Years before Pennsylvania’s first Democrat and first female Attorney General got convicted of crimes, Judicial Watch helped expose the corrupt way in which she ran her public office. The state’s disgraced top prosecutor, Kathleen Kane, was hauled away from a courtroom in handcuffs this week after getting sentenced to 10 to 23 month in jail. In August, a jury found Kane guilty perjury and obstruction for illegally disclosing details from a grand jury investigation to retaliate against a political rival then lying about it under oath.
Philadelphia’s largest newspaper described Kane’s sentencing this week as “capping a spectacular downfall for a woman once seen as one of the state’s fastest-rising stars.” Kane’s first year in office was marked by political and public relations successes, the paper states, but it went downhill from there.
After “her star began to dim in 2014, she leaked confidential grand jury material to a newspaper in a bid to embarrass a political enemy, then lied about her actions under oath,” the story says. At this week’s five-hour sentencing hearing in Montgomery County the judge blasted Kane and rejected calls for leniency. The former prosecutor used and exploited her position to battle perceived enemies instead of focusing on the business of fighting crime, the judge, Wendy Demchick-Alley, said during the hearing.
The leak stems from a feud that Kane had with a former prosecutor in her office named Frank Fina, who Kane accused of planting a damaging media story. Before Kane got elected the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office ran a years-long, undercover sting operation that busted leading state Democrats embroiled in a bribery scheme. At the time the Attorney General was Republican Tom Corbett.
When Kane took office in 2013, she shut the operation down. Before Kane ended the investigation, sources familiar with the inquiry said, prosecutors amassed 400 hours of audio and videotape that documented at least four city Democrats taking payments in cash or money orders, and in one case, a $2,000 Tiffany bracelet.
Back In 2014 Judicial Watch testified before a Pennsylvania House State Government Committee investigating Kane for refusing to uphold Commonwealth laws that she didn’t agree with. Judicial Watch Attorney Michael Bekesha explained to the panel that Kane had consistently failed to honor her sworn oath to uphold the state’s constitution by, among other things, refusing to defend the state’s marriage laws and failing to prosecute elected officials for accepting cash and other gifts in exchange for political favors. Bekesha also pointed out to the committee that the State Ethics Commission concluded that the promotion of Kane’s sister to Chief Deputy Attorney General in the child predator section created a perception that the promotion was not free from Kane’s influence. “Attorney General Kane is lawless,” Bekesha testified, adding that just the appearance of impropriety or misbehavior damages the office.
Kane has close ties to the Clintons and she worked on Hillary’s 2008 failed presidential campaign. In 2012 Bill Clinton endorsed Kane for Attorney General over former Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy. At the time the former president said “Kathleen is a great Democrat who understands that an Attorney General’s job is to stand up for consumers and people,” according to a press release dug up by a news outlet this week. After winning the election and making history as the first woman and first Democrat to hold the office, Kane was considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. Some believed she had a bright future in the U.S. Senate. Instead, the disgraced Attorney General is going to jail and her license to practice law has been suspended.