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August 31, 2015

Supporters of Kathleen Kane start online petition

Citing her election, organizers ask not to suspend law license

Kathleen Kane Petition
Kathleen Kane Wolf Matt Rourke/AP Photo

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane walks to hear Tom Wolf take the oath of office to become the 47th governor of Pennsylvania, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Wolf has since asked Kane to step down in the wake of criminal obstruction charges brought against her.

Supporters of embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane have started an online petition asking the commonwealth's supreme court disciplinary board to reject efforts to suspend her law license, therefore removing her from office, before she is given a fair trial. 

The petition on Change.org, which was just shy of its 1,000-signature goal Monday afternoon, cites the strength of her 2012 election win and her past successes in her short tenure as the state's top prosecutor as reason for not unseating her. 

"To suspend Ms. Kane's license and therefore nullify votes would be an injustice to the citizens of Pennsylvania who ventured out to the polls that election day to support someone we truly believed in," the petition states. "We the citizens of Pennsylvania choose our elected officials, the Supreme Court does not."

A notice from the board challenging her law license was sent to Kane's office Friday, according to reports, giving her 10 days to respond. If her license is suspended, she could no longer serve in the position of Attorney General.

The board has the power to suspend a license for "egregious conduct.”

Kane has been charged with leaking grand jury information in an attempt at political payback, specifically targeting former employee Frank Fina, and then lying about it. 

She has claimed innocence throughout the proceedings and said she was targeted after her office uncovered a chain of pornographic emails sent by employees of her office's predecessor, Tom Corbett, who went on to serve as governor. 

Corbett is a Republican while Kane was the first Democrat and the first woman elected to the office. 

The petition cites her victory over Republican challenger David Freed and that she garnered more than 3 million votes, topping the total for President Barack Obama in the state on the same election day. It also makes note of her mass arrests of child predators and drug offenders since taking office. 

"It is our right to elect our officials and we ask that you respect that by stepping aside and allowing Kathleen Kane her right to due process," the petition says. "The Pennsylvania citizens that are chosen to be part of the jury during this case will make the informed decision as to whether Ms. Kane is guilty or not."

In addition to the court's disciplinary board, the petition calls on Senator Bob Casey and Governor Tom Wolf, as well as other Democratic state officials, to stay out of the matter until the legal process plays out. Wolf has asked Kane to step down in the wake of the charges. 

Public support for Kane is waning. A recent poll from Franklin and Marshall found that while a majority of residents didn't believe she should resign, 54 percent believed she should be impeached by the state legislature and forced from office. 

A Quinnipiac poll found a larger number believing she should resign and a majority disapprove of her job performance.