For­mer AG Kath­leen Kane be­gan jail time in 2018

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - NEWS - By Carl Hessler Jr. [email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @mont­co­court­news on Twit­ter

NORRISTOWN >> Dis­graced for­mer Penn­syl­va­nia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Kath­leen Grana­han Kane’s at­tempts to avoid time be­hind bars for her 2016 per­jury con­vic­tion ended in Novem­ber when a state court tossed her ap­peal and a judge or­dered her to re­port to jail.

Kane, 52, whose le­gal woes played out in a Mont­gomery County court­room and dom­i­nated head­lines both lo­cally and statewide for more than two years, re­ported to the county jail in Lower Prov­i­dence on Nov. 29 to be­gin serv­ing a 10-to-23-month sen­tence in con­nec­tion with her Au­gust 2016 con­vic­tion of charges 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.

Kane’s life be­hind bars is a stark con­trast to the life she once led as the first Demo­crat and the first woman ever elected at­tor­ney gen­eral. In­stead of hold­ing news con­fer­ences an­nounc­ing ar­rests in high-pro­file state pros­e­cu­tions and at­tend­ing meet­ings with state leg­is­la­tors, Kane’s typ­i­cal daily sched­ule as an in­mate at the county jail now in­cludes lunch be­fore noon, din­ner at 4:30 p.m. and lights out at 10 p.m.

When Kane sur­ren­dered to county au­thor­i­ties last month, Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kevin R. Steele said her in­car­cer­a­tion sent a mes­sage that “no one is above the law” and said it closed an “un­for­tu­nate chap­ter for the peo­ple of Penn­syl­va­nia.”

“As the jail door shuts her in, a strong mes­sage is be­ing sent that no one is above the law. No one. Not even the chief law en­force­ment of­fi­cer of the Com­mon­wealth,” Steele said in a pre­pared state­ment, just hours af­ter Kane sur­ren­dered to au­thor­i­ties.

Steele added, “jus­tice has fi­nally been served.”

Steele said Kane, a for­mer Lack­awanna County pros­e­cu­tor who was elected at­tor­ney gen­eral in 2012, not only abused her power to serve a per­sonal vendetta, she com­mit­ted crim­i­nal acts by dis­clos­ing se­cret grand jury and in­ves­tiga­tive in­for­ma­tion and then gave false tes­ti­mony un­der oath to try and cover up what she had done.

In May, the Penn­syl­va­nia Su­pe­rior Court up­held Kane’s con­vic­tion and sen­tence. On Nov 26, the Penn­syl­va­nia Supreme Court de­cided not to hear Kane’s most re­cent ap­peal, set­ting the stage for her to be­gin serv­ing her sen­tence. Af­ter her con­vic­tion in 2016, Kane was per­mit­ted to re­main free on bail pend­ing the out­come of her state ap­peals.

Judge Wendy Dem­chick­Al­loy, on Nov. 27, or­dered Kane to sur­ren­der to jail of­fi­cials no later than 9 a.m. Nov. 29.

On Aug. 15, 2016, Kane, a mother of two teenage boys, was con­victed of charges of per­jury, ob­struct­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion of law, of­fi­cial op­pres­sion, false swear­ing and con­spir­acy. The jury de­ter­mined Kane 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 ar­gued Kane did so to ex­act “re­venge” on a for­mer state pros­e­cu­tor with whom she was feud­ing.

At trial, 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 a sting op­er­a­tion which was led by a for­mer state pros­e­cu­tor, Frank Fina.

Dur­ing the 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 to the 35th statewide grand jury in Novem­ber 2014 to cover up her leaks by ly­ing un­der oath 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.

Kane re­signed from her post two days af­ter her con­vic­tion.

At Kane’s Oct. 24, 2016, sen­tenc­ing hear­ing, Steele and Henry sought prison time against the one­time ris­ing po­lit­i­cal star.

“What I strug­gle with here, is she knew bet­ter. She knew bet­ter,” Steele ar­gued. “But know­ing bet­ter didn’t mat­ter when it came to re­tal­i­a­tion, when it came to vin­dic­tive­ness.”

“What this de­fen­dant did was dis­grace­ful. She put her own de­sire for per­sonal re­venge above ev­ery­thing else, above the cit­i­zens of this state, above the hard­work­ing pros­e­cu­tors and the staff of the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice. Ev­ery­body de­served bet­ter,” Henry added.

In her ap­peals, Kane cited nine al­le­ga­tions of trial er­ror, in­clud­ing the de­nial of her pre­trial mo­tion to re­cuse all county judges from hear­ing her trial based on her con­tention that Judges Wil­liam R. Car­pen­ter, Carolyn T. Car­luc­cio and Risa Vetri Fer­man had close ties to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion sur­round­ing her.

Kane’s un­suc­cess­ful ap­peals also chal­lenged the de­nial of her pre­trial re­quest to dis­miss the case due to “se­lec­tive and vin­dic­tive pros­e­cu­tion.”

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.

CARL HESSLER JR. — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

For­mer Penn­syl­va­nia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Kath­leen G. Kane leaves a Mont­gomery County Court­room af­ter a 2016 court pro­ceed­ing. On Tues­day, pros­e­cu­tors asked a judge to re­voke bail for Kane, who was con­victed of per­jury in 2016, now that she has ex­hausted her state ap­peals.

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