Pennsylvania Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, was found guilty of nine criminal charges by a jury Monday for leaking grand jury related information about a political rival to a Philadelphia Daily News reporter. After leaking the information, she then lied under oath about it in a scandal that stirred concern among the state government in Harrisburg.
Kane was the first woman, and also the first Democrat, to be elected as the AG in Pennsylvania. She was convicted of a total of nine criminal charges, including two counts of felony perjury and seven misdemeanor counts of abusing her office. The charges included obstruction of justice when she attempted to discredit Frank Fina, the former state prosecutor. Kane will be sentenced on October 24 where she faces up to 28 years in prison.
Kane’s former political consultant, Josh Morrow, also testified at her trial, stating that he had conspired with Kane to illegally leak the grand jury documents. The documents were about a 2009 state corruption investigation. Morrow later tried to frame Kane’s chief deputy for the crime.
Kane was ordered to surrender her passport by Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy. Kane was warned that there has to be no retaliation against any witness in this case. Failure to do so will result in immediate incarceration, threatened Demchick-Alloy.
On Tuesday, Kane announced that she is resigning as attorney general as required under state law. She refused to step down as attorney general when she was indicted last year.
According to Kane, she had been targeted as a result of retaliation for exposing corrupt “old boys network” where judges and prosecutors had allegedly passed around “one million emails.” Those emails contained pornographic images of women and children on state government computers.
Titled as the “Porngate” scandal, it resulted in the early retirements of Seamus McCaffery and Michael Eakin, the former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices. The scandal also resulted in reprimands of several other state employees.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Fina was also caught up in the scandal. He had previously prosecuted Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky for child sexual abuse, but resigned from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in June. Fina accused Kane of using the pornographic emails as a weapon in her “personal and political vendetta” against him.
Kane was denied the right to use the emails as evidence at her trial by Judge Demchick-Alloy. Her attorney, Gerald Shargel, did not call any witnesses in her defense.
Shargel called the verdict “a crushing blow.” He said he would appeal the judge’s decision to exclude the emails saying, “We have been denied the opportunity to mount a full defense.”