TWITCH HUNT: Is PA Attorney General Tom Corbett Abusing The Power Of His Office To Silence Critics?


TECH CRUNCH: Tom Corbett,  current Attorney General of the state of Pennsylvania and Gubernatorial Candidate,  has subpoenaed Twitter  to appear as a Grand Jury witness to “testify and give evidence regarding alleged violations of the laws of Pennsylvania”. The subpoena orders Twitter to provide “any and all subscriber information” of the person(s) behind two accounts – @bfbarbie and @CasaBlancaPA – who have been anonymously criticizing the man on the popular micro-sharing service. MORE

twitter-bird.thumbnail.pngWIRED: Corbett is apparently treating his online critics as potential criminals, using his power as the state’s top law enforcement official to issue a grand jury subpoena. The subpoena does not state what kind of crime the grand jury is investigating. MORE

ASSOCIATED PRESS: The American Civil Liberties Union is helping two people fight a subpoena seeking their identities after they posted anonymous criticism on Twitter of a Pennsylvania attorney general who’s running for governor. ACLU attorney Vic Walczak (WAL’-chak) said Thursday he will ask a judge to quash the subpoena if an agreement with Attorney General Tom Corbett’s office can’t be worked out. Walczak says using courts to unmask political critics is unconstitutional retaliation. MORE

TPM: Is the attorney general of Pennsylvania using his authority to go after political critics? Matt Zimmermann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, told TPMmuckraker that Corbett’s move appears to be part of a worrying trend. “This is just another flavor of the same concern that we and others have had for a long time,” he said, “which is the use of the legal process to try to out critics.” MORE

twitter-bird.thumbnail.pngINQUIRER: The subpoena was apparently part of prosecutors’ efforts to show one Bonusgate defendant’s lack of remorse as he awaits sentencing. Kevin Harley, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said the subpoena had “nothing to do with limiting critics.” He said the office’s intent would become clear Friday morning, when Bonusgate defendant Brett Cott has been scheduled for sentencing. Harley declined to elaborate, citing the secrecy of grand-jury proceedings. But a sentencing memorandum in Cott’s case, filed in Dauphin County Court, contained clues: Prosecutors from Corbett’s office argued that Cott, who was convicted in March on three of 42 corruption charges, is CasablancaPA. MORE

DAILY NEWS: In court filings, two assistant attorneys general argue the blog demonstrates that Cott is deflecting blame and denying responsibility for the crimes of which he’s been convicted. They are seeking a longer-than-normal sentence and basing their argument on that. MORE

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