DISTRICT ATTORNEY Seth Williams is likely to have a crummy morning.
Same goes for three city prosecutors - Frank Fina, Marc Costanzo and Pat Blessington - who are at the center of the Porngate email scandal.
For the first time since the scandal broke earlier this year, the women of City Council plan to hold a news conference this morning to "denounce the demeaning, misogynistic and racist emails sent on state-owned computers by prosecutors currently employed" by Williams, according to a news release put out by the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women. NOW is helping organize the effort.
Councilwoman Cindy Bass, along with her fellow councilwomen, is also expected to introduce a resolution calling for Williams to mete out real "consequences" for Fina, Costanzo and Blessington. Bass said Wednesday that she thinks Williams should fire them for offensive and racist emails they received, sent and traded while working in the state Attorney General's Office.
"The purpose of [the effort] is to discuss our disgust with the process and what has occurred and what seems to be a slap on the wrist to the offenders," Bass said. "These are government computers that have been used to receive and send pornography and all sorts of inappropriate material, some of which was racist.
"If this is some ole boys' network, who is there to defend us?" she said referring to women and minorities who rely on Williams' office to prosecute sex and hate crimes. "Certainly as a taxpayer, I do not want to support employees who engage in this type of behavior on the job."
Williams, after concluding "a review" of the situation in early September, decided to send Fina, Costanzo and Blessington to sensitivity training rather than fire them for behavior that didn't occur in his office, on his watch.
In an email, Cameron Kline, spokesman for Williams, said he would respond to requests for comment but did not.
NOW president Nina Ahmad said she intends to be at the news conference, which she described as significant. The women's-rights organization has called for the dismissal of the three prosecutors.
"This is sort of the first public endorsement from people in elected office who are looking at what happened and what NOW has said and done and they are standing with NOW," Ahmad said.
- Staff writer Mensah M. Dean contributed to this report.