Friday, August 07, 2015

Pennsylvania Attorney General Indicted For Leaking Grand Jury Testimony And Lying About It

A Pennsylvania prosecutor has brought a damning indictment against the state's top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Kathleen Kane, in which Kane is accused of targeting other prosecutors she blamed for negative coverage of a public corruption case her office dropped by illegally leaking grand jury testimony to a reporter as part of a campaign to discredit her critics and then lying about it under oath. The state's Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, called on his fellow Democratic officeholder to step down, but a defiant Kane said she would not because that would be tantamount to an admission of guilt for crimes she insists she never committed.

Kane becomes the second state attorney general to be indicted in the last week. Texas' Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton was indicted on three counts of securities fraud that he allegedly committed prior to his election to office last year. Kane first came under fire when the Philadelphia Inquirer reported she had shut down an undercover sting operation that allegedly caught various Philadelphia officials taking bribes. Kane blamed her office's former chief deputy for the damaging news story and set out to exact revenge on him according to the indictment. Leaking grand jury testimony was supposedly part of a scheme Kane concocted to discredit the former deputy attorney general, Frank Fina, and another prosecutor who picked up the case, Seth Williams. Kane is also accused of ordering aids to spy on the e-mail accounts of others in order to gain information about her accusers. Here the highlights of the indictment as described by the Philadelphia Inquirer:

On March 16, 2014, The Inquirer published a story that Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane "perceived to be an attack on her personally and professionally. She became incensed at two former state prosecutors whom she believed had released the information used in the article," which detailed an undercover sting operation that Kane had shut down. 
In an e-mail with her media strategist, Kane wrote: "I will not allow them to discredit me or our office. . . . This is war." 
After Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams picked up the sting case, Kane said she wanted to make "Seth pay." 
Kane asked a political operative "to gather negative information on Seth Williams." He declined. 
Kane believed that releasing information about a former prosecutor's handling of a long-shuttered case "would publicly embarrass the people whom she believed had publicly embarrassed her." 
Kane directed a top aide to deliver secret grand jury testimony from a closed case involving former Philadelphia NAACP leader J. Whyatt Mondesire to the political operative, who gave it to the Philadelphia Daily News. 
Kane directed two top aides to "secretly or surreptitiously review" employees' e-mails.
While the grand jury investigation was underway, Kane directed aides to search office e-mails for terms related to the grand jury, including the names of the judge, prosecutor, and two Inquirer reporters. 
Kane repeatedly lied to the grand jury, "to conceal and cover up the crimes she knew she had committed." 
When staff expressed concern about the leak, Kane said, "Don't worry about it. It's not a big deal." 
Kane gave a "direct order" to staff not to cooperate with the grand jury and threatened them with termination: "If I get taken out of here in handcuffs, what do you think my last act will be?"
It's just further confirmation of my more than 20 years' experience practicing law that those who lie, cheat and steal are the ones most likely to make it to the top of the legal profession.


Eric Morris said...

Gary, I agree wholeheartedly with your last line. It's part of the reason I am now a stay-at-home dad/commenter on your excellent website. Commenting only, of course, while my kids ignore me as much as my former colleagues tried to do. Some day justice will be served. If not in this life then the one to come.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I wonder what it's like to actually have a prosecutor do their job. Guess we'll never know here in Marion County.

Anonymous said...

"... It's just further confirmation of my more than 20 years' experience practicing law that those who lie, cheat and steal are the ones most likely to make it to the top of the legal profession."

Can you say DB and SB, TJ, TO, BG, LJ,.... ?

Jon said...

I'm shocked an AG lying, next thing you know police will be lying on the stand...