Porngate’s Frank Fina is the indicted Penn State frat president’s lawyer

The disgraced former investigator takes a seat for the defense in the high-profile scandal.

Fina, who resigned from the Philly District Attorney's office last year, walks out of the arraignment of former Penn State fraternity president Brendan Young.

Fina, who resigned from the Philly District Attorney's office last year, walks out of the arraignment of former Penn State fraternity president Brendan Young.

Linsey Fagan/Courtesy The Daily Collegian
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He’s back.

When former Penn State fraternity president Brendan Young appeared at the Centre County courthouse for his arraignment in the Penn State fraternity death scandal last week he was represented by a familiar name for people who follow the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania political scene: Frank Fina.

It’s the first high-profile case he has been involved in since leaving Seth Williams’ district attorney office last year and after being ensnared in the Porngate scandal.

Fina did not respond to an interview request. When he left the District Attorney’s office last summer, he said he was resigning under his own accord. Before then, community leaders and politicians had spent months calling for Fina’s ouster.

As part of former Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s release of porny emails sent by state officials, it was revealed Fina had sent some of the most explicit images and messages. One email sent from Fina showed a topless woman giving oral sex to a man with the caption, “WILLINGNESS: Bend over backwards to do an exceptional job.” Another showed a white man with a bucket of fried chicken surrounded by two black men with the caption, “Bravery at its finest.” Williams stood by Fina and after he resigned and said through a spokesperson he wished Fina the best.     

The scandal tarnished Fina’s reputation as one of Pennsylvania’s top prosecutors. He was a lead investigator in the Bonusgate scandal that led to the conviction of 23 legislators and aides and in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case and Graham Spanier child endangerment case.

He moved to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office after Kane became Attorney General. It’s believed Fina leaked a story to the Inquirer about an investigation of Philly politicians spiked by Kane. Kane later leaked a story to the Daily News about an investigation of former NAACP leader J. Whyatt Mondesire that was spiked by Fina.

Kane, of course, was sentenced to jail for that leak of confidential grand jury information and perjury. Williams, of course, is facing a trial that could lead to prison time.

And now, as the attorney for the former president of the Penn State Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Fina is back in the spotlight, too. His client, Young, who is from Malvern, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, evidence tampering, hazing and alcohol-related charges in the death of Timothy Piazza.

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