Politicized Prosecution Shut Down in Chester County

Earlier this week, The Daily Local News reported that an attorney criticized a prior prosecution for pursuing cases involving the Mariner East Pipeline project against “innocent people.” The attorney argued on behalf of two state constables who were cleared by a Chester County Common Pleas Court judge last week of felony charges in what Chester County’s former chief prosecutor called a “buy-a-badge scheme.”

Back and forth, this case has been put through the ringer. There have been many critics of the arc of the criminal cases involving the controversial and much-maligned pipeline project that were brought against multiple defendants by the D.A.’s Office since 2019.  Spokesman for the pro-pipeline organization Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance, Kurt Knaus, called the prosecutions “gamesmanship,” saying that District Attorney Tom Hogan was trying one last time to torpedo the Mariner East project before he left office. Knaus stated: 

“This has never been about public safety or the environment,” he said Thursday. “Issues related to pipeline development fall to the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, both of which have proven to be on the job as tough regulators to ensure work on the project is done responsibly. This was just one more frivolous lawsuit in a long line of frivolous lawsuits, and Pennsylvanians deserve better than this kind of gamesmanship.”

Defense attorney Dan Bush, of the West Chester law firm of Lamb McErlane, declared himself “ecstatic” about the outcome of the case. The District Attorney’s office has spent enormous amounts of time, effort, and taxpayer money to convict innocent people “that are even tangentially associated with the pipeline for causes and political reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with whether the individual did anything wrong,” as Bush said. 

All in all, these Mariner East cases are finally being seen by the majority of parties involved as the true “political theater” that they are. In this instance, the drama has been called out and the pipeline has prevailed.