Second Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Resigns Amid Statewide Porn Email Scandal

Eakin-compressedHARRISBURG, Pa. — A second Supreme Court justice in Pennsylvania has resigned amid a massive porn email scandal that involves numerous government officials throughout the Commonwealth.

Justice Michael Eakin, 67, stepped down from the bench on Tuesday following allegations that he had exchanged inappropriate emails with friends and attorneys. His lawyer, William Costopoulos, said during a news conference that the justice resigned “for the sake of his family and the judiciary.”

Eakin had been charged by the Judicial Conduct Board last year with violating ethics rules, and is scheduled to face a trial on March 29 over the matter. The board, which was provided evidence of the emails sent and received, found the correspondence “offensive, tasteless, insensitive, juvenile and repugnant to reasonable sensibilities.”

It is not known whether the proceedings will now move forward due to the justice’s resignation.

While taking the stand in December, Eakin tearfully expressed remorse, stating, “What I sent I sent, and I am sorry for that beyond words.”

“Perhaps my demeanor is one of the boys,” he also stated. “But what I sent was to people who were also one of the boys. It was in the locker room. I allowed, I created something that could be released. Shame on me and it won’t happen again.”

Eakin and his wife deny that the emails were pornographic. A report from the Judicial Conduct Board states that one of the inappropriate emails sent to both friends and a deputy attorney general cited his plans to visit a strip club and used a vulgar term about women’s breasts.

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Attorney Sam Stretton had also told the court in Eakin’s defense, “There’s not a man alive who hasn’t viewed pornography or laughed at an off-color joke.”

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery stepped down in 2014 after being accused of sending eight explicit emails to an employee in Attorney General Katherine Kane’s office.

As previously reported, Kane first announced her findings of a rampant exchange of inappropriate emails among Pennsylvania officials in September 2014. She found the pornographic correspondence while looking into why it took the state three years to prosecute now convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.

The messages, videos and photos sent or received between 2008 and 2012 contained sexually explicit and vulgar content, disparaging remarks about those of other races or homosexuals, or demeaning comments about religion.

Kane’s expose’ resulted in the resignation of Environmental Protection Secretary Christopher Abruzzo and Board of Probation and Parole member Randy Feathers. Police Commissioner Frank Noonan and Kevin Harley, former spokesperson for then Gov. Tom Corbett, were also cited in the discovery. Nearly two dozen state employees were additionally reprimanded and six were fired.

In December, Kane released one million emails from employees to a special prosecutor who is currently continuing an investigation into the matter. Kane is currently herself facing criminal charges for allegedly leaking confidential grand jury information to a reporter and lying about it under oath.

Eakin’s resignation “was in the best interests of all, especially our justice system and the public’s perception of it,” Lynn Marks, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, told TribLive. “The content of the emails raised serious questions about his judgment. Since judges are appropriately held to the highest standards of integrity, the court cannot tolerate behavior by any justice that is not entirely beyond reproach.”


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