Sep 27, 2022 - News

How to fake it: Larry Krasner impeachment effort

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is urging state lawmakers to allow him to testify at a set of hearings this week centered on whether he deserves to be impeached over rising gun violence in the city.

  • If you haven't been following every update on the GOP-led impeachment effort, or just want a refresher, we've got you covered. Here's what you need to know:

Why it matters: The impeachment process — which Krasner's supporters claim amounts to political theater — has rarely been used in Pennsylvania, and the DA argues that state lawmakers lack the power to remove local officials from office.

What they're saying: Krasner says he hasn't committed an impeachable offense, as outlined by the state Constitution, while his supporters say those leading the effort are trying to disenfranchise voters who twice elected the Democrat by wide margins.

  • "This is not coming from some real concern about crime," Krasner recently told The Atlantic about the attempt. "Our city is giving out longer sentences, including under my administration, so that's a total red herring."

The other side: Republican state Rep. John Lawrence, who chairs the select committee investigating Philly's crime and Krasner's possible impeachment, accused the progressive prosecutor of stonewalling lawmakers.

  • "No one is above the law. The House of Representatives has clear authority under the Pennsylvania Constitution, state law, case law, and the Rules of the House to pursue this legislative initiative,” he previously told the Inquirer.

The big picture: Philadelphia has for large parts of 2022 looked set to eclipse last year's homicide record. As of late Monday, though, there were slightly fewer homicides so far this year compared to 2021.

Catch up fast: The effort began in July, when House lawmakers formed the Select Committee to Restore Law and Order.

  • It heated up this month after Krasner was held in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena to turn over documents to the committee.
  • Krasner filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court against the committee to try to quash the subpoena, calling the effort "illegal" and "anti-Democratic."
  • Lawmakers refused to wait for a decision from the court, voting 162-38 to hold Krasner in contempt. Dozens of Democrats, including many from Philly, voted with Republicans against the DA.

The latest: The committee will hold hearings on Thursday and Friday at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia.

  • Krasner called for lawmakers to relocate the hearings to somewhere more accessible to Philadelphians and that he be permitted to testify.
  • Jason Gottesman, a House Republican spokesperson, told the Pennsylvania Capital-Star that Krasner could be invited to answer questions under oath "if in the course of its investigation the Select Committee finds it appropriate."

The bottom line: A majority of the House must support impeachment before a trial would be held by the Senate, where a conviction requires a two-thirds vote.


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