Corbett on suggestion of federal investigation into Sandusky case: 'Let them have one'

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HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Corbett today gave an extended defense of his handling as attorney general of the prosecution of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Mr. Corbett was taking questions after a bill signing when a reporter asked were his "ears burning" Monday night when a debate between the candidates for attorney general included discussion of his investigation.

Kathleen Kane, the Democratic candidate, had said she has questions about the use of a grand jury and the time that elapsed before Sandusky's arrest.

The governor paused at the podium and glanced upward.

"First off," he said. "And you all have heard me say this repeatedly: There was no politics involved in that investigation. None. Zero. And I challenge anybody out there who says there is to bring forward one piece of evidence, one sentence of evidence, one thread of evidence."

As he has previously, Mr. Corbett said he had an obligation as a prosecutor to continue the investigation until he would be able to secure convictions. He pointed to the 45 convictions out of 48 counts in the case of Sandusky.

"I come from a business where we just can't say, well, critics say this or critics say that," he said. "I come from a business where we have to prove a case. I come from a business where I don't say anything until I know I can prove a case. And that's probably one of my greatest frustrations with the political scene."

With his own candidacy for governor in 2010, Mr. Corbett said there was no way to avoid accusations that he had cast a political eye to the explosive case.

If key witnesses had come forward sooner, he said, the case might have been ready in the months before his election.

"I suspect those same people that are saying I'm being political would say, well, if he brought the case in September of 2010, that was political," he said. "Because it would work to your advantage when you were running for governor because of all the media coverage that you get."

Asked about statements by Ms. Kane and Republican candidate David Freed that they would look at how the office handled the case, Mr. Corbett said such a review is typical.

He was asked also about a call by House Democrats for a federal review of the investigation.

"If they want to go ahead and have one, let them have one," he said of a federal investigation. "This is all politics being played by the other party. Because you all continue to print this is what they said, and you have yet to challenge them as to what evidence they have. It's all speculation. There's not one person out there who's going to say that I told them to hold that case up. ... It didn't happen."

education - breaking - electionspa - state

Karen Langley: klangley@post-gazette.com or 717-787-2141.


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