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Josh Shapiro messes with Texas

The 2020 presidential election is over. The legal and political battles born of that struggle continue.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.Read moreKRISTON JAE BETHEL / File Photograph

The 2020 presidential election is over. The legal and political battles born of that struggle continue.

And Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is clearly itching for payback for lawyers who filed a raft of unsuccessful lawsuits about how the state conducted its election and tallied the votes.

He seems especially eager to mess with Texas.

Shapiro on Wednesday praised Michigan’s attorney general for seeking to have four lawyers disbarred for filing similar lawsuits and said his office is exploring the use of similar sanctions.

“We can’t let that become the norm, where the courts are used as a way to spread this misinformation,” Shapiro said during an appearance at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Security in Politics.

Shapiro called out Rudy Giuliani, who served as attorney for President Donald Trump, knocking the former New York mayor and his coterie of conspiracy theorists as “nutballs.”

» READ MORE: Fact-checking false claims about Pennsylvania’s presidential election

Janet Napolitano, a former homeland security secretary and now a Berkeley professor who moderated the discussion, agreed. “As a lawyer it was embarrassing actually to see fellow members of the bar” spread misinformation in court, she said.

That prompted Shapiro to wonder aloud if Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton can be “sanctioned or disbarred” for what he called “an act of sedition.”

“He is absolutely unfit to serve, and certainly violated his oath in an attempt to merely suck up to a corrupt president,” Shapiro said.

Paxton in December asked the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out Pennsylvania’s election results in a lawsuit chock-full of inaccurate claims and conspiracy theories. Trump and 17 other state attorneys general joined that effort. The Supreme Court took four days to reject Paxton.

Paxton’s office did not respond to Clout’s request for comment.

Shapiro on Thursday noted that a lawsuit filed in Colorado is still trying to “relitigate the 2020 election.” His office entered that case Tuesday.

“Not on my watch,” he told Clout. “We will seek discipline against lawyers who came into Pennsylvania and lied in briefings and in front of judges about our elections.”

Someone stole Bobby Henon’s car

Members of Philadelphia City Council often work weekends. So do car thieves, Bobby Henon learned Saturday.

Henon left his black 2017 Ford Escape running outside his district office on Torresdale Avenue in Tacony around 9 a.m. and went inside for what he estimated was “less than a minute.”

“I went back out and they were driving away,” Henon told Clout. “I was working, just unloading a couple of things.”

The Philadelphia Police Department said the car — Henon’s personal ride, he doesn’t drive a city car — was recovered later in the day on Summer Street, about 10 miles away in West Philadelphia.

Investigators from the department’s Major Crimes Unit found video surveillance of a man who was a passenger in a silver Hyundai Sonata jumping into Henon’s car outside his office.

Henon said he got his car back with no damage, but his personal cell phone, which he had left behind, was gone.

About that phone: The Inquirer reported in 2017 that federal investigators had been listening in on phone calls by Henon and other officials from Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. That came a year after the feds searched Henon’s City Hall and Torresdale Avenue offices, along with offices and homes of Local 98 officials.

Henon, Local 98 leader John Dougherty, and six other union officials were indicted on corruption charges in 2019. Dougherty and Henon, who have denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty, are scheduled for trial May 3. Dougherty and the other union officials will stand trial together after the first court case concludes. (Dougherty is a defendant in both trials.)

Henon praised Philly police recovering his car.

“I wasn’t happy about it,” he said. “But I’m glad the department was able to track it down. They did a great job.”

Chuck Peruto: ‘People want to get high? Have a ball’

Clout had a feeling this year’s race for Philadelphia district attorney would be rhetorically raffish. Enter Chuck Peruto. The Democratic-defense-attorney-turned-Republican-endorsed candidate was his shoot-from-the-hip self during a forum Tuesday.

Peruto dismissed District Attorney Larry Krasner, a Democrat seeking a second term, as a “bleeding-heart liberal” who goes easy on drug dealers. Krasner didn’t participate in the forum. His Democratic challenger, Carlos Vega, did.

“Any defense lawyer will tell you we used to have drug cases coming out of our ears,” Peruto said. “They don’t exist anymore because they’re not being prosecuted. [Krasner] looks at the defendants like they’re the victims. They’re poor. They need to make money. They have to do something to get out of the ghetto.”

Not that Peruto wants to lock up everyone busted for drugs. Asked about marijuana legalization, he offered this: “A lot of people, when they just saw the first hour of this interview, they might think I’m high right now. How can I be against it?”

Peruto followed up, saying he doesn’t care about marijuana.

“It is so far down the list of my priorities I can’t even smell it,” he said. “Honestly, people want to get high? Have a ball.”

Clout provides often irreverent news and analysis about people, power, and politics.