Six Things to Know About Kathleen Kane’s Preliminary Hearing

In a bizarre Montco court proceeding that featured Kane's twin sister, a judge ruled that the embattled Pa. attorney general will go to trial to face charges against her.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane departs after her preliminary hearing Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, Pa.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane departs after her preliminary hearing Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, Pa.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane had her first day in court Monday. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that prosecutors say Kane leaked confidential information to the news media in order to embarrass Frank Fina, a former prosecutor in the Attorney General’s office under her predecessor, and that Kane subsequently lied about it to a grand jury.

Here’s what you need to know about the hearing:

1. The Case Is Going to Trial

The whole point of the preliminary hearing was for Magisterial Judge Cathleen Kelly Rebar to decide whether prosecutors had enough evidence in order for the case to go to trial. Rebar decided that they did, so Kane is now facing a full-fledged trial on all charges. When, exactly? Possibly in 2016. There will be an arraignment on October 14th.

2. Kane’s Attorney Tried to Have All Charges Dismissed

Gerald Shargel, an attorney for Kane, sought to have all charges against her dismissed. They include perjury, official oppression, false swearing and contempt of court. Does the fact that he failed mean anything? Not really. The burden for prosecutors is low at this stage, and Shargel himself said at a press conference afterward that no lawyer should expect to have charges dismissed at this time.

3. Kane’s Attorney Made Reference to “Thousands and Thousands” of Pornographic Emails, Basically Out of Nowhere

While cross-examining Montgomery County detective Paul Bradbury, Shargel said that if Kane really wanted to embarrass Fina, there was a faster way to do it than by leaking confidential information. He claimed that she knew Fina had a collection of “thousands and thousands” of pornographic emails. The allegation came out of left field, and the prosecutors objected to Shargel’s line of questioning. The judge upheld the objection, saying, “This is not a press conference.”

While speaking to reporters afterward, Shargel would not say why, exactly, the alleged emails would be relevant to the case. “I’m not testing my defense with the media,” he said. You can be certain we’ll hear more about this in the months ahead, though.

4. Kane Was Mum the Whole Time

The press swarmed Kane both as she entered the courtroom and when she left it. “How do you feel?” one reporter asked. “Do you have any comment?” said another. She didn’t say a word.

5. Kane’s Twin Sister Drew Reporters’ Attention as the Kane Camp Entered Court

In what some outlets called a decoy, Kane’s twin sister, Ellen Granaham Goffer, preceded her into the courtroom. Whether the move was an intentional ploy or simply one sister showing her support for another, the effect was that all the cameras followed Goffer as Kane, surrounded by security, followed behind.

6. Kane Supporters Lined Up to See Her

Inside the courtroom, Kane’s political career may have looked about over. But outside, it was a different scene. Several locals meandered up to “courtroom B,” where Kane’s hearing was taking place, to get a firsthand look at news in the making. And many of them were supportive of Kane.

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