By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane today was vigorously defending her decision not to bring charges against several state lawmakers from the Philadelphia area caught on tape accepting illegal payments.

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At a press conference in Harrisburg, Kane said the biggest reason she believes the investigation is fatally flawed is the credibility of the informant posing as a lobbyist who allegedly captured audio of the lawmakers accepting payments.

She says the informant was charged in a massive fraud case before he agreed to wear a wire and operate under cover with investigators.

“Those charges involved stealing from the mouths of poor children and seniors, and his involvement in the theft from a nonprofit,” according to Kane.

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Another big reason for cancelling the prosecutions, Kane says, is her allegation that an order had been given to target only black legislators.

“We have two independent sources who reported it to two independent law enforcement agencies, and we also have documentary evidence. That was enough for us to make it one of the factors (not to prosecute)” she said today.

Her decision, she says, comes even though there is evidence that certain legislators were taking money — and that, she adds, is a crime.

Kane says the investigation was poorly managed and that at least two other law enforcement agencies reviewed the case and agreed that it could not be salvaged.

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