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Any charges against Wagner would go to the state AG

Written by Rick Lee/York Daily Record | May 5, 2017 7:43 AM
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Wagner announced his intention to run for governor at a press conference in one of his waste-hauling facilities. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)

Watchdog group threatens to press charges against Wagner if camera memory card not returned

(Undated) -- State Sen. Scott Wagner is so closely connected with top prosecutors in York County that if criminal charges are filed against him for an incident this week , the case would need to be referred to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.

That incident was Wagner taking a camera from a photographer who was recording him speak to the York County Estate Planning Council at The Country Club of York, a private club in the upscale Wyndham Hills area.

The self-made millionaire, who intends to be the next governor of Pennsylvania, is a longtime friend of District Attorney Tom Kearney. He is on the leadership campaign committee to help Chief Deputy Prosecutor David Sunday become Kearney's hand-picked successor. Wagner even sits on the York County Heroin Task Force with the chief of the police department who would need to decide whether to file charges.

Intellectual property lawyer Bert P. Krages II says Wagner exceeded his rights and possibly committed a crime at a private event on Tuesday Sean Heisey, York Daily Record

 

Kearney on Thursday said he would not let anyone from his office touch this case. If Wagner is criminally charged, he would refer the matter to the state Attorney General's Office.

"I have known Scott Wagner personally for 35 years," Kearney said on Thursday, "He is active in his support of Mr. Sunday.

"In my opinion, it is an absolutely clear conflict of interest. Neither I nor my office can prosecute if I have a conflict of interest."

Also on Thursday, a group that opposes Wagner politically says it will file charges if he does not return a camera memory card he took from its photographer on Tuesday.

"@SenScottWagner: We know you're angry, but we demand you return our stolen property (SD card) or we'll press charges. #pagov," American Bridge 21st Century tweeted on Thursday.

American Bridge is a group that follows and records politicians and candidates in hopes of recording something to use against them. The organization describes itself as "a progressive research and communications organization committed to holding Republicans accountable for their words and actions ..."

Wagner took umbrage on Tuesday that one of the group's "trackers" had slipped into a gathering where he was speaking.

On the resulting video that has since gone national, Wagner is seen forcibly taking the camera over the photographer's protests. By Thursday, the senator's actions on film were being used by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

unday said he viewed the video of the incident between Wagner and the American Bridge photographer on the Daily Record website.

He said he has had no involvement in the Spring Garden Township Police investigation and has no further knowledge of the incident.

He deferred questions about the case to Kearney and said he expected this incident to have no repercussions for his campaign.

Wagner did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday. As he did on Wednesday, he posted his version of events on his gubernatorial campaign website under the heading "Democrat Dirty Tricks."

In that statement, Wagner alleges that the American Bridge photographer "gained entry to the event under false pretenses," "recorded the conversations at this private meeting without the consent of those in attendance," and, "When it became clear that the tracker would not stop recording and leave the event, I took the initiative to remove the camera until the police could arrive."

Wagner added that "American Bridge's mission is to disrupt conservative gatherings and intimidate Republicans - just like they attempted to do this past Tuesday."

This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

 

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