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Corbett says he never made a judgment on sting case

Gov. Corbett on Tuesday said it was "misleading" to suggest he reviewed or opted not to pursue the sting investigation that captured elected officials on tape accepting money and gifts.

In making his remarks, the Republican governor was responding to recent statements by Attorney General Kathleen Kane that her three predecessors, Corbett included, decided not to bring charges in the sting case.

Corbett, however, noted that he was only in the Attorney General's office for a few months when the sting investigation began.

"Have you looked at the facts of the case," Corbett said during a stop in Montgomery County Tuesday. "It only began when I was there. It was way too early to make a decision whether to prosecute, it was just beginning."

"So for her to include me in that is kind of misleading," he said of Kane.

They were the most expansive remarks Corbett has made on the issue since The Inquirer revealed the existence of the now-shuttered sting investigation on March 16.

The newspaper has reported that the sting began in late 2010, when Corbett was the Attorney General. When Kane took office last year, she shut it down without bringing any charges.

She has said that although she believes crimes occurred, the sting was poorly executed and possibly tainted by racial profiling.

She has also said that the credibility of the sting's undercover operative, Philadelphia lobbyist Tyron Ali, was so damaged that the case could not have successfully been prosecuted.

Kane has said that three previous attorneys general, Corbett, William Ryan and Linda Kelly, all chose not to bring charges in the case. The Inquirer has reported that during the sting, Ali captured five Philadelphia Democrats, including four state legislators, on tape accepting money or gifts.

Ryan has not returned phone calls. Kelly has declined to discuss the investigation.

The prosecutors who ran the sting — and who no longer work for the Attorney General's office — have countered that it was a by-the-book investigation and have vehemently denied that they engaged in racial targeting.

--Angela Couloumbis and Jessica Parks

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