Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was one of the most powerful men in Pennsylvania, but after being convicted of perjury and obstruction on Monday, she is a now a felon and without a job effective Wednesday evening, according to CNN. Kane finally heeded the calls to leave her position as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General after a jury found her guilty of “unprecedented” criminal charges and misconduct. Kathleen Kane released a statement from her office on Tuesday, reluctantly resigning from her position as Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The announcement came a day after the 50-year-old top prosecutor was found guilty of nine criminal charges, including two felony perjury counts, criminal conspiracy, and obstruction. She was convicted of leaking grand jury information and then lying about it in an effort to discredit political rival prosecutor Frank Fina, who was one of the lead prosecutors in the Jerry Sandusky trial.
“I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days.”
— Christie Ileto (@Christie_Ileto) August 16, 2016
Kane, a Democrat, was elected to office in 2012 and was Pennsylvania’s first elected female attorney general. Although convicted, she continues to deny the accusations. Defense attorney Gerald Shargel informed the waiting media outside the courthouse, that the verdict against his client was a “crushing blow.”
“We will continue this litigation, we will continue this fight because we believe that our client has been wrongfully accused of misconduct.”
The resignation will be effective at the end of the business day Wednesday, and the new acting attorney general will be Kane’s top deputy Bruce L. Castor Jr. Kathleen Kane had resisted earlier calls for her to step down, saying to do so would be an admission of guilt.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has been very clear about wanting Kathleen Kane to step down.
“While there is no simple procedure to remove a civil officer, the office of Attorney General and its employees, as well as the people of Pennsylvania, deserve to move on. I am for attorney general came to do was right: put the commonwealth residents first and step down from office.”
The New York Times reports that Kathleen Kane stared straight ahead as the word “guilty” was read aloud by a juror nine times. Immediately afterward, the lawyers went into a private conference with the judge, leaving Kathleen — who campaigned on a promise to uncover political intrusion in Pennsylvania — left alone at the conference table.
Upon Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy’s return to the courtroom, her words and demeanor were stern, as she warned Kane against any further retaliation.
“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,” she said. “Is that clear?”
“Yes it is, your honor,” Ms. Kane said.
Criminal charges were filed against Kathleen Kane in August of 2015 when she was accused of abusing her position by retaliating against prosecutor Frank Fina by leaking sealed, confidential grand jury documents to the media. Among those documents were emails that were racially, sexually, and religiously offensive from the office of former Attorney General Tom Corbett — who was elected governor in 2010 — that eventually cost two State Supreme Court justices, amongst others, their jobs. Kathleen lost her law license but steadfastly held onto her job as attorney general, despite repeated requests from Governor Tom Wolf to step down.
She blamed her political rival for a critical news report that blamed her for shutting down an undercover investigation involving corrupt Democratic representatives. Her supporters see her conviction as payback for upsetting the state’s old boys network.
Kathleen Kane’s perjury convictions carry potential jail terms and prosecutor Kevin Steele is all for it. “It seemed that we had somebody who felt that she was above the law, and that’s not the case because no one is above the law,” he said. We are a very honorable profession here. We have rules that we have to abide by and there are no exceptions to that.
In an August 10, 2015, statement, Kane said that the criminal charges launched against her were part of ongoing political retribution for requesting that the emails be released to the public, a request that was blocked by Judge William Carpenter in what she called “a tortured interpretation of our state grand jury secrecy law.”
Her attorney Shargel believes that the defense was compromised and the fight will continue.
“We have arguments to make on whether this trial was fair. We intend to pursue all arguments that are available to us. We are not going to walk away from any arguments.”
There is no sentencing date as of yet, but each of Kathleen Kane’s two felony convictions carry up to seven years in prison.
[Photo by Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer/AP Images]