Kathleen Kane, Scandal-Plagued PA AG, Resigns Following Conviction

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on August 17, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A few years ago, Kathleen Kane was a legal star. She started her career at Post and Schell, one of Philadelphia's elite firms, went on to become a successful assistant district attorney, and then became the first woman elected as the state's attorney general. She was, as the New York Times recently described her, "one of the most powerful women in Pennsylvania."

That is, until she was caught in a series of scandals involving everything from her illicit leaks, to state Supreme Court justices' pornographic emails. Last September her law license was suspended, on Monday she was found guilty of nine criminal charges, including perjury and criminal conspiracy, and yesterday she finally announced that she will be resigning her position as the top law enforcement officer in the state.

Scandal After Scandal After Scandal

Kane's problems came early in her tenure as Pennsylvania attorney general. Facing criticism for her offices failure to investigate corruption charges against Democrats, she leaked details from a grand jury investigation, allegedly to show that it was another prosecutor, Frank Fina, who had let the investigation laps.

And that was just the start of Kane's battle with Fina. Fina, who had made his career putting away Pennsylvania politicians involved in scandals like "Bonusgate" and "Computergate," was himself brought down by another -gate: "Porngate." While investigating Jerry Sandusky, the convicted serial child molester and star Penn State coach, Kane's office found a trove of pornographic and racist emails sent between state political leaders, including Fina and multiple state Supreme Court justices.

Kane spent much of 2015 releasing them to the public, arguing that the charges against her were an attempt to keep her from exposing the emails. As the saying goes, it's not the crime that gets you, nor is it the cover-up, it's just the cabal of offensive emailers.

"A Disgrace"

But Kane's political battles, not to mention her leaks and cover ups, eventually lead to her downfall. While she was facing charges stemming from her leaks, the state Supreme Court unanimously took away her law license. And on Monday she was found guilty of nine criminal counts. Her most serious conviction, felony perjury, could result in potential jail time.

Following the verdict, the prosecutor in Kane's case, Michelle Henry, said she was personally offended by Kane's behavior in office. "What she did while attorney general, the fact that she committed criminal acts when she's the top prosecutor, is a disgrace," Henry.

Announcing her resignation the next day, Kane said, "I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days."

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