Attorney General Kathleen Kane appeared before a grand jury today to address accusations that her office leaked secret information regarding the 2009 investigation into the finances of former NAACP head, Whyatt Mondesire, to humiliate political foe Frank Fina.
Kane, who released the information to The Philadelphia Daily News, has argued that not only did the leak not break any laws, but she was acting in the interest of transparency.
The Mondesire case, however, was prosecuted by Frank Fina who has become Kane’s longtime adversary. The feud began in 2012, when Kane criticized how Fina and former Attorney General Tom Corbett handled the Jerry Sandusky scandal. It snowballed when it was revealed that Fina was among those who circulated pornographic emails during Tom Corbett’s tenure as Attorney General.
The feud escalated last March when Kane shutdown Fina’s three-year sting investigation into several Philadelphia public officials accused of accepting bribe.
Finally, Kane was outraged by a court ruling Fina received that forbid Kane from releasing the information she had tying him to the media-dubbed “porngate” scandal during Tom Corbett’s time as Attorney General.
Kane believes the ruling has restricted her ability to remain transparent and hold all public officials to the standards their office demands.
Kane cited in a press release that “the public has a right know what public officials are doing or not doing with tax payer dollars.” She then addressed the restrictions the Fina ruling has placed on her ability to do her job, saying carefully that certain “court orders expose me to legal risk if I do my job as attorney general that I was elected and trusted by the people of Pennsylvania to do.”
Kane, represented by Lanny Davis, former White House aide during the Clinton administration, and New York defense attorney Gerald Shargel, has refused to elaborate on her statement and whether she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights.*
Special Prosecutor Thomas Carluccio subpoenaed Kane to appear in front of a Montgomery County grand jury three times prior. Her first appearance was moved due to scheduling conflicts, and her October 21st appearance was cancelled after Kane was in a car accident early that morning. In the recent weeks, Kane was said to be suffering from lingering effects resulting from a concession she obtained during that crash.
Though she has previously been working out of her home, Kane was cleared to return to work “as tolerable” this week and testified in Norristown today.
*Note: This article originally incorrectly indicated that Kane’s lawyers said she had invoked the Fifth Amendment during testimony.