News Briefing: Feb. 26-March 3, 2016

D.A. subpoenaed for Knott materials

Attorneys for Francis McGlinn recently subpoenaed the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for investigative materials relating to its prosecution of Kathryn Knott. 


The subpoena seeks “any and all documents which refer or relate in any way to the investigation and/or prosecution of Kathryn Knott including, but not limited to, any and all interview notes or other documents which make reference to Francis McGlinn.”

McGlinn, who reportedly was present during a Center City assault of two gay men in 2014, is suing Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and Archdiocese spokesperson Kenneth A. Garvin for allegedly slandering him.

Shortly after the assault, McGlinn lost his position as an assistant basketball coach at Archbishop Wood High School. But McGlinn hasn’t been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

McGlinn’s lawsuit detailing his allegations hadn’t been filed as of presstime.

This month, Knott was sentenced to five to 10 months in jail after being convicted of four misdemeanors stemming from the assault. She remains incarcerated while an appeal of her sentence is pending.

In October, Philip R. Williams and Kevin J. Harrigan received probation for their roles in the assault.  Williams pleaded guilty to a felony, and Harrigan pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors.

Cameron Kline, a spokesperson for the D.A.’s Office, declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

Defendant in sex case undergoes surgery

Charles L. Cohen, a Center City musician charged with multiple sex offenses, recently underwent knee surgery. As a result, a pre-trial conference set for Feb. 8 has been postponed until next month. 

Cohen was arrested Sept. 28 after traveling to a shopping complex in Upper Providence Township, where he allegedly intended to meet a 14-year-old boy for oral sex. Upon his arrival, Cohen was arrested by law-enforcement authorities engaged in a sting operation.

Cohen, 70, is charged with unlawful contact with a minor, criminal attempt of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child and criminal use of a communication facility. 

Attorneys for Cohen say he’s the victim of entrapment, and they’ve expressed concern that police and prosecutors are motivated by homophobia.

Cohen posted $100,000 cash bail on Oct. 28, and he’s been free since then.

A pre-trial conference is set for 9 a.m. March 7 before Common Pleas Judge Gail A. Weilheimer in Courtroom 3 of the Montgomery County Court House in Norristown. 

Deadline extended in antibias case 

Alfred W. Zaher, an openly gay attorney who allegedly left the Blank Rome law firm due to a hostile work environment, has agreed to a deadline extension in the dispute. 

Zaher recently filed suit against Blank Rome, seeking more than $50,000 in damages. 

Blank Rome was supposed to answer Zaher’s complaint by Feb. 23.  But both sides agreed to extend the deadline until March 14, according to court records. 

Zaher claims anti-LGBT bias at the firm became intolerable after he organized an LGBT-equality event in early 2014. He also claims coworkers attempted to “steal” three of his clients. 

In a prior statement, Blank Rome officials described Zaher’s allegations as “baseless,” and vowed to mount a vigorous defense.

Zaher, who specializes in intellectual-property rights, currently works at the Center City law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll.

— Timothy Cwiek

‘The Queen’ screened as qFLIX fundraiser

qFLIX kicks off its fundraising campaign for this summer’s LGBTQ film festival with a screening of “The Queen,” a documentary chronicling the Miss All-America Camp Beauty Pageant of 1967. 

It takes place 2-5 p.m. Feb. 28 at Tavern on Camac, 243 S. Camac St. A $10 donation is suggested, but $5 will be accepted for those who arrive in drag and are deemed “extremely fabulous” by Brittany Lynn, performed by Ian Morrison.

The drag queen pageant in “The Queen” features its winner Rachel Harlow, a Philadelphia native who transitioned after the contest. Pop artist Andy Warhol appears as one of the judges. Frank Simon directed the documentary. 

The door prize at the event includes a pair of VIP all-access passes to qFLIX Philadelphia 2016, slated for July 5-10. For more information, visit 

— Paige Cooperstein