Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane first made headlines when she mysteriously dropped the prosecution of public officials for bribery and corruption in the fall of 2013. The targets of the probe were Democrats, like Kane herself, but Kane claimed at the time that the probe had been mismanaged and had been infected by racism — even though investigators had 400 hours of audio and video of the five Democrats providing evidence of illegal activity. When that didn’t silence critics, Kane bizarrely threaten to sue newspapers for questioning her decision. Kane even hired legal counsel for that threat, as Gabriel Malor noted in March of last year.
It turns out she may need them, but not as a plaintiff. Yesterday afternoon, a grand jury recommended criminal charges of perjury and contempt of court in their probe of her actions in relation to leaks from a prior grand jury:
The special prosecutor and grand jury investigating allegations that Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane leaked secret information to a newspaper have found evidence of wrongdoing and recommended that she be criminally charged, according to numerous people familiar with the decision.
The panel concluded that Kane violated grand-jury secrecy rules by leaking investigative material in a bid to embarrass political enemies, sources said.
Some of those familiar with the grand jury presentment say it recommended charges that included perjury and contempt of court.
WNEP followed up on the news, reaching out to Kane’s attorney Lanny Davis, who asked a pretty good question:
“The attorney general has done nothing wrong or illegal and, to my knowledge, there is no credible evidence that she has. She told the truth to the grand jury at all times. I hope the district attorney will reach same conclusion.
“This anonymous leak to the inquirer about this alleged presentment could be, in and of itself, a possible violation of the state grand jury secrecy act. I wonder why the supervising judge who appointed the special prosecutor to investigate the attorney general hasn’t initiated a grand jury investigation of this leak or any of the other previous leaks from this same grand jury process.”
The short answer to this is that they should investigate it, if this was an actual leak from a public official. That doesn’t negate the case against Kane on its own, though, and it still leaves a lot of questions as to how Kane handled the earlier corruption probe and what her motives may have been.
The decision now falls to the Montgomery County district attorney, who would be hard pressed to explain why a grand jury presentment didn’t get prosecuted. It may also end up in the Pennsylvania legislature, which could act to impeach Kane once they see the evidence on which the grand jury acted. They don’t have to wait for a trial to act, since impeachment is a political rather than legal act, but it would take two-thirds of the state senate to accomplish it, according to the state constitution.