Pa. House’s Krasner committee cancels hearing after prosecutor insists it be made public

Voters and taxpayers ‘deserve a transparent and public hearing,’ Philly’s Democratic prosecutor said

By: - October 19, 2022 11:24 am

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner speaks at a news conference on Monday, 1/24/22 (Philadelphia Tribune photo).

By Naiser Warren-Robinson

The Republican-led state House panel investigating Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said it’s pulled the plug on a Friday hearing after the progressive prosecutor insisted that the public be allowed in on the planned closed-door proceeding.

In a Tuesday statement, Krasner’s office said it was sent an invitation by Rep. John Lawrence, R-Chester, the chair of the Select Committee to Restore Law and Order, to appear before the panel in a closed-door session on Friday. In a return letter, legal counsel for Krasner accepted the invitation on the condition that the session was open to the public.

Because the committee has already held a series of public hearings related to its probe, “the proposed hearing involving District Attorney Krasner should be no different,” the letter to Lawrence asserts.

“District Attorney Krasner should be afforded the same opportunity to give a statement and answer questions at a public hearing,” Krasner’s counsel wrote to Lawrence.  “The Chairman’s invitation for a hearing in Executive Session, which is a ‘meeting from which the public is excluded’ (65 Pa.C.S.A. § 703), is improper and unfair to the public, the DAO, and District Attorney Krasner, especially since his testimony involves matters of public concern.”    

Krasner also provided a statement on the invitation, classifying the committee’s decision to have him give his testimony in private as “curious.” 

“I am stating today as I have stated in the past that I am happy to answer questions from the Committee in a public hearing,” Krasner said. “Philadelphians and all Pennsylvanians who love democracy and cherish their right to vote deserve a transparent and public hearing, before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives takes any action aimed at erasing Philly’s votes.”

In a statement released to the Philadelphia Tribune, House Republican spokesperson Jason Gotttesman said the panel was pulling the plug on its hearing.

“Given the District Attorney’s unwillingness to participate in executive session, there will be no Committee meeting on October 21, 2022,” Gottesman said, adding that Krasner did not get to “decide the manner in which the Select Committee operates.

“The Committee will continue to pursue its investigation in accordance with the mandate provided by House Resolution 216, which was approved by a bipartisan majority of the House,” Gottesman said.

Naiser Warren-Robinson is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.

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