Compared To, Supported By Clinton, Pennsylvania AG Kathleen Kane Convicted: Perjury, Obstruction, Conspiracy

Dawn Papple

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, once considered a Democratic rising star and supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton in her successful 2012 campaign for AG, was found guilty late Monday night on nine criminal charges including perjury, obstruction, and conspiracy.

Kane was elected in 2012 and was once presumed the Democratic Party’s next candidate for governor of Pennsylvania or the U.S. Senate, according to Philly.com. The New York Times said that Kane “was one of the most powerful women in Pennsylvania.”

Kathleen Kane was the first female attorney general in Pennsylvania, but she is now at the center of national discussion because people say her scandals are strikingly similar to Clinton’s scandals, and because Kane relied on support from the Clintons and their associates when she was campaigning for her ill-fated attorney general seat.

Kane was born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and was publicly endorsed by Bill Clinton, according to the Times-Tribune. In a twist of irony, Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden were in Scranton campaigning together for Clinton’s presidential run on Monday, the same day as the attorney general’s conviction. Scranton is also Biden’s hometown. As AG Kane awaited her fate in a courtroom in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Clinton and Biden gave their rally in front of about 3,000 people just over an hour away, according to Heavy.

Kane was convicted Monday after a jury decided that she leaked secret grand jury documents about an investigation to the Daily News in an effort to discredit the case’s prosecutor, Frank Fina. Then, Kane lied about her involvement in the leak. Kane reportedly leaked the documents in an effort to embarrass Fina to avenge her own embarrassment.

Before Kane leaked the information about Fina, Kane had to cope with shame from an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer that criticized her for shutting down an undercover investigation. To muddy the waters further, the investigation Kane reportedly shut down was a deep look into corruption among Democratic state representatives. The story claimed that Kane didn’t want lawmakers within her own party exposed for corruption. Kane believed that Frank Fina fed the newspaper that story, which tarnished her reputation, according to the New York Times.

“This is war,” Kane wrote in an email, talking about her retaliation plans. “Wars have casualties. Wars leave scars.”

In a muted but real-life Game of Thrones, Kane couldn’t walk away from her war unscathed.

When the Philadelphia Inquirer story broke, Kane believed that she was being exposed only because she brought down some of the “good old boys” in Pennsylvania for their pornographic and racist emails in 2014. After Kane exposed the emails, many high-ranking men in the state were brought down. Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin even resigned in association with Kane’s work.

“I couldn’t believe there was violence involved, and I couldn’t believe this wasn’t just some Playboy photos… 398 pages, much of it hard-core porn,” Kane once told ABC’s Nightline.

Although it is not the focus of Kane’s conviction, there is another chapter of Kane’s story that people are talking about Tuesday: The once-powerful Attorney General Kathleen Kane routinely used personal email accounts to conduct official business.

In fact, Kane transmitted confidential information, including the identities of undercover agents, over her personal email account. And yes, there was an official office ban against the use of personal email accounts for official state business. Kane either sent or received almost 4,000 work-related emails on her personal email accounts between January 2013 and August 2015, according to the Associated Press.

Kane defended her use of personal email accounts for work-related matters at the time.

“That policy was set by a previous AG. I had no knowledge of its existence nor did anyone indicate that this policy was in effect. We are not the Department of Justice.”

According to the AP, though, among Kane’s own emails was an August 2014 email in which Kane told an aide to remind senior staff members that her personal email “is not secure and should not be used.” Nevertheless, Kane used it herself to send emails that included confidential information.

Clinton’s opponents, including some Republicans and some progressive Democrats, say that they can’t help but draw parallels between Clinton and Kathleen Kane.

In an odd twist, Kane’s own email scandal broke right before the Pennsylvania Democratic primary election, and Pennsylvania Democrats were reportedly worried that the email scandal could further spotlight Hillary Clinton’s email scandal as voters headed to their polling locations. Neither Kane’s legal troubles nor Kane’s email scandal ended up harming Clinton in the primary election, though. Ultimately, Hillary Clinton took Pennsylvania despite the legal challenges faced by party leaders who supported her, including the more recent fall of AG Kathleen Kane.

On Monday, after Kane was found guilty of two counts of perjury, two counts of obstructing justice, two counts of false swearing, two counts of conspiracy, and one count of criminal conspiracy, Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy warned Kane not to retaliate against any witness involved in the case while she awaits her sentencing.

“There is to be absolutely no retaliation of any kind against any witness in this case, either by your own devices, from your own mouth or your hand, or directing anybody to do anything.”

Pennsylvania law says that Kane cannot hold her AG seat with a felony conviction, but she doesn’t actually have to resign until her sentencing, which could take as many as 90 days.

[Image via Montgomery County Sheriff]