Ex-At­tor­ney Gen sen­tenced to jail, then cuffed in court

Kane jailed over re­tal­i­a­tion scheme

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

For­mer state At­tor­ney Gen­eral Kath­leen Kane, once a ris­ing star in state pol­i­tics, left a court­room in hand­cuffs on Mon­day af­ter get­ting a 10- to 23-month sen­tence for a re­tal­i­a­tion scheme a judge linked to her all-con­sum­ing ego. Kane, 50, also was sen­tenced to eight years of pro­ba­tion by a Mont­gomery County judge, who said Kane’s need for re­venge led her to break the law and then lie to a grand jury. Kane, who was ac­cused of leak­ing se­cret in­ves­tiga­tive files to em­bar­rass a ri­val pros­e­cu­tor, was con­victed of per­jury and ob­struc­tion.

Judge Wendy Dem­chick-Al­loy said Kane as­sumed an “off with your heads” men­tal­ity as she ran the state’s top law en­force­ment agency. The judge called Kane a po­lit­i­cal “neo­phyte” who failed to make the tran­si­tion from politi­cian to public ser­vant when she took of­fice in 2013. Kane, the first woman and first Demo­crat elected as the state’s top pros­e­cu­tor, was re­leased Mon­day af­ter post­ing $75,000 cash bail. She can re­main free while her le­gal team ap­peals her con­vic­tion. “I re­ally don’t care what hap­pens to me,” Kane told the judge. “There is no more tor­ture in the world than to watch your chil­dren suf­fer and know you had some­thing to do with it.” Kane had been a stay-at-home mother in the Scran­ton area and a for­mer as­sis­tant pros­e­cu­tor in Lack­awanna County be­fore us­ing $2 mil­lion of her hus­band’s truck­ing for­tune to run for statewide of­fice in 2012. The judge told her: “Your chil­dren are the ul­ti­mate ... col­lat­eral dam­age. They are ca­su­al­ties of your ac­tions. But you did that, not this court.”

Kane didn’t tes­tify at her trial. She was con­victed in August of two felony counts of per­jury and seven mis­de­meanor charges, and she re­signed the next day. Ear­lier Mon­day, Kane’s 15-year-old son, Chris Kane, pleaded for le­niency while her for­mer deputies de­scribed an of­fice de­mor­al­ized by her lead­er­ship and ter­ror­ized by “Nixo­nian es­pi­onage.” Kane ar­gued that the loss of her ca­reer, law li­cense and rep­u­ta­tion was pun­ish­ment enough. She had asked the judge to sen­tence her to pro­ba­tion or house ar­rest so she could be home to raise her sons. She and her hus­band are now es­tranged and share cus­tody of the teenage boys.

The one-term at­tor­ney gen­eral said her younger son, 14-year-old Zachary Kane, did not at­tend Mon­day’s sen­tenc­ing be­cause “he couldn’t even bear it.” Pros­e­cu­tors called her crimes “egre­gious” and pushed for jail time af­ter the de­fense sought pro­ba­tion or house ar­rest. They said a paranoid Kane ru­ined morale in the 800-per­son of­fice and the wider law en­force­ment com­mu­nity, burn­ing bridges among state, lo­cal and fed­eral agen­cies. “Through a pat­tern of sys­temic fir­ings and Nixo­nian es­pi­onage, she cre­ated a ter­ror zone in this of­fice,” said Erik Olsen, a ca­reer pros­e­cu­tor who’s now the chief deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral. Kane en­joyed mostly good press early on as she sup­ported gay mar­riage, ramped up a child preda­tor unit run by her twin sis­ter and ques­tioned her pre­de­ces­sor’s han­dling of the Penn State child sex as­sault case. Kane’s feud with one of the pros­e­cu­tors, Frank Fina, who had helped run the Penn State probe and other sen­si­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tions, led to the leak. Kane, tak­ing aim at Fina, had a cam­paign consultant pass con­fi­den­tial files to a re­porter about a cor­rup­tion case he had de­clined to charge be­fore he left the of­fice, author­i­ties said.

She then tried to frame some­one else for the leak, aides tes­ti­fied. Aside from the con­vic­tion, Kane’s po­lit­i­cal ca­reer will be re­mem­bered for her in­ves­ti­ga­tion of pornog­ra­phy that she said was be­ing traded on state com­put­ers by judges, lawyers and other public em­ploy­ees. Two state Supreme Court jus­tices re­signed amid the fall­out. Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kevin Steele, also a Demo­crat, said the jail term was a long time com­ing. “She said, ‘This was war,’ and truth be­came a ca­su­alty,” he said, quot­ing from a Kane email about her ri­vals.— AP

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