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Top Pennsylvania prosecutor faces criminal arraignment

Posted by on Aug. 8, 2015 at 7:07 AM
  • 2 Replies
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's top prosecutor is taking on the new role of criminal defendant.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who faces charges including a felony count of perjury, is to be arraigned Saturday afternoon in the Philadelphia suburb of Montgomery County on closed-circuit TV. The district judge will be nearly 10 miles away.

Kane is accused of leaking secret grand jury information through an operative to a newspaper reporter as payback for a former state prosecutor she thought made her look bad, and then lying about her actions under oath.

Prosecutors say she also enlisted aides to spy on office employees and keep tabs on a grand jury probe into the leak.

The case against Kane, a political newcomer in 2012 when she became the first woman and first Democrat elected as Pennsylvania attorney general, could end her status as the state's highest-ranking female officeholder.

Kane's lawyers say she will plead not guilty at her arraignment at the Montgomery County Detective Bureau in Norristown. The 49-year-old Kane contends she is innocent of any wrongdoing and has portrayed herself as a victim of payback for taking on a corrupt, old-boy law enforcement network and exposing state employees for exchanging pornographic emails.

But her support among fellow Democrats has faded in the aftermath of a Thursday news conference at which District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman outlined specific allegations and filed more than a half dozen charges that also included two misdemeanor counts of obstruction.

Gov. Tom Wolf, a fellow Democrat who took office in January, joined political leaders and editorialists calling for her resignation following Ferman's announcement.

Kane's driver and confidant, former Dunmore police chief Patrick Reese, also is charged with indirect criminal contempt for allegedly snooping in office computers that store emails sent and received by employees.

Prosecutors say Reese was looking for information to keep the attorney general informed about the grand jury investigating the leak. She directed the spying operation, according to the criminal complaint.

Former Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille, who authorized the grand jury probe that led to the charges and who retired in December, said Friday that Kane should step down. But she has refused to resign and many critics are exploring possible ways to force her out of office.

Castille said the court, working through its disciplinary board, could order an emergency suspension of Kane's law license if it believes her alleged misconduct has been "egregious."

Though Kane would have 10 days to fight a suspension, Castille said an actual suspension would force her out of office because the state constitution requires the attorney general to have a law license.

"How can you function as a top law enforcement official facing a felony charge?" he asked.

Another possible scenario calls for Kane's impeachment by the Legislature, a process in which the House brings charges and the Senate acts as the jury.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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by on Aug. 8, 2015 at 7:07 AM
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mellowmommy64
by Member on Aug. 8, 2015 at 7:18 AM

I am not sure how I feel about this being a PA resident.   Honestly I feel they are on a bit of a witch hunt.  The good ole boys club didn't like a women and a democrate messing up their gravy train so they went after her.  Did she do wrong, maybe, but it was only to fight fire with fire.  Pa has been a largely conservative place but slowly they are seeing the liberal light here, very slowly, very, very slowly lol. 

broboxer
by Platinum Member on Aug. 8, 2015 at 9:43 AM
IF she did what they are accusing her of, she should resign. But that's a very big IF.

Quoting mellowmommy64:

I am not sure how I feel about this being a PA resident.   Honestly I feel they are on a bit of a witch hunt.  The good ole boys club didn't like a women and a democrate messing up their gravy train so they went after her.  Did she do wrong, maybe, but it was only to fight fire with fire.  Pa has been a largely conservative place but slowly they are seeing the liberal light here, very slowly, very, very slowly lol. 

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