Pa. Supreme Court to investigate alleged conflicts of Abu-Jamal case

Kristen Johanson
February 24, 2020 - 4:16 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will appoint a special investigator to look into how the Mumia Abu-Jamal case is being handled by Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, among allegations of conflicts of interest.

In a rare move, the state Supreme Court granted, in part, Maureen Faulkner's King’s Bench petition from November, ordering a “special master to investigate” claims that Krasner is mishandling the case.

The move clears a major hurdle for Faulkner, whose husband, Philadelphia Police Officer Danny Faulkner, was killed in 1981. Abu-Jamal was later convicted of first-degree murder for his death.

Maureen Faulkner alleges several conflicts: Employees who used to represent Abu-Jamal in some capacity now sit as supervisors in the District Attorney’s Office, she said. And, Krasner’s wife, Lisa Rau, used to work in the same law firm that represented Abu-Jamal.

Krasner contested the petition and said no one who has worked on the Abu-Jamal case in the past has any involvement in their decision-making.

Related: City prosecutors drop murder charges against man who previously won landmark Supreme Court appeal

In the coming months, the state Supreme Court will appoint a lawyer or law firm to investigate the claims and make recommendations to the court on whether the District Attorney’s Office should be removed from the case.

In a statement, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 said it was thrilled with the court’s decision.

“This is the first-step to remove DA Krasner from this most important case for Maureen Faulkner, Danny’s family and our supporting officers,” said John McNesby, FOP president. “Our members stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Maureen, opposed to any and all frivolous appeals filed on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal.” 

A spokeswoman for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office declined to comment, saying it does not comment on pending litigation.