Sam Katz to Produce Kathleen Kane Documentary
The producers of Law & Order couldn’t top this if they tried: a gripping drama about a rising star politician whose charges of racism and misbehavior have laid low the careers of several other high-ranking politicians—and who finds herself in a fight for her own political life that she may well lose.
What’s more, the drama is unfolding around us right now, in real life, and documentary filmmaker Sam Katz is planning to tell the whole story. The film, to be called The Kane Mutiny, is about Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane and the myriad scandals surrounding her.
Katz announced the film Thursday afternoon.
“This is very different” from a typical political intrigue, he told Philly Mag. “I want to make a film that people will want to watch, one that opens up a different prism into American politics and government.”
A fresh face who came from out of nowhere to become the first woman and first Democrat to be elected attorney general, Kane built her victory on endorsements from Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama along with charges that then-Gov. Tom Corbett deliberately dragged his feet on investigating disgraced Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was later convicted on multiple counts of child sexual abuse.
Once in office, Kane launched her own investigation into the handling of the Sandusky case, during which she uncovered thousands of emails containing pornographic and racist content that were circulated among Pennsylvania judicial and law enforcement officials — a scandal that came to be known as “Porngate.”
Her rivalry with Frank Fina — a top deputy to Corbett who went to work for Philadelphia D.A. Seth Williams — has spilled beyond Porngate into a series of related dustups, including allegations she abandoned a corruption investigation against Democratic legislators and that she leaked grand jury information illegally in order to get political payback. The fight has already destroyed or damaged the careers of state Supreme Court justices, prosecutors, members of her office staff and elected officials, and it now threatens to take down Kane herself.
She’s facing trial, indicted for leaking confidential grand jury information, and stripped of her license to practice law. This week, the state Senate took the historically unprecedented step of voting unanimously to seek her removal from office, and she could be impeached as well. In the meantime, she continues to hurl accusations at what she sees as an old boys’ network that’s out to destroy her.
To tell this story, Katz is partnering with veteran magazine journalist Lisa DePaulo, who got her start in journalism at Philadelphia magazine in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She served for several years as GQ’s top political writer and was also associated with George, the political magazine published by John F. Kennedy Jr.
Since this story isn’t over yet, what’s the rush? “Anytime you have a good idea, it’s possible that you’re not the only one who has it, so I wanted to get out in front of the possibility that someone else might also want to do this,” said Katz. “I’d been noodling with this idea for some time now, and every day, something new and different happens, and finally, I said to myself that this was the time to start.
Katz explained that we already know the two possible endings: Kane loses her job one way or another, or she gets re-elected in spite of everything. “I know the lead time involved in producing a documentary, and if I want to get it done, I have to start now,” he said.
Katz plans to raise the money for the film and seek the necessary permissions to use archival TV news footage as the story continues to unfold. His goal is to release the finished product in mid-2017.