FOX 29 Investigates: Corruption Sting Lead Investigator Speaks

FOX 29 Investigates: Lead Investigator In Corruption Sting Speaks Out

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PHILADELPHIA -

The lead investigator in a corruption sting that entangled five leading Philadelphia Democrats is speaking out for the first time, and he's speaking only to FOX 29 News.

The public officials are accused of accepting bribes and gifts. However, the Pennsylvania Attorney General dropped the case and claims there are indications of racial targeting.

Claude Thomas says he rose from the streets of North Philly to become a top investigator in the offices of the Pennsylvania Attorney General and now with the Philly District Attorney's Office.

When asked why he decided to speak with FOX 29 he said,"To hopefully set the record straight. Unfortunately, because of Attorney General (Kathleen) Kane's statement, I have people calling me a racist."

The 26-year law enforcement veteran says he's heard the ugly taunt since the Philadelphia Inquirer broke the bombshell that four Philly-area state representatives and a former traffic court judge were caught on tape taking cash and a gift in exchange for votes and favors.

The man with the money, a confidential informant, had been sent in by the Office of the Attorney General in a corruption sting that was later shut down by new Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

"There are four reasons why we were unable to prosecute this case. One of them was, is that there were indications that there were racial targeting," Kane said.

Thomas was the lead investigator in the case.

He says claims of racial targeting are false.

"I am extremely outraged that not only is my name now being mentioned, but it's being mentioned just to be tarnished. No one would, again, ever suggest asking, ordering me to target members of my own race or any race. It just would not happen," Thomas said.

A Kane spokesperson, on the phone Tuesday, said the Attorney General stands by her statement that there were indications of racial targeting.

Thomas, who describes himself as the confidential informant's handler, giving him cash and wiring him for pictures and sound, says they approached politicians and lobbyists the informant knew, and they had contact with over 50 people.

"There was several members of both the House and the Senate, Caucasian as well as African-American, who requested a number of things. Some requested cash, some requested tickets, some requested that we sponsor events. Some requested that we meet with them within their district to discuss what we could do for them," Thomas said.

Thomas believes the now dead case could have done some good.

"It was probably the most significant public corruption investigation in the history of Pennsylvania and could have gone beyond. It could have been replicated in other states. Attorney General Kane is wrong. That case was not dead upon her arrival," Thomas said.

The four representatives and the traffic court judge have not been charged. Representatives Waters, Bishop and Brown have declined comment, and Brownlee has said she doesn't recall.

Former Judge Tynes has acknowledged she got a bracelet.

Next up is the possible release of investigative documents ordered by a judge.

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