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BREAKING: AG Kathleen Kane Charged

Kane-sadKathleen Kane has been charged with five criminal counts.

The Attorney General was charged with obstructing administration of law or other government function, official oppression, criminal conspiracy, perjury and false swearing.

Montgomery County DA Risa Vetri Ferman handled this case and conducted the press conference this morning.

Arrangement will take place in the next two days.

The Attorney General leaked classified grand jury information to a political operative who would then leak it to the press. According to Ferman, she did this “in hopes of embarrassing and harming former state prosecutors she believed, without evidence, made her look bad.”

Ferman also revealed that a criminal contempt charge was filed against Patrick Reese, the Attorney General’s driver. She stated that Reese repeatedly snuck into the grand jury files despite orders that they be sealed.

“No one is above the law, not even the highest law enforcement official of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Ferman concluded. “This is a sad day for the citizens of Pennsylvania and for all of us in law enforcement.”

Ferman passed on the question of whether Kane should resign, although the AG has said in the past that she will not resign if charged.

Last year, a grand jury recommended charges of perjury, criminal contempt, obstruction of justice and official oppression be issued against the Attorney General.

This case stems from a June Daily News article that suggested Frank Fina fumbled a case involving a Philly civil rights leader.

A full timeline of Kane’s case is can be accessed here.

UPDATE: The Attorney General released the following statement in response:

“I am very disappointed the district attorney has made the decision to pursue this case. I have maintained my innocence from the day these allegations surfaced and I continue to do so today.”

“I intend to defend myself vigorously against these charges. I look forward to the opportunity to present my case in a public courtroom and move beyond the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that has defined the process to this point.”

“Meanwhile, I remain committed to leading the Office of Attorney General and doing the job the citizens of this Commonwealth elected me to do. A resignation would be an admission of guilt and I’m not guilty.”

“I assure everyone the Office of Attorney General will continue to fulfill its mission to protect and serve the citizens of Pennsylvania.”

UPDATE 2: You can read the full criminal complaint here.

127 Responses

  1. Go to bed Dave. You’re not seeing clearly. All of this has been thoroughly handled below.

  2. 1) a lot of people think this is prosecutorial abuse.

    2) I was under the distinct impression that as soon as the article came out, Fina accused Kane and called his buddies to send the dogs after her.

    3) from what I read in the 40+ page fairy tale, there is a lot more speculation than “hard evidence”. It’s one side of a story that has not been subject to cross examination. Any evidence contrary to the preconcluded “theory” of the case is missing to make it look airtight. Kane and her lawyer will get their chance to punch holes in it.

    4) even if everything in was true (and I don’t for a minute believe it is), it still doesn’t justify her removal. Fina’s actions as a public servant deserved to be examined. The alleged actions after that were isolated to the trumped up investigation against her, and didn’t involve any malfeasance against the public good, bribery, or anything else that I remotely consider a crime or corruption. It all (if true) was a response/defense to a political attack against her.

  3. To the extent there is evidence suggesting that either special prosecutor Thomas Carluccio or DA Risa Ferman broke the law, they should be investigated and potentially prosecuted. I am aware of no such evidence. Your characterization of this process as prosecutorial abuse is pure opinion, and not one that I or most reasonable people agree with.

    When the Daily News published Chris Brennan’s story on 6/6/14, the only conclusion that one could immediately draw is that SOMEBODY in the OAG leaked confidential information about a grand jury investigation that had occurred 5 years earlier in order to make Frank Fina and Marc Costanzo look bad. The supervising judge rightfully appointed a special prosecutor to investigate because it was and is completely unacceptable for an OAG employee to abuse their position in this way. The judge’s decision to initiate an investigation wasn’t a product of some GOP conspiracy aimed at overturning the 2012 AG election.

    In fact, at onset of the investigation, I doubt even Kane’s most ardent critics imagined that this leak would be found to have been personally orchestrated by the Attorney General herself. But once it became clear that Kane (not, e.g., some overzealous OAG staffer) was the leaker, what would you have had the special prosecutor do? Look the other way because Kane was elected by the voters or because Daryl Metcalfe had previously pulled his impeachment political stunt? That stuff isn’t relevant.

    As you have already conceded, Kane should have invoked her 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination during her grand jury testimony. But she didn’t. She chose to paint a narrative of events that is completely irreconcilable with the hard evidence that the investigation uncovered.

    You have characterized the perjury charge as a “bullsh*t” attempt to criminalize Kane’s simple denial of her guilt as a matter of law for the crimes that she would potentially be charged with. Obviously a general denial isn’t what yielded the perjury charge. Rather, it was her deception, dodging and – in some instances – outright lying when faced with simple factual questions.

    I don’t doubt that Frank Fina or Kane’s other detractors are relishing at how this has unfolded. But the fact is, when an OAG employee – be it a no-name staffer or the AG herself – leaks 5 year old grand jury materials to the press to make someone look bad, and then tries to cover himself/herself by undermining the investigation multiple times in multiples ways … he/she needs to be held accountable. You can’t make just an exception because of the political backdrop and give the state’s chief law enforcement officer a mulligan.

  4. Reasonable Rep-

    How about when the people prosecuting her are breaking the law and actively ignoring (or contributing to) leaks of their own grand jury? Or even engaging in prosecutorial abuse for political aims?

    Unsanctioned R-

    Some of this is for the joust and most of it is because she’s being convicted without trial and the victim of leaks cherry-picked to discredit her. The leak have interfered with her functioning as AG while the investigation was ongoing (apparently in hopes of getting her to resign early and obviously to sow dissent and dysfunction in her office). This has been a concerted effort to get her to resign, with little or no interest in actually prosecuting her. Had she resigned early on, they would have dropped the perjury charge and slapped her wrist with some misdemeanors to justify the investigation once they got their real prize.

  5. Believe it or not I think David was being conciliatory. Sometimes he takes on topics (as do I) for the joust. If anyone wants to read through the comments, it’s worth it. There’s a reason why so many. But, after being openly mocked I think he deserves the last word.

  6. “I think a person is entitled to know about investigations and evidence against them”

    Then rally the PA voters to elect legislators and and an executive who will amend the law to conform with your viewpoints (ridiculous as some of them may be).

    In the interim, the chief law enforcement officer of this Commonwealth can and should be held accountable when he/she knowingly breaks the law.

  7. Unsanctioned R-

    It sounds like a lot of this was an attempt to learn about the investigation against her. I think a person is entitled to know about investigations and evidence against them (especially when the prosecution seems engaged in a thinly veiled political assassination). It also seems that more leaked from the grand jury to the press than she was able to find out herself.

    Did the ends (defending herself) justify the (alleged) means? That’s going to be a question for the jury.

    If it was me, I’d want to bug the offices of the prosecutor to try and catch him in a conspiracy and put his @ss in jail.

  8. If you don’t think that a sitting AG who engages in the behaviors I listed (for which there is strong factual evidence) should made an example of, then we’ll have to agree to disagree. She’s part of the problem and is the AG! Good riddance to the dictator…you are not above the law, and the people are better for it.

  9. true republican-

    If you’ve got some names, lay them on us.

    If you want to stretch out the suspense a bit, list a few job titles before matching them up to various posters. Just to make them sweat a bit.

  10. Unsanctioned R-

    I’m not saying that she handled this well at all.

    However, my point is that she was put in the crosshairs by a GOP establishment bent on bringing her down by whatever means possible. They had already been talking impeachment for her refusal to defend the gay marriage ban and the Voter_ID law.

    She declined to prosecute the “sting” as did the FBI. But, Seth Williams, with Fina likely whispering in his ear, took on the case and plead the cases down to trivial penalties to claim he got convictions (even though he didn’t get anyone one the “real” charge of bribery). The pleas resulted in less penalty to the defendants than the cost of going to trial (even if they one). The pleas also kept Fina, Ali and the sting from real public scrutiny in open court.

    As I’ve said all along (and as Madonna and Young pointed out in their piece), Kane was not engaged in the classic types of public corruption that are criminal and deserve this kind of treatment.

    She had a veritable rogues gallery of opponents working against her before she took office. According to what I’ve read, Fina made the unprecedented move of securing Ali’s immunity after Kane was elected and before she took office. The implication is that he realized Kane might rightly go after Ali for his theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars and misuse of funds he was given during the sting.

    Kane’s been cleaning house, uncovering bad behavior and exposing the cesspool she inherited. The GOP and the old-boys-network wanted her stopped.

    Given the pressure and the forces mounted against her (and probably not knowing whom she could trust) she made some questionable moves/decisions.

    If they didn’t go after her for this, they would have gone after her for jaywalking or something else. The point has been to cripple her politically, not to seek any real justice.

  11. If only everyone knew who was posting on here would be a shocker so im telling all. If you think your hiding behind a fake name wrong. Im surprsed some of my fellow repubs are hiding behind fake names. Shaking my head i may have to reveal who is on here and really shake things up

  12. David, you did compare it to jaywalking. However, “If the DA’s office is searching for leakers, a subpoena of this site’s IP address records might be fruitful.” That’s worth repeating.

    Kane’s M.O. is to shut people up with threats, using her office and position makes her misdemeanors scream out for accountability:

    Don’t like criticism from a suspected source, ignore good counsel (remember the email evidence?) and leak selected info to send them a message. Maybe even go a step further and have an intermediary tell them they better watch their mouth, ‘or else.’

    Got subordinates testifying against you. Demote them. Fire them. Brazenly defy a judge’s order to let everyone know they’re touchable. Promote those who make the best excuses for the evidence against you or who are enforcers.

    Got prosecutors asking around about you. Ask rhetorically, “What will my last act be?” Empower those most loyal to you to break the law and protect the cabal.

    I’m sympathetic to your arguments of the powerful rigging the system. But, I think you are interpreting the clear evidence backwards and selectively ignoring that which sheds light on who exactly is abusing their power. Something has to be done about officials like Kane–She’s the a-hole boss you write about.

  13. rsklaroff-

    No. You did by saying a crime is a crime, when I pointed out the charges against her were only misdemeanors.

    I used jaywalking to illustrate your attempt to use “crimes” to hide that these are merely alleged misdemeanors.

    She wasn’t engaged in bribery, money laundering, theft, misappropriation of funds, embezzlement, kickbacks, etc. So, there are no serious crimes of public corruption. Nothing worthy of jail time nor being cuffed like a dangerous criminal.

    At worst she’s guilty of bad judgment and personnel mismanagement, and the alleged charges (even if true) aren’t worthy of more than a fine.

  14. Jerry Mondesire is innocent. Jerry will also be very wealthy, after he files suit against the commonwealth of pa., the Daily News, Kane, Brennan and others.

  15. This is all over Jerry Mondasire who made a Mess out of the Local Chapter on The NAACP The AG should have filed charges against Mondasire Kathy Kane is the Best Thing that ever Happened to The AGs office in PA She has gotten Convictions in every single case that Her Office Prosecuted no Republican AG ever did as well as Kane

  16. rsklaroff-

    Stop making up stuff. YOU made the assertion that the misdemeanors were crimes, so it didn’t matter to you what kinds of crimes. I then pointed out that jaywalking is also a misdemeanor type of crime, to show your emphasis on “crime” is to smear Kane with that label.

  17. rsklaroff

    I did address it.

    Jaywalking is also a crime, but not a reason to remove someone from office. If you are arresting for jaywalking, and deny it under oath, you shouldn’t be slapped with a felony for perjury.

  18. @ DD:

    In case you missed it [because it’s on the prior page], I reiterate a query you didn’t address [and I’m hardly anonymous, so you can’t evade it]:

    @ DD:
    You are akin to the person who claims one can be “just a little bit pregnant” [but not totally?] when you ignore the fact that a misdemeanor is a crime.

  19. 1) She is fighting this, so I don’t see her pleading guilty. The perjury charge is bullsh*t and the rest is all misdemeanors. I can see them offering a plea deal to avoid exposing their own bad behavior in all of this.

    2) I’m still waiting for an arrest (or the slightest indication of an investigation) for the people that leaked her case.

  20. Like I said David. Go look it up and do some research. I’m done attempting to have a coherent conversation with a man that is blinded by partisanship.

    What will you say when she pleads guilty?

  21. kanesdriver-

    Are you referring to what Kane did or what everyone else has been doing with her case?

  22. David Diano,
    Do you actually understand what an actual illegal release of grand jury information is? Go look it up.

  23. You guys are supporting an illegitimate prosecution that is politically motivated to overturn an election.

    If you don’t believe the system is rigged, you haven’t been paying attention.

    As for the anonymous posters on this site who claim to have inside and advanced knowledge of the case and actions of the Montco DA…. If the DA’s office is searching for leakers, a subpoena of this site’s IP address records might be fruitful.

    (That is IF they really care about leaks, so you’re probably safe.)

    But, that aside, what are the hidden motivations of the anonymous posters? A few imply they are lawyers, but are they masking conflicts of interest?

    Post under your real names so we can evaluate your true motives.

  24. From now on, every time the judge issues an order, makes a ruling or gives a jury instruction that I disagree with … my trial strategy will be to cry out “the legal system is rigged!” and reject the eventual outcome as being illegitimate.

    Conversely, if I agree with the judge, I’ll champion the rule of law and use it to blast the opposition during closing arguments.

    That way, much like Diano in these comment sections, I’ll never lose an argument. The judge might hold me in contempt, or my client might sue me for malpractice, but I’ll definitely win the argument – at least in my own mind.

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