Gov. Corbett and the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court have asked state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane to turn over more names and details about the sexually explicit e-mails shared over state-owned computers by prominent commonwealth officials.
Less than a day after Kane disclosed the names of eight officials - including two Corbett cabinet members - who she said received the pornography, the scandal was quickly spreading across state government.
Corbett's administration sent a letter seeking complete copies of the e-mails. "The governor wants all the facts," said his spokesman, Jay Pagni.
In an interview Friday, Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, leader of the seven-member high court, said any judge exchanging "grossly pornographic" e-mails might have violated ethical rules that forbid judges from using court equipment for all but minimal personal matters.
Kane, a Democrat, named only eight men - all current or former employees of Corbett - as recipients of the e-mails. But sources have told The Inquirer that the e-mail exchanges involved dozens or scores of state employees, including top jurists.
The e-mails were recovered as part of an internal inquiry Kane's office undertook of her predecessors' work in the Jerry Sandusky investigation. In her only statement since releasing the materials, Kane said it was in the public's interest to understand "how its public servants conduct their business."
The e-mails include photos and videos of women and men engaged in oral sex, anal sex, and intercourse. The photographs included naked women in mock motivational posters, with slogans such as "Devotion" and "Willingness," showing them performing sex acts on men.
Among the eight were Frank Noonan, the current state police commissioner; E. Christopher Abruzzo, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection; and Kevin Harley, formerly Corbett's spokesman both as attorney general and as governor. The others were former ranking prosecutors and an agent.
In just naming eight, Kane acknowledged it was far from a complete group. For one thing, her office said, "human resources policies and current union agreements" barred her from naming her own current employees who had been trading explicit e-mails on their state accounts.
Asked Friday about the criteria for choosing the eight, Renee Martin, a Kane spokeswoman, said each was a person reporters had asked about.
The Inquirer, in its request for the e-mail information under the state's right-to-know law, asked for "all participants" of the explicit messages.
On Friday, Kane's office released a data sheet disclosing that there were as many as 50 recipients to individual e-mails received by some of the eight. By some accounts, many more were in the e-mail chains.
Corbett has called the e-mails "unacceptable" if they were as news accounts described them. In an interview Friday, the governor's spokesman said Corbett wanted more information before deciding how to deal with the situation.
The letter written on behalf of the governor says the administration is seeking a more complete record, including originals of the messages - which were not shown to reporters - as well as information to determine if the messages were viewed or were perhaps deleted without being opened.
Kane's spokeswoman said her office and the governor's representatives are working to come to an agreement on a list of information that can be provided. Computer technicians from the Attorney General's Office met with Corbett aides Friday to show them what had been shown to reporters.
Castille has called and written to Kane seeking information, including the names of any judges involved in the e-mail traffic.
He said any judge who circulated pornographic material could have violated the state's official Canon of Judicial Ethics. Castille also noted that the ethical guideline cautions judges against making jokes or remarks that demean women.
Martin said Kane was still reviewing Castille's request.
The path that led to the release of the e-mails has been long and tangled, marked by court battles and dueling public relations strategies.
Earlier this year, The Inquirer disclosed that Kane had secretly shut down an undercover investigation begun by Frank G. Fina, a former state prosecutor, that caught five Philadelphia officials on tape accepting cash or gifts.
Kane has also been critical of Fina's pursuit as a state prosecutor of former Pennsylvania State University coach Sandusky, convicted in 2012 of multiple counts of sexual abuse.
Sources say Fina was among those involved in the e-mail exchanges, though he was not named by Kane during Thursday's event. Her office, without explanation, said that it faced unspecified restrictions in identifying some e-mail recipients apart from labor agreements.
Fina did not return a message seeking comment.
The other men identified Thursday as recipients of the sexually-oriented messages included four former state prosecutors from Fina's tenure: Patrick Blessington, Chris Carusone, Glen Parno, and Richard A. Sheetz. Kane also named Randy Feathers, a former agent who once directed one of the office's regional criminal narcotics investigations bureaus. Corbett named him to the Parole Board.
Of the eight men, most did not respond to requests for comment or could not be reached. The exception was Feathers.
"The images that were released to reporters are not a reflection of my professional behavior," he said in a statement, "and I don't condone this activity."