The Kathleen Kane Saga: A Timeline
Note: For the most part, staff departures are not included due to the sheer volume of changes.
March 29th: PoliticsPA is the first to report Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane will run for the 2012 Democratic nomination for Attorney General.
March 31st: Sara Ganim of the Patriot-News reports former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky is under investigation for allegations he assaulted a minor. Ganim and the paper will later win the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.
November 5th: Sandusky is indicted with 40 charges of sex crimes against underaged boys.
November 9th: The Penn State Board of Trustees, which included Gov. Tom Corbett, fires long-time head football coach Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanier. The dismissal of Paterno, who worked for Penn State since 1950, infuriates university alumni.
January 22nd: Joe Paterno dies of complications from lung cancer. His death only heightens the outrage of PSU alumni towards Gov. Corbett.
March 26th: Former President Bill Clinton endorses Kane’s campaign. Clinton’s high-profile support will result in campaign appearances and commercials that propel Kane to the top of the Democratic primary polls.
April 24th: Kathleen Kane wins the 2012 Democratic nomination for Attorney General by a 53%-47% margin over former Congressman Patrick Murphy.
June 22nd: Jerry Sandusky is convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse and later sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
July 12th: The Freeh Report, an investigation by former FBI Director Louis Freeh commissioned by Penn State, is released. The report is deeply critical of the university’s administration, including Paterno. These conclusions are still contested by many PSU alumni. Kathleen Kane begins to call for an investigation into whether Tom Corbett slowed down the prosecution of Sandusky over political concerns. Among those prosecutors who worked on the Sandusky case was Frank Fina.
September 27th: In a meeting with the Scranton Times-Tribune editorial board, Kane says Gov. Corbett “probably” played politics with the Sandusky investigation.
November 6th: Kane becomes the first elected female Attorney General in the history of Pennsylvania. She defeats GOP nominee Dave Freed 56% to 42% and becomes the first Democrat elected to that office. In her first election, Kane finishes with a higher vote total than President Obama or Senator Casey and instantly becomes the newest star in PA politics.
January 15th: Kathleen Kane is inaugurated as the 48th Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She is the first woman to ever hold the office.
February 4th: Kane hires H. Geoffrey Moulton to investigate the handling of the Jerry Sandusky case.
July 11th: The Attorney General announces she will not defend the state’s law against same-sex marriage, further raising her profile. Later, State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe will introduce an impeachment resolution in response to Kane’s stand.
December 13th: Ahead of PA Society weekend, Kane indicates she is open to a run against Senator Pat Toomey in 2016.
March 17th: Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy of the Philadelphia Inquirer publish a story revealing that Kane shut down a sting operation that began in 2010 and was targeting several Philly State Reps. Kane’s office suggests race was a factor in why the investigation was flawed. Her only direct comment concerned those who disagreed with her decision, who she described as “nothing more than the Good Ol’ Boys club playing political games to discredit me in order to fulfill their own selfish and improper agenda.” This investigation was led by Fina and, though never proven, it is suspected that he was behind the leak to the Inquirer.
March 20th: Kane hires Richard Sprague and his son to represent her for any possible defamation lawsuits stemming from the sting story. The Attorney General arrives to a pre-arranged meeting with the Inquirer editorial board along with Sprague and lets him speak for her. Sprague indicates that lawsuits may be forthcoming. The move causes a massive media backlash.
March 24th: Meanwhile, Kane reviews a case in which Fina did not act in an investigation of former Philly NAACP head J. Whyatt Mondesire. She wants to release information about the case against the advice of her staff.
At 12:53 a.m. Kane’s top deputy Adrian King emails her.
“I fail to see how we can legally give . . . access to any OAG [Office of Attorney General] criminal division file materials.”
Kane responds at 3:38 a.m.
“I am well aware of the limitations of disclosing criminal files. . .,” she wrote. “I have been in this business quite some time.”
During this exchange, the two also discussed the public relations nightmare caused by Sprague’s unexpected presence before the Inquirer editorial board.
“You are now being perceived as weak, lacking credibility, and having something to hide (when you have absolutely nothing to hide),” King wrote.
“Sprague was engaged to represent me, since it is my reputation, not anyone else’s, that has been trashed,” Kane replied.
“It is reassuring, though, that when it has to do with me, despite my constant defense of others, I am on my own,” she continued, “nothing I am not already used to.”
Kane would later testify that King was in favor of leaking the materials. King would ultimately hand the information off to a political operative, although he claimed it was inside an unmarked manilla envelope and he didn’t know what was inside.
Additionally, Kane described the evidence that led her to believe racial bias was involved in the investigation. “Our special agent in charge put that in a note, in his case note, and did an affidavit to that effect. . . . That is the evidence we have.” Those notes and that affidavit, from an interview between Kevin Wevodau and the case agent Claude Thomas, did not exist.
April 14th: Wevodau writes out an unsworn case memo outlining Thomas’ supposed complaints.
May 8th: Frank Fina and Marc Costanzo, responding to a question from a reporter, tell Judge William R. Carpenter that they believe someone likely “committed a very serious crime” by releasing grand jury material.
May 29th: Judge Carpenter appointed Thomas Carluccio as Special Prosecutor to investigate “any alleged disclosure of information protected by the law.”
June 3rd: It is announced that Adrian King is resigning from the AG office. In a 2015 profile, Maria Panaritis said Kane “knew and deeply trusted only one of her top lieutenants: Adrian R. King.” She also revealed that Kane and King dated in the 1990’s.
June 6th: A story on Fina’s neglect to prosecute Mondesire is published by Chris Brennan of the Philadelphia Daily News.
June 23rd: The Attorney General finally releases the Moulton Report. The report and Moulton himself mildly critiqued some of Corbett’s decisions but the investigators are mostly exonerated. Kane steals the headlines though when she incorrectly asserts that abuse continued during the original investigation into 2009. It takes the AG three days to apologize for her remarks.
August 29th: Brad Bumsted and Melissa Daniels of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reveal that Moulton’s investigation uncovered numerous sexually explicit emails that were sent and shared in the database of the Attorney General’s office.
September 19th: The protective order is lifted off the emails, leaving Kane in charge of what to do with the pornographic material.
September 24th: Kane initially refuses to release the emails.
October 8th: Attorney General Kane hands over 4,000 emails to PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille.
October 13th: Couloumbis and McCoy reveal that Frank Fina was among those who participated in the exchange of pornographic emails. Additionally, Judge Carpenter ruled that Kane could not reveal this information as it may be seen as intimidation in the grand jury investigation against her.
October 27th: PA Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery resigns after it is revealed he participated in the email exchanges (this scandal is worthy of its own separate timeline).
November 13th: Kane disciplines 31 staffers for their involvement in exchanging pornographic emails.
December 13th: Kane announces she will be running for re-election as Attorney General in 2016.
December 16th: Philly DA Seth Williams announces charges against two State Reps. involved in the Philly sting operation.
December 22nd: A new report from Couloumbis and McCoy features an interview with Claude Thomas in which he insists race had nothing to do with the Philly sting investigation.
“I never uttered those words or anything near those words. That is a complete lie,” Thomas told the Inquirer. “For the entire investigation, race never came up whatsoever.”
December 27th: Kathleen Kane files for divorce from her husband of 14 years, Christopher. She calls their marriage “irretrievably broken”.
January 8th: In yet another Couloumbis and McCoy report, the state learns that the grand jury is recommending charges of perjury and contempt of court against Kane.
January 13th: Special Prosecutor Thomas Carluccio subpoenas Couloumbis and McCoy after they reveal the grand jury recommended charges.
January 21st: Kane announces that she will not resign and also will challenge the legality of Special Prosecutor Carluccio’s work before the PA Supreme Court.
February 3rd: Kathleen Kane is profiled in the New York Times. “This all started because of retaliation against me for doing my job,” she told the paper of record.
February 19th: A new court filing reveals that Kane is also facing another recommend charge from the grand jury. This one is for criminal contempt.
March 10th: Seth Williams charges three more officials involved in the sting operation.
March 12th: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Kane’s case that the appointment of a special prosecutor is illegal.
April 9th: Brad Bumsted reports that Kane fired her Appeals Office head James Barker. After initially saying it was because of “restructuring”, the Attorney General states that Barker was fired for being unable to prevent grand jury leaks. Barker is among those that testified to the grand jury that called for charges against Kane.
Meanwhile, Kane’s spokeswoman announces that she gave her boss her two weeks notice earlier that week.
April 10th: Judge Carpenter orders Kane to appear at an April 27th hearing to investigate whether Barker’s firing was in retaliation for testimony that contradicted Kane.
Later that night, it is revealed that Montgomery County DA Risa Vetri Ferman issued search warrants for Kane’s headquarters in Harrisburg, her office in Norristown and her emails.
April 21st: Claude Thomas, the undercover agent involved in the Philly sting case, declares that he is suing Kathleen Kane for saying that Thomas considered the operation racially motivated.
April 23rd: Judge Carpenter delays the Attorney General’s April 27th contempt of court hearing but agrees to allow oral arguments on the defense’s claims that the Judge is biased against Kane.
April 27th: Kane’s attorneys argue before Judge Carpenter that Barker’s firing was justified and that the protective order for grand jury witnesses expired in January.
April 28th: Montgomery County DA Risa Vetri Ferman expands her investigation to cover the firing of James Barker.
May 1st: Bumsted reports that Kane’s Chief of Staff Jonathan Duecker was accused of sexual harassment. Couloumbis and McCoy reveal Kane was aware of the allegations and that a second incident may also have occurred.
May 10th: A new piece from Couloumbis reveals that after learning of the accusations, H.R. recommended to Kane that she fire Duecker. She refused.
May 11th: Couloumbis reports that Kane has given Duecker personnel control, which includes the power to hire and fire officials. The AG was not phased by the sexual harassment allegations.
May 13th: Charles Thompson of the Patriot-News reveals that members of the Attorney General’s office are exploring options to unionize.
May 18th: Robert Huber of Philadelphia Magazine publishes a piece on Kane that includes theories from some top Democrats as to how the AG got into this mess. Among them was former Governor Rendell who said Kane couldn’t “handle the pressure” of the office.
June 1st: Another Couloumbis and McCoy report analyzes Kane’s targeting of nursing homes. Meanwhile, a new PPP poll shows a majority of respondents feel the AG should not run for re-election in 2016. The very same day, State Rep. Ronald Waters and former State Rep. Harold James plead guilty in the Philly sting case.
June 8th: State Rep. Michelle Brownlee pleads guilty in the Philly sting case, bringing the total number of officials to four.
June 10th: Bumsted reports Duecker’s car was recovered from a drug bust. Kane’s Chief of Staff is driving the car despite the fact that such vehicles can only be used in other drug investigations. The 2006 Mercedes also received $6,000 in repairs that were paid for with public funds. The AG’s office defends Duecker’s actions.
June 18th: For the second time, Kane’s Harrisburg office is searched by investigators that are part of Ferman’s team. They are looking for emails related to the leak of grand jury information to the Daily News last year.
June 24th: Kane fires the H.R. director, George Moore, who urged her to let go of Chief of Staff Jonathan Duecker because of the sexual harassment accusations against Duecker. Moore is told the AG wants to “go in a new direction.”
July 1st: It is reported by Brad Bumsted that an employee who wrote an op-ed defending Kane, Becky Berkebile was promoted to the new created position of Director of Drug Control Programs. The promotion comes with a $11,300 raise.
July 17th: The Attorney General denies any wrongdoing in an interview with KDKA.
August 5th: Brad Bumsted reveals that Kane will be criminally charged the next day.
August 6th: Montgomery County DA Risa Ferman charges the Attorney General with eight counts, including one felony and seven misdemeanors. They include obstructing administration of law or other government function, official oppression, criminal conspiracy, perjury and false swearing.
August 8th: Kane is formally arraigned, fingerprinted and has a mugshot taken. She is released a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 24th by Judge Cathleen Kelly Rebar.
August 11th: Kane’s driver, Patrick Reese, appears in court and pleads not guilty to a charge of criminal contempt. Reese was allegedly tasked by Kane to read the emails of employees and any sealed documents related to the grand jury investigation.
August 12th: The Attorney General reads a prepared statement to the press. Kane asserts that the real scandal revolves around the pornographic emails revealed in the Sandusky investigation. She calls on Judge William Carpenter to release all emails before she agrees to take any questions. At the conclusion of her statement, she goes off-script and speaks directly to her two sons, declaring her innocence and good intentions.
August 13th: Judge Carpenter reveals that Kane has not filed “any petition, pleading, motion, or other requests for court action.”
August 17th: In a radio interview, Governor Wolf expresses his worry that Kane’s case is eroding the public’s trust in government.
Later that day, the Legal Intelligencer first reports rumors that the FBI is possibly investigating the Attorney General.
August 18th: The PA Supreme Court unseals its order from December, revealing that Kane could’ve released the pornographic emails without violating the order. This seemingly contradicts her claims during her Aug. 12th news conference.
August 19th: The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas rules against Claude Thomas’ lawsuit against Kane. They do state, though, that Kane must respond to Thomas’ accusations.
August 20th: Couloumbis and McCoy confirm the FBI is investigating whether Kane tried to extract a statement of support from the FOP in support of Duecker. They report that the bureau is also investigating a trip that Kane took to Haiti in April 2014.
August 21st: Despite the Supreme Court’s order, Kane refuses to release any emails.
August 24th: Judge Rebar rules that Kane will face a trial on all eight counts. When entering the hallway where press had gathered, Kane’s twin sister walked in a few paces ahead of the AG and her entourage. The move seemed to be an attempt to fool photographers.
August 25th: A new Quinnipiac poll shows 49% of Pennsylvanians believe Kane should resign. A few days later, a Franklin & Marshall survey pegs the number at 46%. Additionally, it is reported that Patrick Reese will not be suspended.
August 30th: Supporters of the Attorney General start a Change.org petition to prevent the suspension of her law license.
September 2nd: Former Gov. Ed Rendell says Kane should take a leave from her job.
September 4th: Seth Williams reveals that he will not fire Frank Fina or Marc Costanzo from their jobs in the Philly DA’s office. They will receive “sensitivity training” instead.
September 10th: In an interview with Holly Otterbein of Citified, Williams shifts the blame for Fina’s and Costanzo’s behavior to their previous employer, Governor Corbett.
September 11th: Supporters of the Attorney General try to arrange a rally at the Capitol but only draw about a dozen or so people.
September 14th: John Baer of the Daily News reports that the State Senate is looking into another avenue to remove Kane that would bypass the State House.
September 16th: Kane fights efforts by the Inquirer and other papers to file Right to Know requests to release all relevant emails.
September 17th: Kane’s Harrisburg office is once again raided by detectives from Risa Ferman’s office. It is later revealed they were looking for an oath of secrecy that Kane signed which prohibits disclosure of information from any grand jury investigations.
September 21st: The PA Supreme Court temporarily suspends the Attorney General’s law license.
September 22nd: The Attorney General indicates that she may begin to release some emails after all.
September 25th: For the first time, Kane suggests she won’t run for re-election.
October 1st: Kane is charged with her second count of perjury. It originates from her testimony in which she denied signing an oath of secrecy concerning all grand jury investigations.
October 6th: James Barker files a federal lawsuit against Kane, seeking “reinstatement to his position, payment for lost wages, and punitive damages against Kane”.
October 23rd: It is revealed that the State Senate is considering appointing a committee to investigate whether the body should undertake an effort to remove the Attorney General.
October 27th: The State Senate names the six members that will sit on the committee which will study Kane’s case.
November 6th: Kane questions the authority of the Senate committee investigating her.
November 9th: The Senate committee holds their first hearing in their investigation of the Attorney General.
November 10th: Judge Rebar rules that Kane will face trial on three additional counts related to the grand jury oath. This brings Kane’s total charges to twelve, including two felony counts and ten misdemeanors.
November 13th: The Attorney General initially refuses to comply with a subpoena from the Senate committee but changes her mind hours later.
November 24th: GOP State Rep. Garth Everett circulates a memo calling for the House Judiciary Committee to consider impeachment proceedings against the Attorney General.
November 25th: The Senate committee recommends to the full body that the Attorney General be removed.
December 2nd: Governor Wolf says that he’ll remove Kane if two-thirds of the State Senate votes to oust her from office.
December 8th: Kane’s ex-driver and bodyguard is found guilty of indirect criminal contempt.
December 9th: The State Senate votes unanimously to hold a hearing on whether to remove the Attorney General.
December 10th: Sam Katz announces that his film company will make a documentary on Kathleen Kane that is scheduled to be released in mid-2017.
December 15th: The former H.R. Director of the AG’s office, Graham Moore, sues Kane for wrongful termination.
December 16th: During the trial of State Rep. Louise Bishop, prosecutor Mark Gilson reveals that Kane’s sister Ellen Granahan sent offensive emails to others including Kane herself. Bishop would soon plead no contest and resign.
December 17th: Kane releases the lewd emails sent by her twin sister, Ellen Granahan.
December 18th: Kane’s spokesman Chuck Ardo reveals that Granahan will not be punished for sending the controversial emails.
January 5th: Judge William Furber passes off the Attorney General’s case to Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy.
January 6th: Ardo announces that Kane won’t testify at the State Senate’s hearing concerning her potential removal from office.
January 9th: Kane reverses course and indicates that she now will run for re-election.
January 12th: Kane seeks to have her law license reinstated.
January 13th: Former Gov. Ed Rendell testifies at Kane’s Senate hearing.
January 27th: The House Judiciary Committee votes to conduct an investigation into whether to start impeachment proceedings against the AG.
January 27th: On a party-line vote, the State Senate committee recommends removing Kane if her law license is not reinstated.
January 27th: A new Harper Poll shows Kane is leading the Democratic field of Attorney General candidates.
February 5th: The State Supreme Court rejects Kane’s attempt to have her law license reinstated.
February 11th: Kane gives her first interview in months to WNEP. During that exchange, she calls politics a “disease”.
February 16th: The Attorney General announces that she won’t run for re-election.
February 24th: House Minority Leader Frank Dermody signals that Democrats have turned against a possible Kane impeachment.
February 25th: A new Franklin & Marshall survey shows 58% of Pennsylvanians think Kane should resign.
March 3rd: Kane’s aide and driver Patrick Reese is sentenced to three to six months in prison.
March 11th: In an interview with 6abc’s Nydia Han, Kane once again defends herself and insists she’s done nothing wrong.
March 29th: Kane announces she will be appointing Bruce Castor to the new position of Solicitor General.
April 7th: A new Quinnipiac Poll shows 47% believe the Attorney General should step down.
April 21st: The Associated Press reports that Kane conducted official business through her private email address from January 2013 to August 2015.
May 11th: A new Quinnipiac Poll shows 50% of Pennsylvanians want Kane to resign. Her approval rating drops to a record low of 23%.
May 17th: Judge Demchick-Alloy dismisses Kane’s motion to dismiss the case against her.
May 27th: Chuck Ardo, Kane’s longest tenured and seventh spokesman, announces his resignation.
May 31st: In an interview with ABC27, Ardo discusses why he resigned. “She really doesn’t make any effort to communicate with the senior staff,” he stated. “Anybody who believes that, you know, government ought to operate in silence and secrecy needs to move to North Korea. You can’t do the job when you fundamentally disagree with that position.”
June 7th: Ellen Granahan, Kane’s twin sister, files a wage and gender discrimination complaint against the Office of the Attorney General.
June 16th: The State Superior Court rejects the Attorney General’s appeal to have the charges against her thrown out.
June 22nd: Another Quinnipiac Poll shows Kane’s approval rating at 24%, a one point improvement from the previous month’s record low.
June 28th: State House Courts Subcommittee Chair Todd Stephens announces he will be issuing subpoenas for documents and testimony as part of the body’s impeachment investigation.
July 14th: Quinnipiac finds Kane’s approval rating has hit a new low of 22%.
July 20th: Ellen Granahan gets her raise and Bruce Castor gets a promotion to First Deputy Attorney General.
July 20th: It is revealed that Kane interviewed the son of David Peifer for a job. Peifer is set to be a witness for the prosecution in the AG’s trial.
August 9th: The jury is selected for Kane’s trial. It contains six men and six women.
August 10th: The trial of Attorney General Kathleen Kane begins.
August 10th: Former First Deputy Attorney General Bruce Beemer testifies for the prosecution.
August 11th: Kane’s former aide and ex-boyfriend Adrian King accuses Kane of trying to frame him for the leak.
August 11th: Political consultant Josh Morrow testifies that Kane orchestrated the leak and that they coordinated their stories to lie and blame the episode on King. One of Morrow’s phone calls complaining about the AG was captured by a wiretap that was installed because of the McCord case. Morrow produces damaging text messages between himself and Kane.
August 15th: Kathleen Kane is found guilty on all nine charges: two counts of perjury and seven misdemeanors. Her sentencing hearing is set for October 24th.
August 16th: Kane announces that she will resign effective at the close of business the next day. Bruce Castor will assume the role of Acting Attorney General.
August 18th: Governor Wolf nominates former First Deputy AG and Solicitor General Bruce Beemer to serve as interim Attorney General.
August 22nd: State Rep. Todd Stephens suggests that he still may want to continue impeachment proceedings against Kane.
August 25th: Doug Gansler notifies the state employees whose names are included in his report on the pornographic emails.
August 26th: Castor reveals that he won’t release the Gansler report during his tenure.
August 30th: Bruce Beemer is confirmed by the State Senate and sworn in as the new Attorney General.
September 1st: Beemer fires Kane’s driver Patrick Reese and Chief of Staff Jonathan Duecker.
September 6th: Beemer announces that Castor will step down from the position of Solicitor General on Sept. 9th.
September 7th: It is reported that Kane is seeking an immediate payment of $1 million from her ex-husband.
October 14th: Kane requests house arrest instead of a prison sentence citing her worries for her two sons.
October 24th: Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy handed down a sentence of 10 to 23 months of jail time for Kane. She will also face eight years of probation.
November 22nd: AG Beemer releases Gansler Report with the names redacted.
December 12th: Judge Demchick-Alloy grants Kane’s defense team a three week extension for her appeal. The deadline moves from Dec. 16th to Jan. 6th.