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September 18, 2015

Kane reps want inquiry into alleged leaks in case against AG

A day after Montgomery County detectives executed a new search warrant at the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, representatives for Kane issued a statement strongly objecting to alleged leaks of information in the ongoing criminal investigation against their client.

Kane, charged last month with perjury and conspiracy, says she was targeted as retaliation for exposing corruption and a chain of pornographic e-mails by state officials. Prosecutors contend she unlawfully leaked secret grand jury information from a 2009 case in order to embarrass a political opponent, former employee Frank Fina, but Kane argues she was free to release the information because it pertained to a prior administration.

On Friday, Kane's attorneys, Gerald L. Shargel and Ross M. Kramer, of Winston & Strawn LLP, released the following statement:

"With each passing day, we grow more frustrated and disappointed with the prejudiced and unjust investigation being conducted into the alleged conduct of Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

"At this time, we have no choice but to call on the Courts to conduct a full inquiry into the continued leaks of information in this case. Those leaks threaten Attorney General Kane’s fundamental constitutional rights to hold elected office and to a fair trial before a jury of her peers."

"Several weeks ago, a supposedly “confidential” document filed in an attorney disciplinary proceeding was leaked to the press. In fact, the press had the document before either Attorney General Kane or her attorneys. There was good reason for this document to have been labeled confidential. The allegations it contained were completely false, and its release threatened to unfairly taint the jury pool in the criminal proceedings.
"Yesterday, a supposedly “sealed” search warrant was executed at the Office of Attorney General. Yet there were reporters waiting in the lobby of the Office for that search to be executed. And those reporters immediately knew the substance of the warrant, and the substance of the documents that were taken from the Office of Attorney General.
"This is prejudicial misconduct of the highest order, threatening the constitutional rights of an elected official and a citizen of this Commonwealth.

"It also highlights the utter hypocrisy of this investigation. The District Attorney’s Office alleges that Attorney General Kane leaked information about a five-year-old investigation where no charges would or could be brought. Now, there are regular and unconscionable leaks of confidential information in this case.

"An elected official is being railroaded out of office, and forced to defend herself before a jury pool that has been intentionally and irrevocably tainted. This is absolutely and fundamentally wrong. It should not be allowed to stand.

"We anticipate taking further action on this issue (including raising legal motions at the appropriate time), but we call on the Courts in the first instance to begin a full inquiry immediately."

A formal arraignment for Kane is scheduled to take place October 16. 

As the investigation continues, the Disciplinary Board of Pennsylvania's Supreme Court is seeking an emergency suspension of her law license, which would make her ineligible to hold the office of Attorney General.

Despite the indictment and other efforts to discredit her, Kane, who is Pennsylvania's first woman and first Democrat to serve as Attorney General, has vowed to run for a second term in 2016.