Kathleen Kane, who served as Pennsylvania’s first female Attorney General until forced from office in August 2016, has been ordered to report to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility tomorrow morning. There she will begin a 10 to 23 month sentence for perjury and other crimes.
Out on $75,000 bail since her 2016 conviction, the order follows a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to deny her a final appeal.
Kathleen Kane makes “compromised” decision
Two years after her landslide 2012 election, which was helped by an endorsement from former President Bill Clinton, Katherine Kane made a fateful decision: she shut down a major case against several Philadelphia Democrats caught in an extensive 2010 bribery sting operation. Calling the operations flawed and tainted by racism, she said, “There is nothing we can do to salvage this case.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that two of the suspects under investigation had supported Kane during her 2012 election. This led the non-partisan advocacy group known as the Council of 70 to call for an independent prosecutor to be called.
Speaking to the Inquirer in their 2014 coverage, committee chairman Zack Stalberg said, “This is a highly unusual matter where traditional investigative authorities who might review the integrity of the sting operation and its dismissal – both of which are under attack – are compromised.”
After the press coverage, bribery prosecutions against six Democratic state legislators went ahead. Four eventually pleaded guilty, and one no contest. Vanessa Lowery Brown, the only defendant to go to trial, was convicted in late October just days before her name appeared on the ballot for reelection in the 2018 midterm elections.
Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor gets prosecuted
Kane believed that the Inquirer story had been leaked by Frank Fina, who ran the attorney general’s public corruption unit under her predecessor. Kane tried to discredit Fina by illegally leaking grand jury material herself, but was not skilful enough to avoid detection.
The resulting cover up led to a new grand jury recommending in December 2014 that Kane face a felony charge of perjury and a misdemeanor charge of making a false statement.
She did not resign however.
In August 2015 she was formally charged in a Montgomery County court. Governor Tom Wolfe called on her to resign, but again she did not.
In September 2015 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court revoked her license to practice law. She delegated her work to subordinates and continued in office.
After being convicted in court on nine counts in August 2016 Kathleen Kane finally resigned. Since then has has remained free on bail during her appeals.
The end of the road?
The decision on Monday by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court not to hear a further appeal from Kane means her legal fight to avoid imprisonment has come to an end. She is expected to report to jail tomorrow to begin a 10 to 23 month sentence.
“At this stage of the game, and she’s been allowed to stay out for two years roughly, she’s run the clock and now she must serve,” legal expert Phil Press told Pennsylvania’s WTAJ.
But Kane appears determined to drag the process out further. Today her legal team filed a last minute motion for a brief extension of her freedom.
Kane, a single mother, wants time to make custodial arrangements for her two teenage boys.