Last Friday, December 2, District Attorney Larry Krasner requested the Commonwealth Court to intervene and stop impeachment efforts against him by Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Krasner seeks the court to declare that the General Assembly does not have the necessary constitutional authority to remove local officials and that the charges against them do not amount to the “misconduct in office” required for impeachment.
The district attorney’s lawsuit is directed against the top Republican official, Westmoreland County Sen. Kim Ward, as well as other unnamed members of the Senate committee that oversaw the recall initiative. and against three recall managers elected by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Krasner’s attorneys told the court, “Never before has the legislature exercised its power to impeach and remove a person twice elected for not coming close to a crime.” “And never before has the state legislature exercised its power to remove a locally elected official such as District Attorney Krasner.”
According to the lawsuit, only the city, and not the State House or Senate, can oversee any impeachment effort and removal of a district attorney.
Erica Clayton Wright, a spokeswoman for Ward, said Friday that Krasner’s lawsuit is being reviewed and will provide a response “after we have had time to evaluate the matter.”
The GOP-led committee voted again on November 16 to impeach Krasner, as he now heads to the state Senate for trial next month. To remove the prosecutor, a two-thirds majority would be needed, a tall order in a politically divided chamber.
State House GOP officials are calling for Krasner to be impeached for leniency on sentencing as well as an alleged lack of cruelty on the rise in gun crime. Krasner was re-elected last year in a landslide and was not charged with any crime. He also argues that Krasner obstructed the House investigation in his office, a claim the prosecutor has denied.
At the hearing where members of the State House voted to approve the articles of impeachment, Democrats pointed out that in nearly three centuries of the state’s history, only two officials have been convicted, and they were for actual crimes. : A county judge in 1811 and then state Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen in 1994.
“In this case, the Philadelphia District Attorney has been impeached by a sleazy House of Representatives based primarily on political disagreement, which could not be more different from the criminal conduct at issue,” Krasner’s attorneys wrote.
Last month, Republican Speaker of the House Brian Cutler of Lancaster County appointed Representative Tim Bonner, Republican of Mercer County, and Tim Bonner, of Mercer County. Tim Bonner of Mercer County, and Craig Williams of Delaware County, and Democratic Representatives Jared Solomon of Philadelphia – who voted against impeachment – to manage the Senate trial in the new year.
State Rep. Jared Solomon said, “This is a Trump-style attempt by Republicans to once again squander the vote of Philadelphians.” “If it can happen in Philadelphia, it can happen in any of our 67 countries. We need to protect democracy and that’s why I’m in the room.”
Krasner has until December 21 to file a response, while the trial is scheduled to begin on January 18.