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The political porn circus adds a 3rd ring

First the A.G.'s Office. Then a Supreme Court justice. Now another justice.

Justice J. Michael Eakin at the official opening of the new Family Court of Philadelphia building located at 15th and Arch streets. Staff Photographer  / Jessica Griffin
Justice J. Michael Eakin at the official opening of the new Family Court of Philadelphia building located at 15th and Arch streets. Staff Photographer / Jessica GriffinRead more

THE HARRISBURG porn circus consuming the state's Capitol added a third ring yesterday.

The first ring: Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane last month released a selection of explicit emails sent and received by Gov. Corbett's top deputies when he was attorney general.

The second ring: State Supreme Court Justice Ron Castille and Justice Seamus McCaffery continued their long-running feud, swapping accusations this week after Castille disclosed that McCaffery sent and received many of the explicit images.

And the third ring: Emails obtained yesterday by the Daily News show that state Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin used a fake name on a Yahoo email account to receive emails with explicit and racist images in 2010.

McCaffery yesterday released a statement apologizing "for my lapse in judgment" with the explicit emails and lashing out at Castille for "this latest cooked-up controversy." McCaffery said it was part of "a vindictive pattern of attacks by the soon-to-be retired chief justice."

Castille called that an inaccurate and "sad state of affairs."

"It's name-calling," Castille said. "That's terrible."

Castille said that Kane's agents reviewed the emails and found no "salacious or sexually offensive" material for any other Supreme Court justice but McCaffery.

Castille also said he knew nothing about Eakin's private emails and noted that receiving porn was different from sending it.

"Sending is a problem," he said. "I could email something to you."

Eakin, elected to the court in 2001 and retained for another 10-year term in the 2011 election, did not deny that he uses the Yahoo email account that has a nom de guerre of "John Smith."

"I'm not going to deny it, but I don't think I should comment at all until I see what we're talking about," Eakin said when asked about the emails. "I'm really not comfortable doing that."

Three emails received at the Yahoo account in 2010 included:

* "Prom Night at Camden High School!!" - 13 images of African-Americans who appear to be attending a prom, with captions mocking their clothes, physical appearances and the presence of police vehicles.

* "Send your buddy some ti--ies day!" - 13 images of women who are topless or completely nude.

The "send your buddy some ti--ies day" was a regular theme in the Attorney General's Office emails that Kane released.

* Hooters 25th Anniversary - 33 images of nude women, apparently pulled from a 2008 spread in Playboy magazine, along with four images of women wearing Hooters uniforms.

Those images were received by federal, state and county email accounts, along with law-firm email accounts and private accounts.

Eakin was in Philadelphia with Castille yesterday to dedicate the new Family Court building.

Eakin was chosen by his colleagues in early 2013 to become the liaison justice to the courts in Philadelphia, replacing Castille in a position of political power in the local justice system.

Castille has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 and must step down at the end of this year. Justice Thomas Saylor, next in line in Supreme Court seniority, will replace him.

Eakin, by seniority, is due to become chief justice in two years.

Biden & the bucket

For a politician known for something of a big mouth, Vice President Joe Biden was impressed.

"That's a hell of a bucket, man" Biden said as he boarded Dredge 54, docked at Penn's Landing yesterday so he could take a tour.

Biden was marveling at a massive crane on the dredge's stern that hoists a bucket capable of scooping 21 cubic yards (about two dump trucks' worth) of river bottom in one scoop. The dredge is working on a phase of the 100-plus-mile dredging of the Delaware River to deepen its shipping canal from 40 to 45 feet.

Biden spent some time at the controls in the crane's cockpit. There were no injuries, since the contraption was not operating.

He then told a small audience of elected officials and union leaders that it is important to keep up federal funding for the project.

The current phase, about 2 1/2 miles south of the Ben Franklin Bridge, costs $25 million. The entire project, with 75 percent from the federal government and 25 percent from the state, will cost $300 million.

"The Delaware River has been the artery of commerce for this valley for over 300 years," Biden said. "Nothing fundamentally has changed. The world has changed. And the river has to keep up for us to be able to keep up." (See photo on Page 11.)

Biden then crossed the river to New Jersey for a fundraiser in Maple Shade for Aimee Belgard, a Democrat running in the 3rd Congressional District.


"It's really good to see all these judges. You don't write. You don't call. You know, you're allowed. You know, once in a while."

- U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the city's Democratic Party chairman, speaking to an audience at the dedication of the new Family Court building at 15th and Arch streets.

Phone: 215-854-5973

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN