Criminal Charges Brought Against Kathleen Kane; Wolf Says She Should Step Down

Montco D.A. Risa Vetri Ferman announces that Kane will face conspiracy, perjury charges and more for leaking grand jury information. Kane says she will fight, and will not resign.

Risa Vetri Ferman discusses charges against Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Risa Vetri Ferman discusses charges against Attorney General Kathleen Kane. | 6ABC

[UPDATE, 1:20 P.M.] Governor Tom Wolf is calling on Kathleen Kane to step down as attorney general in the wake of this mornings charges against her. While he makes clear that “she is entitled to due process,” he does not believe she can do her job while facing what he calls “these serious charges.”

Here is the full text of Wolf’s statement:

“In this criminal complaint, Attorney General Kathleen Kane was charged with official oppression; she was charged with obstruction of administration of law; she was charged with perjury. These are the charges and there are other serious charges, and they are troubling. And, I am not sure how the top law enforcement officer in Pennsylvania can continue to perform her duties while she is defending herself against these serious charges. They are serious.

“She is entitled to her day in court. She is entitled to due process under our system of government and law, and she will have time to defend herself, and I think she needs to do that.

“But in the meantime, I am calling on her to step aside, step down as attorney general, because I think she cannot do what she has to do as the top law enforcement officer in Pennsylvania while she’s facing these serious charges.”

[ORIGINAL, 11:43 A.M.] Attorney General Kathleen Kane has been changed with criminal offenses stemming from her leak of grand jury information, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman announced this morning.

“This is a sad day for the citizens of Pennsylvania, and a sad day for all of us in law enforcement,” Ferman said in announcing the charges.”When someone is entrusted with upholding the law violates that law, we are all victims, every one of us.”

Ferman added: “No one is above the law, not even the chief law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Kane faces charges (docket below) that include obstructing the administration of law, conspiracy, perjury and false swearing.

The charges were based, in part, on grand jury findings that Kane leaked documents about a 2009 investigation of Jerry Mondesire, then the head of the Philadelphia NAACP, through a political operative to then-Daily News reporter Chris Brennan. No charges came of the investigation, but details of the investigation were revealed in a Brennan-authored story for the Daily News on June 6, 2014.

Kane leaked the information, Ferman said, to embarrass a former prosecutor – Frank Fina, now in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office — whom she believed had tried to make her look bad. And when called to discuss the matter before a grand jury, Ferman said, Kane lied repeatedly.

“This was her war … conducted without regard to the rules, regard to the law, and without regard to the collateral damage that might entail,” Ferman said.

Ferman praised current and former staffers in the attorney general’s office for their testimony in the case, calling them “warriors for justice.”

“It takes tremendous courage to stand up and, in essence, tell on your boss,” Ferman said. “That’s a hard thing to do.”

Kane should be arraigned in the next two days, Ferman said, before Montgomery County Judge Cathleen Kelly Rebar.

Kane responded immediately with a statement that she intends to defend herself vigorously.

“I am very disappointed the district attorney has made the decision to pursue this case. I have maintained my innocence from the day these allegations surfaced and I continue to do so today.

“I intend to defend myself vigorously against these charges. I look forward to the opportunity to present my case in a public courtroom and move beyond the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that has defined the process to this point.

“Meanwhile, I remain committed to leading the Office of Attorney General and doing the job the citizens of this Commonwealth elected me to do. A resignation would be an admission of guilt and I’m not guilty.

“I assure everyone the Office of Attorney General will continue to fulfill its mission to protect and serve the citizens of Pennsylvania.”

This is a developing story. More information as it becomes available.

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Statement from Risa Vetri Ferman:

Charges against Kathleen Kane: