Grand jury recommends criminal charges against Kane
Fast forward to August 6, 2015 at Philly.com
Montgomery County DA charges Attorney General Kane
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was charged Thursday with illegally leaking confidential information, then lying about it under oath and deploying aides as spies to keep a step ahead of the criminal investigation against her.
While not unexpected, the criminal charges filed by Montgomery County District Risa Vetri Ferman dealt a stunning blow to a woman who swept into office in a landslide with a promise to shake up the status quo.
Gov. Wolf, a Democrat like Kane, immediately called for her resignation. Kane said she would not quit.
"A resignation would be an admission of guilt and I'm not guilty," she said in a statement.
Kane stood defiant and increasingly isolated after Ferman unveiled new evidence to buttress a grand jury's finding that Kane had illegally planted a damaging newspaper story to damage a critic, then perjured herself when questioned about the scheme.
And Ferman also added a new allegation: illegal surveillance of e-mails.
Patrick Reese, a former small-town police chief and the head of Kane's personal security detail, was charged Thursday with the illegal spying.
In a 42-page affidavit of probable cause, Ferman painted a deeply negative portrait of Kane as a Nixonian figure bent on political revenge, angry at her staff and eager to spy on judges, reporters, prosecutors and her own aides.
"This is war," Kane declared in an e-mail cited in the affidavit. Those words were written early on as she prepared to plant a negative news story designed to damage a former state prosecutor she viewed as an enemy.
Kane also went to great lengths to impede the grand jury investigation of her conduct, prosecutors said. At one point, they said, she threatened to fire top staffers in her office if they didn't join her in fighting back.
"If I get taken out of here in handcuffs, what do you think my last act would be?" the affidavit quoted her as telling her chief of staff, meaning that she would fire him and others.
The charges - one felony court of perjury and seven misdemeanors, including official oppression and obstruction - could doom a political career that was once on a steep ascent.
Kane, 49, the first Democrat and woman to be elected attorney general, is now at odds with the state's top Democrat, Wolf. He said Thursday:
"I am calling on her to step aside, step down as attorney general, because I think she cannot do what she has to do as the top law enforcement officer in Pennsylvania while she's facing these serious charges."
State Rep. Frank Dermody, who leads the Democrats in the GOP-controlled state House, also suggested she step down.
"The charges will make it extremely difficult for her to lead the Office of Attorney General under these circumstances," Dermody, of the Pittsburgh area, said in a statement. "This is not good for that office or for the Commonwealth."
Kane is the first attorney general to be charged with a crime since Ernest Preate Jr., a Republican, pleaded guilty to a corruption charge in 1995 and resigned.
The criminal charges against Kane come nearly nine months after a grand jury first recommended to Ferman that Kane be arrested. The statewide grand jury met in Norristown, the county seat of Montgomery County, and thus made its referral to Ferman, the county district attorney.Read more