In the wake of scandals, corruption, and both judicial and legislative officials being indicted — it is clear that public figures from Pennsylvania are no stranger to the Federal Bureau of Investigation after the countless indictments in the past two years.
These investigations and convictions included some of the top law enforcement officials, including Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams who was arrested and convicted of corruption and “selling” his office in exchange for a corrupt stream of benefits; and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane who was found guilty of corruption among other charges.
“They [elected officials] can rest assured that the federal government with the FBI, IRS, HSI, and the United States Attorneys Office are always vigilant; on the lookout for corrupt conduct and will aggressively, fairly and appropriately prosecute anybody who steps across that line,” former Acting United States Attorney William Fitzpatrick told us on June 29, 2017 following the trial and conviction of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “We’re not in a position of giving advice, but what we can say is that we are here, and we are watching.”
Fitzpatrick led the prosecution against Williams.
Montgomery County District Attorney, Kevin Steele, and his office were recently accused of destroying crucial evidence relevant to the Bill Cosby trial and allowing accuser Andrea Constand to commit perjury during the trial, as they stood silent.
The question — is Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, his office and investigators under investigation for their alleged poor and illegal handling of the case?
We reached out to the Department of Justice following the serious allegations against Steele. The United States Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania provided YC the following statement Sunday afternoon regarding the recent allegations about Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele:
The FBI neither confirms nor denies the existence of an investigation.
The statement is identical to the one issued just before the federal indictment of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams in 2017.
Steele is accused by former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor and the Cosby defense team of using the comedian to further his political career after making an odd campaign promise to prosecute Cosby if elected in 2015.
The allegations were raised after Cosby hired prominent defense attorney Thomas Mesereau, who represented the likes of Michael Jackson in his 2005 child molestation trial and Robert Blake, accused of murdering his wife Bonny Lee Bakley — both cases resulted in an acquittal.
Mesereau immediately brought in a team of heavy hitters including Scott Ross, the lead investigator for the Jackson defense team who is very experienced in high-profile cases, Alan Greenberg and Wayne Gross.
Ross, now the lead investigator for the Cosby defense team, interviewed Margurite Jackson, who told him key details that led to the recent allegations filed in court motions by Mesereau.
What charges could the United States Attorneys Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation lodge against Steele and the Cosby prosecutors?
If Steele and his office did in-fact destroy evidence, knowingly allow a witness to commit perjury, used the investigation for political gain and had a personal interest in the case — Steele, the prosecutors and investigators could face a slew of federal or state criminal charges.
Public corruption in any form is the misuse of a public or government office for private gain.
Steele admitted to meeting with Dolores Troiani, Constand’s civil attorney in July 2015 seeking Cosby case files, stating in a letter that he was reopening the criminal investigation.
Troiani represented Constand in her civil suit against Cosby in 2005.
JULY 2015: MISSING FILES
Steele reached out to Troiani in a letter dated July 10, 2015 to follow up regarding their recent “discussions,” stating his office reopened the investigation.
It is unclear why Steele needed files from Constand’s civil attorney, unless his office lost, misplaced or destroyed any files.
Oddly, Troiani stated that the boxes containing files she turned over to Steele were later returned to her “in far better shape than I had it — when I had it.”
SEPTEMBER 2015: POLITICAL BOMB
A civil case was brewing. Troiani would soon file a civil suit against Steele’s opponent, Bruce Castor, just days before the election; giving Steele the ammunition he would need to seal the deal and become the next District Attorney of Montgomery County.
Was the timing of Constand’s civil suit a coincidence or did Kevin Steele have a heads up?
It is far from clear what “discussions” Troiani, Constand and Steele had when meeting in 2015.
OCTOBER 2015: CONSTAND MAKES HEADLINES
Steele’s campaign fund started growing as the civil suit was brewing, receiving $60,783.00 from his brother in Florida leading up to the civil suit.
Troiani filed the suit in Philadelphia federal court on behalf of Constand against Castor on October 26, 2015, 3 months after their “discussions” with Steele, just ten days before Election Day.
Constand’s civil suit made national headlines, bringing attention to the campaign of Kevin Steele and former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor.
The race was on — Steele now had the ammo he needed. One day following the filing of Constand’s suit against Castor, Steele received a donation of $35,000.00 from his brother, J. Rodman Steele Jr., in Florida. That same day, his ad spending for television commercials went up 171.1%.
Steele ramped up his ad budget — dropping $50,000.00 on 10/27/2015, $51,000.00 on 10/30/2015 and $3,000.00 on 11/2/2015. That adds up to $104,000.00 in television ads alone in that 6 day period.
In total, Steele dropped a whopping $164,783.00 on television ads vowing to prosecute Cosby, if elected.
Steele attacked Castor, criticizing his handling of the 2005 investigation into Cosby.
On the contrary, Castor told interviewers during the election that the story Constand told investigators in Montgomery County were drastically different from the story she described in the civil suit against the entertainer, therefore resulting in Castor not bringing criminal charges against the entertainer in 2005.
2016 CASTOR SUIT CONTINUES
At a federal hearing in May of 2016, Cosby accuser Andrea Constand’s civil attorney, Dolores M. Troiani, admitted that she had worked with Kevin R. Steele when he was the acting Deputy District Attorney of Montgomery County, supplying his office with documents stored in her basement.
Troiani stated that she had approximately ten boxes in her basement and she handed them over to Steele. Troiani didn’t know exactly what she handed over to Steele, according to her court statements. “Can I recreate what I gave the D.A.’s Office? No.,” Troiani told Judge Robreno. “I have no idea.”
“Constand was trying to gain a tactical advantage with the election in order to get Kevin Steele put in so that she could get Cosby prosecuted,” James Beasley Jr., Castor’s attorney representing him in the lawsuit against Constand told reporters.
Furthermore, this shows that Constand was in communication with Steele as he put his bid in to run for the office of district attorney and that Steele had a social interest in the case against Cosby during the campaign trail, raising questions as to why they met and what they discussed.
2017 COSBY TRIAL KICKS OFF
It was the trial that seized the attention of the world. The world-renown comedian facing years behind bars.
Constand finally had her day in court, but her stories confused jurors among others after her recollection of the allegations changed several times.
The jury would be left in the dark about crucial things, leaving questions unanswered and critical, exculpatory evidence destroyed.
“I think this was a very weak case. It was weak with the evidence, and even weaker without it,” a prominent Philadelphia defense attorney told YC, in regards to recent allegations that Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele & his office destroyed exculpatory evidence.
Constand testified under oath that she had no clue who Margurite Jackson was and didn’t recall ever meeting her.
District Attorney Kevin Steele, alongside the prosecutor stood silent as Constand testified — breaking their silence midway through the line of questioning persuading Judge Steve O’Neill to bar the defense from exploring the topic with Constand through cross-examination and from calling Jackson to testify.
They left out the fact that they had met with Jackson, took notes on their interview with her and then destroyed them before the trial — something that would come to light seven months later during a phone conference with Judge O’Neill and defense attorney Thomas Mesereau.
As Castor predicted in 2005, the case would prove to be so weak, that it would be difficult to prove Cosby was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. “That’s not to say she lied in her civil suit,” Bruce Castor said in early 2005. “Her lawyers wrote out allegations that they hoped to be able to prove in court. We have to worry about what we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”
DA ACCUSED OF GROSS MISCONDUCT
Thomas Mesereau, the lead attorney in Cosby’s “powerhouse” team filed several motions on January 25, 2018, crucifying the poor and borderline illegal handling of the investigation into Cosby by District Attorney Kevin Steele’s office.
Mesereau states that his investigator, Scott Ross, questioned Margurite Jackson who informed him that authorities did in-fact interview her before the trial; but why did the prosecution fail to inform the court of their meeting with Jackson and where were the notes that detectives took?
The truth came out during a telephone conference with Judge Steven O’Neill and the defense on January 17, 2018 when Montgomery County District Attorney Ryan informed Mesereau that he and two detectives interviewed Ms. Jackson and that they took notes regarding the interview, but ironically destroyed them before the trial.
“The prosecution recently disclosed for the first time that, before the first trial in this case, a prosecutor and two detectives interviewed a crucial witness, Margurite Jackson who told them that in 2003 or 2004, the complaining witness, Andrea Constand, had told her that she had not been sexually assaulted,” Mesereau stated in the motion to dismiss the charges due to prosecutorial misconduct. “She could say that she had, file charges, and get money.”
Per policy, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation cannot comment on any potential ongoing criminal investigations.