Kane appeals perjury conviction
Former attorney general makes case to a state court
Disgraced former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane has appealed to a state court her conviction and the jail term she received last month from a Montgomery County judge on perjury and abuse of power charges.
Kane, through her new lawyer, Joshua D. Lock, of Harrisburg, filed notice of the appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court on Tuesday. A copy of the appeal also was filed in county court.
In the one-page notice of appeal Lock, who was hired by Kane earlier this month, did not reveal any specific claims he intends to argue on behalf of the state’s former top law enforcer. He simply attached a court docket history of Kane’s case to the notice.
But now that Kane has appealed the 10-to-23month county jail term she received on Oct. 24, Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy will have to place her reasons for the sentence in writing.
Meanwhile, Kane, 50, a former Lackawanna County prosecutor who was elected attorney general in 2012 and once was considered a rising star among Democrats, was permitted to remain free on $75,000 cash bail pending the outcome of her appeal. Kane spent only a few hours at the county jail after her sentence was imposed and before she posted that bail.
During last month’s sentencing hearing, Demchickalloy characterized Kane’s conduct as “deliberate, calculated and vengeful” and said perjury is “the ultimate assault on the judicial system.”
With an additional eight years of probation ordered by the judge, Kane will be under court supervision for 10 years.
District Attorney Kevin R. Steele argued for time behind bars for Kane.
Defense lawyer Marc Robert Steinberg, who represented Kane only at the sentencing hearing, sought leniency for Kane in the form of house arrest or probation.
On Aug. 15, Kane, the first Democrat and the first woman ever elected attorney general, was convicted of charges of perjury, obstructing administration of law, official oppression, false swearing and conspiracy.
The jury determined she orchestrated the illegal disclosure of secret grand jury information to the media and then engaged in acts designed to conceal and cover up her conduct. Steele and co-prosecutor Michelle Henry alleged Kane did so to exact “revenge” on a former state prosecutor with whom she was feuding.
Prosecutors argued Kane’s quest for revenge took root on March 16, 2014, when she read a Philadelphia Inquirer article that was “critical” of her for failing to pursue criminal charges against some Philadelphia politicians and for shutting down that sting operation which was led by a former state prosecutor, Frank Fina.
At trial, witnesses testified Kane believed Fina was responsible for the negative publicity.
To retaliate against Fina, Steele and Henry alleged, Kane orchestrated the release to a reporter of a memo, emails and the transcript of an interview pertaining to the 2009 Investigating Grand Jury No. 29, an investigation that centered on a Philadelphia civil rights official, which Fina supervised and then didn’t pursue charges. Prosecutors argued the civil rights official, who was never charged with any crime, was harmed by the release of the grand jury information.
Kane also was convicted of lying under oath to the 35th statewide grand jury in November 2014 to cover up her leaks when she claimed she never agreed to maintain her secrecy regarding the 2009 grand jury investigation.
Prosecutors said they discovered evidence that Kane signed a so-called “secrecy oath” on her second day in office on Jan. 17, 2013, promising her secrecy for statewide investigating grand juries one through 32. The oath compelled Kane to maintain the secrecy of all matters occurring before past and present statewide grand juries, prosecutors alleged.
Kane did not testify at her trial.
However, throughout the investigation, Kane claimed she did nothing wrong and implied the charges were part of an effort to force her out of office because she discovered pornographic emails being exchanged between state employees on state email addresses.
However, a judge ruled Kane could not raise the pornographic email defense at trial.
Kane’s previous trial lawyers once hinted that could be the basis for her appeal.
Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane at her preliminary hearing at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown Nov. 10, 2015.