Fetterman has been a staunch supporter of Krasner and his policies for years, endorsing the embattled district attorney and lauding his Conviction Integrity Unit, going as far as saying it should be “mandatory” in every Pennsylvania county.
“[Krasner’s] unwavering commitment to systemic criminal justice reform was resoundingly affirmed with a *true mandate,*” Fetterman tweeted in May of last year. “His efforts have literally saved the innocent from dying in prison.”
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate John Fetterman (Mark Makela/Getty Images)
“His Conviction Integrity Unit model should be mandatory in all of PA’s 67 counties,” the Democrat Senate candidate added.
“The horror of this-and every wrongful conviction-perfectly demonstrates why the Board of Pardons must serve as a de facto Conviction Integrity Unit for Pennsylvania,” Fetterman tweeted in January 2020. “Out of 67 PA counties, only [Krasner] has such a unit.”
Krasner’s Conviction Integrity Unit recently saw Jahmir Harris arrested after allegedly killing again following his previous homicide conviction exoneration and release by the unit.
Harris surrendered to police last week in connection to a Sept. 5 shooting that occurred at 2 a.m. on the 1700 block of North 56th Street and left a 50-year-old man, Charles Gossett, dead after a bullet struck him in the back of his head, according to FOX 29 Philadelphia. He appeared in security footage as the alleged getaway driver.
Krasner’s Conviction Integrity Unit website says the unit “is charged with investigating problematic past convictions for credible claims of actual innocence, wrongful conviction and, where feasible, sentencing inequities.”
“In doing so, prosecutors in this unit strive to increase transparency, integrity and trust in the criminal justice system, holding publicly accountable those who abuse their positions of authority,” the website reads. “When warranted through their investigation, unit prosecutors work to reverse unjust sentences resulting from government misconduct.”
The progressive Philadelphia district attorney’s crime policies have put him in the Pennsylvania House’s hot seat as Republicans push to expedite Krasner’s impeachment.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is facing a potential impeachment and is currently under investigation by the Pennsylvania state House. (FOX 29 Philadelphia)
Krasner is facing a looming impeachment amid a Pennsylvania House investigation into his prosecutorial policies toward the rampant crime in Philadelphia — one that he protested in person at the Keystone State capitol last week.
Now, with Krasner’s impeachment hanging overhead as a political liability and the ever-closing Senate race gap between him and Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, Fetterman appears to be looking for an exit ramp away from the embattled district attorney.
Fetterman has refused to comment on Krasner’s looming impeachment in his capacity as the Keystone State’s lieutenant governor and even recently said he is not in line with all of the district attorney’s policies.
“I think we need to be having a better relationship with the police,” Fetterman said. “And making sure that the police feel they feel supported by the DA.”
Fetterman campaign spokesperson Joe Calvello said that the Democrat Senate candidate agrees and disagrees with Krasner on different issues, but called Harris’ release “a mistake” by the district attorney’s office.
Calvello also said Harris’ release “has absolutely nothing to do” with Fetterman’s work on the Keystone State’s pardon board.
“John disagrees with Krasner on some issues and agrees with him on others, but this situation was clearly a mistake by the DA’s office,” Calvello said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “This incident also has absolutely nothing to do with John’s work on the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, which has been widely praised even by Republican elected officials.”
“John has taken a fair-minded approach to cases, has sided with law enforcement experts nearly 90% of the time, and not one of the individuals that Fetterman worked to free has reoffended since their release,” Calvello said.
Rachel Tripp, the spokesperson for Fetterman’s Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz, told Fox News Digital in an exclusive quote that just “days ago, John Fetterman praised Larry Krasner for releasing convicted murderers like Jahmir Harris.”
“Then, Harris killed again,” Tripp said. “Innocent people across Pennsylvania are already facing the horrific consequences of Fetterman’s soft-on-crime policies.”
Fetterman and Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz will face each other in their first and only debate on Tuesday. The debate will serve as a major test for Fetterman, who is facing questions about his fitness for office after a stroke earlier on in the election cycle. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)
In a press release from Friday, Oz spokesperson Brittany Yanick said “John Fetterman praised Larry Krasner and his Conviction Integrity Unit, saying this type of organization is needed in every county in Pennsylvania.”
“Now, this group and John Fetterman are responsible for releasing a convicted murderer who is wanted in yet another tragic murder. When will this senseless violence stop?” Yanick said. “The answer is never, if John Fetterman gets his way.”
“He wants to release one-third of Pennsylvania’s inmate population, continue pardoning convicted murderers, and let violent criminals run our streets,” she continued. “That’s too extreme for the U.S. Senate and downright deadly for Pennsylvania.”
“There is no integrity to this process,” Krasner said to reporters at the Pennsylvania capitol. “If there was, then I would join them and help them every step of the way. They would look at the entire state, and they would look at some real solutions and some things that can be done to make it better.”
Fetterman and Oz are slated to debate for the first and only time this race on Tuesday.
The gap between the two candidates is closing as Oz looks to defeat Fetterman for the open Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
Tuesday’s debate will serve as a major test for Fetterman, who has faced questions about his fitness for office following a stroke earlier in the election cycle.
Fox News Digital’s Audrey Conklin contributed reporting.
Houston Keene is a politics writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @HoustonKeene