest. And they all insisted that they're not getting paid.

Yeah, right. They're just concerned citizens who gave up a day at work to come down to the Navy Yard and dress up as circus animals because they love Larry Krasner, and think he's doing a great job as D.A.

Now state Rep. Ecker is asking Rowe about published reports of an alleged lack of training for young prosecutors in the D.A.'s office.

Rowe hasn't heard much about that.

How about subpoenaing some young prosecutors who went to work for Larry and quit in frustration because they got no training and were overworked?

Now that might have been some effective witness testimony. An insider's view of the revolution that Krasner is staging that's a complete failure because his prosecutors have no idea how to be prosecutors.

And that's by design, because of a D.A. named Krasner, a career criminal defense lawyer who hates prosecutors almost as much as he hates cops.

Instead, we continue with a theoretical discussion with a witness who's not going to help anybody impeach Larry Krasner.

11:10 a.m.

State Rep. Lawerence, the chairman of the committee, is asking Rowe about the wisdom of Krasner dismissing his most senior prosecutors. And Krasner's subsequent decision to replace them with a bunch of kids fresh out of law school. 

But Krasner didn't even bother to make available to his rookie prosecutors the training courses offered to young prosecutors in every other county in the state sponsored by Rowe's D.A. association.

If you do all that, Lawerence asks, like Krasner did, aren't you increasing the odds that some rookie prosecutor will screw up a case by making a procedural error?

Yes, Rowe says.

On my blog for the past five years, I've written about many first-hand examples of how Krasner's rookie prosecutors have screwed up cases. And the result was criminals subsequently getting off, to go out and commit more crimes, such as murder.

But no sense presenting any specific testimony. Let's just keep the discussion theoretical. That'll get us somewhere.

Now the rank amateurs on the house select committee are taking a five minute break.

And somewhere in Philadelphia, Larry Krasner is laughing.

11:28 a.m.

Today's last witness is Mark Bergstrom, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission On Sentencing. The commission did a study on sentences across the state for gun crimes handed out during the years of 2015 to 2020.

The report was a real snore, a mass of data that was long on stats and short on explanations. And Bergstrom is lulling the crowd to sleep today as he explains the finer points of VUFA,  or violations of the Uniform Firearms Act.

Bergstrom is explaining that gun cases in Philadelphia are dismissed or withdrawn at a higher rate, 17%, as opposed to the state-wide average for dismissed or withdrawn cases, which is 12%.

That's hardly a surprise considering that of all the criminal cases filed by the D.A.'s office last year, some two-thirds were either dismissed or withdrawn.

Bergstrom's got plenty of charts and graphs up on a display screen. But my problem is I'm losing consciousness as he drones on about numbers of cases and all the percentages and the excitement of reading non-pending VUFA cases.

More dull testimony that takes us nowhere. 

12:02 p.m.

Guilty pleas in Philadelphia gun cases have dropped from 88% in 2015 to 66% in 2020, Bergstrom says. It's a steeper drop than in the rest of the state.

More evidence that Larry Krasner's prosecutors don't know what they're doing. 

The rate of repeat offenders of gun crimes in Philadelphia is at 33%, as opposed to a state average of 20%, Bergstrom is saying. 

Meanwhile, from 2015 to 2020, the number of gun cases dismissed, withdrawn or nolle prossed [not prosecuted] in Philadelphia, has tripled, from 7% to 21%.

State Rep. Lawerence is asking Bergstrom why there was such an increase.

"I don't know," he says. "The question is, why is that happening."

The answer is Larry Krasner. But this witness isn't going to make that connection.

Larwrence, however, tells the committee that he believes the Bergstrom testimony was great stuff. And so he tells Bergstrom how much he appreciated his "robust data."

12:35 p.m.

Rep. Lawrence announces that the committee is adjourned for the day and he and his colleagues bolt the room without talking to the media, as they did the previous day.

I chase the chairman down the hall to a luncheon table reserved for state legislators, where Lawrence is grabbing a sandwich.

I ask him if he's going to answer any questions from the press.

"Right now, I'm gonna eat my lunch," replies Rep. Lawrence, ostensibly the mastermind behind the house select committee's total failure here.

 What about talking after lunch, I ask. But the chairman frowns and looks disinterested.

I want to ask Lawrence if he thinks the pathetic job his committee did over the past two days is really going to convince anybody in the state that Larry Krasner should be impeached?

My sense is that the chairman has no clue about what a disaster these hearings have been. Or maybe he just doesn't care. Maybe he's just running some kind of political operation that might enrich GOP coffers with campaign donations.

Krasner does make a great GOP boogeyman. 

But instead of talking,  Lawrence is giving me the treatment that Larry Krasner used to do.

"I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave," he says, while clutching his sandwich.

Yep, it appears I'm right. This guy doesn't have a clue. And neither does most of the other members of his committee, as well as the Pittsburgh law firm they hired to investigate Krasner.

They all deserve blame for what's been a total failure.

Only Rep. Amen Brown, one of two Democrats on the panel, spoke with any passion about the historic bloodshed that's going on in Philadelphia in the black community, and a first-hand account of what it was like to be shot at 14, and spend time in jail.

The hearings are over, and somewhere north of us in Philadelphia, Larry Krasner is laughing.


He may have provided the band and the circus animals to perform outside the hearings. But inside, it was the Republicans in the state legislature who provided the clowns to run those hearings.

A bunch of clowns who had no freaking idea what they were doing.


  1. Lol - nice try boot lickers! Krasner 4 Life!

    1. This is only part of the evidence. This presentation on VUFA is very Damning.

    2. Lol - what a troll. Supporting the betterment of your city is boot licking, but sucking on Larry's taint with that comment isn't?

    3. Who's the bootlicker here?

    4. Those testifying target the police. So, I guess Police Chief Pretty Feet and Hands and Mayor "Side Jobs Riches In Council" are to blame. It's a start. Let's start there.

  2. This is gross. There should be a line of people who have been aggrieved by Krasner waiting to testify. No one but a few groups cast any shade or publicity on these hearings. This is a sin.

    1. Most victims are Black, and live in Jim Kenney's city of death, despair, and hopelessness. They're too depressed and traumatized to organize or coordinate, so we get fake paid protester puppets who dance when Krasner's rich, powerful benefactors pay and tell them to

  3. Thanks, Ralph. It makes you wonder who planned this. Why... it's almost as though Soros had a hand in picking who planned this extravaganza.

  4. Ralph, a more eye opening Criminal Proceeding rather than the Clown Show that You invested Time and Energy. between the IRS and Senator Fumo is scheduled to commence after a prolonged delay on Monday.

    That will be a major Political Trial and hopefully Your Reporting will counterbalance the Prejudice of the Inquirer and PhillyMag.

    Is Ozzie Myers on the Witness List?

    He stole Vince's Line, "... money talks and bullshit walks."

    He could certainly provide riveting testimony of Election Fraud and Illegal Campaign Funds manipulation that " The Senator" designed and facilitated during his Long Political Career.

  5. Also, why was there ZERO talk of his MASSIVE $2mm in funding from an out of state extremist Super PAC (funded by George Soros) and should be impeached as a result: This is impeachable, given that he used it to illegitimately win the elections.

  6. Krasner is a liar who perjured himself when it suits his interest He needs to resign like a man and let somebody with integrity take over the DA's office and fire the ADAs who share the same philosophy as Mentor Krasna does

  7. Larry's minions release gun toting criminals at the police station with reduced or dropped charges, won't use video to identify unless there is a live witness, notice all the stolen cars the criminals are in, his laws sidestepped the police to stop those cars, I think their should be a class action lawsuit against him for his not protecting the citizens


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