Kathleen Kane Crosses a Final Line

Attorney General Kathleen Kane walks from the State Supreme Court room, Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at City Hall in Philadelphia.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane walks from the State Supreme Court room, Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at City Hall in Philadelphia.

That’s it. Kathleen Kane is over, or should be at any rate.

Not officially, of course. We don’t know yet if Montgomery County D.A. Risa Vetri Ferman will accept a grand jury’s recommendations and bring charges against her for leaking grand jury information to the Philadelphia Daily News. There’s always a chance Ferman decides the scandal is overblown, do us all a favor, and walk away without putting us through the spectacle of the state’s chief law enforcement officer being put on trial.

Politically, though, she’s done. And she should be. Her missteps are too numerous, too embarrassing, too hackish to amount to much more than political malpractice.  Read more »

Kane Fires Official Who Testified Against Her

Kathleen Kane

Not sure how this helps Attorney General Kathleen Kane escape the scandals besetting her administration: She has fired James Barker, the official whose testimony reportedly helped lead a grand jury to recommend charges against her. A spokesman said the office is undergoing a “restructuring.”

The Tribune-Review reports:

Barker told the Tribune-Review he testified before a statewide grand jury in Norristown that investigated Kane. He said he was under a “protective order” that was supposed to prevent retaliation against witnesses.

“I don’t believe I did anything wrong,” Barker said. “I don’t know why I was fired. My firing was the first anyone heard anything about a restructuring” of the criminal division, he said.

Asked if he would file a lawsuit to contest his firing, Barker said, “I guess that’s something I’d have to think about.”

Read more »

Kane Loses Challenge, Ferman May Investigate Further


[UPDATE, 10:55 a.m.] Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman has released a statement on her intention to review the findings of the investigating grand jury, and possibly conduct further investigation. Her office will review special prosecutor Thomas Carluccio’s “report relating to Attorney General Kathleen Kane and the voluminous information gathered by the Thirty-Fifth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury,” and “[s]hould further investigation be warranted, the District Attorney’s Office and Detective Bureau will undertake such independent investigation as necessary.”

After all of that, Vetri Ferman says her office will “review the applicable laws and make determinations as to whether criminal charges are warranted against any individual.”

In other words, this could take a while. Stay tuned.

[ORIGINAL, 6:08 a.m.] Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane on Tuesday lost her attempt to quash a grand jury’s investigation of her, opening the possibility that she’ll soon face criminal charges for leaking confidential information to a Philadelphia newspaper.


Nearly a year after an investigation was launched into alleged grand jury leaks from Attorney General Kathleen Kane, the state Supreme Court has ruled that a judge had the authority to appoint a special prosecutor in the case.

The Supreme Court’s 4-1 ruling leaves open the possibility of charges being pursued against her.

“We follow the approach of the United States Supreme Court and the many other jurisdictions which have found such appointments proper as an essential means to vindicate the courts’ own authority,” wrote Chief Justice Thomas Saylor, in his opinion.

Read more »

The Brief: Happy Ballot Challenge Season!


We’ve officially entered that most wonderful time of year: Ballot Challenge Season.

To get on the May 19th primary ballot, a candidate running for citywide office in Philadelphia must get at least 1,000 voters to sign their nomination petitions. That paperwork must be filed by today, March 10th.

But the signatures can’t come from just anyone: They must be from registered voters of the candidate’s party. Each voter must write out their full name, address and the date on the petition, in addition to their signature. If any of these items are missing or somehow flawed, a candidate is leaving themselves open to a legal challenge from another campaign. Because why beat the competition in an open election when you can eliminate them beforehand?

Read more »

More Sting Charges Expected

Williams Kane

The “double-dog dare” continues to backfire on Kathleen Kane.

Nearly a year after the attorney general invited Philadelphia D.A. Seth Williams — one of her loudest critics — to try to prosecute the “abandoned sting” of corrupt Philly lawmakers she had decided not to prosecute, despite having recordings of those lawmakers accepting gifts that were never reported to the state. Williams gleefully accepted the offer and not long after started cranking out the prosecutions.

He’ll add three more names to that list today at a news conference where he’ll announce charges against “two current and one former” state representatives. He did not name them, but the Inquirer and Daily News identified the three as State Reps. Louise Williams Bishop and Michelle Brownlee and former State Rep. Harold James, all Democrats from Philly. Read more »

The Brief: No Peace for the SRC

Green Williams Clarke

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission approved five out of 39 applications for new charter schools yesterday night at the tail end of a meeting that featured four arrests and lasted five hours. The decision appeared to please no one. One prominent national ed reformer called on SRC Chairman Bill Green to resign, for not approving enough charter applicants. Pretty much simultaneously, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten condemned the decision to approve any new charter schools. Gov. Wolf issued a statement saying his administration “continues to believe that the district’s financial situation cannot responsibly handle the approval of new charter schools.” We haven’t heard yet from Republicans in the General Assembly, but you can bet they would like to have seen more new charters than the five the SRC authorized. Read more »

Kane Asks Court to Quash Grand Jury

Kathleen Kane

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has made her case why the Pennsylvania Supreme Court should quash a grand jury that has recommended she face charges related leaking secret case information to the media.

“Kane’s defense attorneys claimed in legal filings Wednesday that Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter had no legal authority to appoint a special prosecutor to lead a grand jury media leak probe,” the Morning Call reports. “Kane’s attorneys say Carpenter could not appoint a special prosecutor with subpoena powers because the state’s special prosecutor law expired in 2003. Such a unilateral appointment would have been illegal under the old law, which said a randomly selected three-judge panel could vote to appoint a special prosecutor, not an individual judge, the legal brief states.”

Read more »

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »