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Watching the detectives:
'No questions, please'

Faced with growing questions and public scrutiny, a subcommittee of the Pennsylvania General Assembly Judiciary Committee dropped the testimony of embattled state government security contractor Russell Wantz from its agenda list of speakers on September 12, 2006.

The hearing, held by the Subcommittee on Courts of the Judiciary Committee, supposedly was called to discuss the integrity and conduct of the commonwealth's private investigators. But the Republican-controlled subcommittee refused to allow Democratic state Rep. Greg Vitali (Delaware County), a member of the Judiciary Committee, to ask any questions whatsoever about particular private investigators, including Wantz.

As this clip begins, three women have just testified that their husband and father had been killed in 2005 by a "deranged" man who had been sold information by a private investigation firm. They said the information allowed the killer to find his victim.

Trouble was, for some reason the witnesses, and the majority on the committee, didn't want to say which private investigations firm supposedly was at fault. Leaving us in the dark, they want to make a law that would adversely affect every citizen and private investigator in the state.

"What was the name of the firm that gave the killer the information?" Rep. Vitali began to ask.

"We deny that question," one of the witnesses immediately replied, apparently coached by the majority Republicans.

"Yeah, I'm going to interject here," Republican subcommittee chairman Craig Dally (Monroe and Northampton Counties) said. "Because of House rules, we're not going to deal with testimony that may be considered defamatory in nature."

As is the case with Wantz's curious attempts to ban The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna, when Republicans are questioned about growing corruption, they increasingly use the phrase "defamation" in an attempt to muzzle free speech, freedoms of the press, and now, even legislative inquiries.

To read the full story click here >>

Posted 9-14-06. 3 min 55 secs.