HARRISBURG — Less than eight months after taking the job, Joe Peters left his position as communications director for Attorney General Kathleen Kane following a roller coaster week for the state’s top prosecutor.
Kane’s office on Monday confirmed Peters’ departure. Peters, who lives in Lackawanna County, could not be reached.
Peters was Kane’s third press secretary since she took office in January 2013. Kane’s first deputy, Adrian King, would not say whether Peters’ departure was related to last week’s events, nor would he provide detail about Peters’ reasons.
Kane, of Scranton, said she was grateful for his service and wished him well.
Since a March 16 story in the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that Kane shut down a corruption investigation, in which Philadelphia legislators were recorded allegedly taking payoffs, she has taken heat in newspaper editorials.
Kane hired a personal attorney, well-known Philadelphia defamation lawyer Richard Sprague, to accompany her to an Inquirer editorial board meeting at which she did not speak. Sprague told the newspaper he would investigate the matter.
On Sunday, the Inquirer published an opinion piece by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, blasting Kane’s handling of the case.
Kane has said the investigation, begun under former attorney general Tom Corbett, now the state’s governor, may have targeted black legislators. She said the office gave the “deal of the century” to a confidential informant by dismissing more than 2,000 charges against him.
The informant, Tyrone B. Ali, a former day care center president , had been accused of defrauding the state Education Department. For the legislative investigation, prosecutors asked him to wear a recording device and pose as a lobbyist who approached lawmakers.
Lawmakers took $20,000 in the sting, but Kane called the case legally flawed, contending it lacked proper supervision. Most undercover recordings of lawmakers were made 18 months before she took office, she said.
Ex-Gov. Ed Rendell, a former Philadelphia district attorney, said in an opinion piece that it appeared techniques in the case were “poorly managed” and “tread very close to entrapment.”
Peters, a former Scranton police officer, was hired as senior executive deputy attorney general in charge of communications in July.
He was a state drug prosecutor in the attorney general’s office and a federal prosecutor on organized crime cases. He directed the Scranton Cultural Center before re-joining the attorney general’s office.