Democratic Attorney General Sentenced to Prison, Handcuffed in Court Before Family


PENNSYLVANIA — Attorney General Kathleen Kane was originally charged for illegally disclosing details from a grand jury investigation to embarrass a rival and lying about it under oath.  Prosecutors called her crimes “egregious” and pushed for jail time. They said a paranoid Kane ruined morale in the 800-person office and the wider law enforcement community through a calculated scheme to embarrass rival prosecutors who had left the office.

By order of Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy, Kathleen Kane was sentenced 10 to 23 months in jail for illegally disclosing details from a grand jury investigation, two felony counts of perjury and seven misdemeanor charges. Deeming Kane a political “neophyte,” Demchik-Alloy told Kane that her “off with your heads” mentality and failure to transition from campaigner to public servant led to her downfall.

“This case is about ego – the ego of a politician consumed with her image from day one,” Demchick-Alloy said. “This case is about retaliation and revenge against perceived enemies who this defendant felt had embarrassed her in the press. Your children are the ultimate collateral damage.  They are casualties of your actions. But you did that, not this court.”

Kane was the first woman and first Democrat elected as Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor. The former assistant county prosecutor was seen as a rising star in the state Democratic Party, before her office fell into turmoil over her behavior and illegal actions.

She had been a stay-at-home mother, and former assistant county prosecutor, before using her husband’s trucking fortune to run for statewide office in 2012.

On Monday, former deputy Clarke Madden said in court that a dark cloud permeated every corner of the attorney general’s office and victims, witnesses and other law enforcement agencies feared working with them.

“Through a pattern of systemic firings and Nixonian espionage, she created a terror zone in this office,” said Erik Olsen, a career prosecutor who is now the chief deputy attorney general.

Kane enjoyed mostly good press early on as she supported gay marriage, ramped up a child predator unit run by her twin sister and questioned her predecessor’s handling of the Penn State sex assault case.

But turmoil inside the office became apparent as top deputies and career prosecutors headed for the doors. Kane’s feud with one of them, Frank Fina, who had helped run the Penn State probe and other sensitive investigations, led to the leak.

Kane, taking aim at him, had a campaign consultant pass confidential files to a reporter about a corruption case Fina had declined to charge before he left the office. She then tried to frame someone else for the leak, aides testified at the perjury and obstruction trial.

Kane and her husband are now estranged and share custody of their teenage boys.

“I really don’t care what happens to me,” Kane said before leaning toward the defense table to grab tissues. “There is no more torture in the world than to watch your children suffer and know you had something to do with it.”

After the decision was made, Kane was handcuffed on the spot before family and friends. She has posted her $75,000 cash bail and now remains free while she appeals her conviction.

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