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August 07, 2015

Kane to turn herself in Saturday

State Attorney General to be arraigned as one Republican prepares impeachment

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane will surrender to authorities this Saturday as politicians from both parties call for her to resign.

Kane was criminally charged Thursday by Montgomery County prosecutors who allege she unlawfully leaked secret grand jury materials to the media.

The attorney general will go to the Montgomery County Detective Bureau at 1:30 p.m., then will appear for an arraignment via a video connection at 2 p.m. before District Judge Kelly Rebar, who sits in Collegeville, according to Risa Vetri Ferman, the Montgomery County District Attorney.

In a statement responding to the indictment Thursday, Kane’s lawyer, Gerald Shargel, said “we intend to enter a plea of not guilty.  We say now as we have said before that Attorney General Kathleen Kane is innocent of any wrongdoing.”

RELATED ARTICLEPennsylvania AG Kathleen Kane charged with obstruction

Governor Tom Wolf said he wanted Kane to step down while she fought the charges. As an elected official, however, Kane can not be forced out by Wolf - the Legislature would likely have to move to impeach her.

Impeachment proceedings in Pennsylvania start in the General Assembly. The process isn't easy - the last time an office holder was removed was in 1994 when Justice Rolf Larson was impeached after being convicted on conspiracy charges. If the General Assembly votes in favor of impeachment, then there is a trial in the state Senate. For both chambers to approve impeachment and remove the official from office, the measures have to be supported by a two-thirds majority.

"Impeachment is a very lengthy process and people would look for a quick solution," said Bill Patton, a spokesman for Rep. Frank Dermody, the Democratic minority leader who represents Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, when asked about the possibility of impeaching Kane.

Patton did not say how Dermody would vote on a resolution to impeach Kane but said Dermody thought it would be difficult for Kane to do her job while fighting criminal charges.

A resolution seeking Kane’s impeachment was previously prepared by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican representing Butler County in western Pennsylvania. 

"I believe then, as I believe today, that she has displayed a blatant disregard for the law," Metcalfe told fellow lawmakers in a memo last year. 

For Republicans, they are also weary of impeachment proceedings.

"If she is still in office by the time we come back, we are going to be looking at legislative options, of which there is only one," said Stephen Miskin, a spokesman for House Republican Leader Dave Reed, who represents part of Indiana County. The General Assembly reconvenes on August 25.

"Nobody would like to go that route," Miskin said of impeachment. "It is a lengthy process."

A conviction would result in Kane's removal from her position, as would a decision by the state's top court to revoke her license, which political experts say would make her ineligible for her job.

PhillyVoice staff writer Kevin Shelly contributed to this report.