If anyone expected Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane to exit public life quietly, they are getting the shock of their lives — and so are a number of public officials in the Keystone State. After being indicted in a leak scandal for perjury and obstruction, and having her law license revoked, Kane has started releasing explicit and raunchy e-mails sent and received through the AG’s office. The releases have already ended public careers, and Pennsylvania officials are waiting for the next shoes to drop:
Facing criminal charges, relieved of her law license and threatened with removal by the Legislature, Pennsylvania’s attorney general seems to have decided that if she has to go, she’s going to take others down with her.
Since all three branches of state government began moving against her over the past year, Kathleen Kane has released hundreds of sexually explicit or otherwise crude emails that had been sent or received by current or former public officials on their government accounts.
The tangled scandal has led to the downfall of a state environmental secretary and shamed a state police commissioner, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice and several former top officials in the attorney general’s office. Another high-court justice resigned after newspapers disclosed his involvement.
It’s created “a freaking mess,” according to one former ally of Kane:
“It’s a mess. It’s just a freaking mess,” said John Morganelli, the Northampton County district attorney and a Democrat who at one time supported Kane. “Accusations and counter-accusations. And it gets worse every day. It’s like going into a war zone.”
Last week, Kane’s hometown newspaper, the Times-Tribune of Scranton, ran a Halloween-theme cartoon of her as a witch saying: “I’ll get you my pretties … and your filthy emails too.”
Gabriel Malor noted at the time that the state Supreme Court declined to remove her from office when they suspended her license, since her case was ongoing. While Kane cannot appear in court to represent the state (or anyone else) at this point, the court ruled that she could continue to serve in her elected capacity. The state legislature will have to impeach her, and the state senate is looking into that possibility. As long as Kane remains in office, though, she can continue to wreak havoc, and wreak her vengeance on her opponents.
Today, Kane found herself back in court in a related matter. She had insinuated that members of her office under the previous AG may have leaked grand jury information in the Jerry Sandusky case, an allegation that got Sandusky’s defense team mighty interested in what Kane might have to say. A judge ordered her to testify under oath today about the allegations, but Sandusky’s attorney paints her testimony as anti-climactic:
Embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has finished testifying in closed session on the issue of possible leaks from a grand jury investigation investigating the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
The session concluded about 1:45 p.m., and, according to the lead attorney for Sandusky’s appeals, there were no bombshells.
“I don’t think there’s going to be much impact with this session,” said Al Lindsay, the Pittsburgh lawyer representing the man now best-known as one of America’s most notorious child molesters.
“If you’re asking is this a make-or-break session? Is this going to have a big impact on where we go with this? I don’t think so.”
It sounds as though Kane shot off her mouth and didn’t have anything to say in the end, but … who knows? Perhaps Kane will find something else to leak in the near future. Meanwhile, don’t send any PG-13 rated jokes to public officials in Pennsylvania that you wouldn’t want your neighbors to read.