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Porngate prosecutors are moved - but not fired

Frank Fina and two others tied to the raunchy email scandal have been shunted to lower-profile units in the D.A.’s Office.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, center, accompanied by investigators Marc Costanzo, left, and Frank Fina.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, center, accompanied by investigators Marc Costanzo, left, and Frank Fina.Read moreAP Photo/Matt Rourke

PHILADELPHIA District Attorney Seth Williams yesterday finally took action against three prosecutors at the center of the so-called Porngate scandal, reassigning them to lower-profile units amid repeated calls for their termination.

Because, sometimes, "sensitivity training" just isn't enough.

Frank Fina, once a star public-corruption prosecutor, will move from the special-investigations unit to the civil-litigation unit.

His colleague Marc Costanzo will be transferred from special investigations to appeals, and Patrick Blessington will be transferred from insurance fraud to the post-conviction-relief-act unit.

The three prosecutors are tied - to varying degrees - to an email scandal that has dogged Williams since the summer. They were among a group of law-enforcement officials who sent or received pornographic, racist or sexist emails while working in the state Attorney General's Office.

Williams announced their transfers yesterday afternoon in an email to his staff that was obtained by the Daily News.

"The transfer is intended to let the citizens of Philadelphia know that we're moving forward with this, we're going to put this behind us," said Kathleen Martin, who Williams recently hired as his new chief of staff, general counsel and chief integrity officer.

The transfers, which take effect Monday, happened on the same day that City Council passed a resolution calling for Fina, Costanzo and Blessington to be fired. But Martin said Williams had decided to transfer them prior to that resolution.

The National Organization for Women and other groups representing people offended by the raunchy emails have criticized Williams' handling of the situation. He recently required the three men to attend a day of "sensitivity training."

Martin said she hoped yesterday's move would restore public confidence in the District Attorney's Office, which she said would continue to "fight for the citizens of Philadelphia to make the city a safer place to live, work and raise a family."

On Twitter: @wbender99