District attorneys looking into White’s anonymous online commentsPublished Jun 7, 2013 at 10:57 am (Updated Jun 7, 2013 at 10:57 am)
Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone and his counterpart in Harrisburg are working together to determine if state Rep. Jesse White committed any crimes while posting anonymous comments on various Internet message boards.
Vittone said he is taking the “appropriate steps” upon receiving several complaints after White admitted to posting anonymous comments from numerous aliases. He would not elaborate on whether they have found any evidence of criminal activity.
“I’m aware of the situation,” Vittone said.
Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico echoed that statement and said he is working closely with Vittone to see if any of the comments were posted by White in Harrisburg. Even if he did, Marsico said it’s unclear if White broke any laws.
“We agreed to work together as this process unfolds,” Marsico said. “All I’ve seen to this point are the media reports. Whether some criminal activity occurred is unknown.”
White acknowledged that he posted comments on a Marcellus Shale blog and the Observer-Reporter attacking some constituents who support natural gas drilling.
Meanwhile, White met with Democratic House Minority Leader Frank Dermody on June 3 to discuss the situation. Democratic Party leaders would not elaborate on what was discussed during the private meeting.
White said on June 5 that he has not been contacted by either district attorney and signaled that he’s ready to move forward from the controversy and concentrate on his job.
“I’m moving forward and focusing on my legislative duties,” White said.
State Republican Party leaders could not be reached for comment.
State Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, said he expects some of the complaints against White will be taken up in civil court. Solobay was among those attacked by White in the anonymous posts. Democratic House attorneys are reviewing case law to give them direction on how to respond to the situation, Solobay said.
Staff writer Scott Beveridge contributed to this report.