What They’re Saying About Kathleen Kane’s Conviction
Politicians around Pennsylvania called on Attorney General Kathleen Kane to resign after a jury convicted her Monday night of perjury, obstruction, and other charges related to an act of political retaliation against a former state prosecutor.
The case has consumed the political press since the spring of 2014, when the Philadelphia Inquirer ran one of its biggest headlines, typographically speaking, in recent memory: KANE SHUT DOWN STING THAT SNARED CITY POLS. The paper reported that day that Kane, who’d taken office the previous year, had quietly spiked an investigation into six Philly Democrats who’d been caught accepting bribes in a sting operation. She maintained early on that the sting was tainted by racial bias — all the targets were African-American — and that prosecutions weren’t winnable.
She was later embarrassed when Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who she had challenged to take up the investigation after he had criticized her for dropping it, successfully prosecuted five of the six politicians caught in the sting. Williams had hired Frank Fina, a former state prosecutor who Kane later suspected of being the Inquirer’s source for the story on the dropped investigation. Kane’s toxic relationship with Fina is what led to her conviction.
On Monday, a jury found that Kane had been responsible for leaking secret grand jury documents suggesting that Fina had dropped a previous investigation into former Philadelphia NAACP director Jerry Mondesire, in an attempt to embarrass Fina. Kane also lied about her actions under oath, the jury concluded.
Kane announced in February that she wouldn’t seek a second term, but has so far resisted calls to resign. Those calls were renewed with fervor on Monday night.
“As I have made clear, I do not believe Kathleen Kane should be Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement. “I believed this when she was charged, and today, after conviction, there should be no question that she should resign immediately.”
Josh Shapiro, a Montgomery County Democrat who’s running to replace Kane as attorney general, called the verdict “another sad chapter” for Pennsylvania.
Kane verdict is another sad chapter for our Commonwealth. My statement: pic.twitter.com/CGB1yyUyBk
— Josh Shapiro (@JoshShapiroPA) August 16, 2016
Naturally, condemnations came from Republicans too. Rob Gleason, chairman of the PA Republican Party, used the occasion to remind voters to support Republican John Rafferty for Attorney General in November. Jake Corman and Joe Scarnati, top Republicans in the state Senate, said that if Kane doesn’t resign immediately they’ll call legislators back to Harrisburg to consider removing her from office under the state constitution.
— Senator Jake Corman (@JakeCorman) August 16, 2016
Embarrassment has been spread far and wide throughout the saga. Kane led the charge for the release of a pile of pornographic emails that had been sent between state employees, including in the attorney general’s office, before Kane was elected. The porngate scandal led to the resignations of PA Supreme Court justices J. Michael Eakin and Seamus McCaffrey. It’s also raised questions about whether Seth Williams, who’s up for reelection next year and, is the right man for the job. Williams hired three former prosecutors who’d been caught sending or receiving the porn emails, including Fina, and repeatedly bungled the discipline he’d promised to deliver them.
Condemnation of Kane came from national figures as well. On Tuesday, Donald Trump’s campaign released a statement tying Kane to Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton endorsed Kane in 2012.
Trump campaign: Kathleen Kane is a "Clinton insider" pic.twitter.com/zlc7uY4HJ1
— Anna Orso (@anna_orso) August 16, 2016
So much for the Democratic rising star of Kathleen Kane as another example of a liberal using their office to bend the rules!
— Jon (@stuggots23) August 16, 2016
— Dell Poncet (@PHLBizDPoncet) August 16, 2016
She was a rising star and the most powerful woman in Pennsylvania. Now, she is a convicted criminal. https://t.co/Ugq81nkQm8
— Jess Bidgood (@jessbidgood) August 16, 2016
Follow @jaredbrey on Twitter.