Kane claims political attack: ‘I did nothing illegal. Period.’
HARRISBURG — Attorney General Kathleen Kane on Friday denied any wrongdoing and claimed she is under “political attack” for trying to change the state Capitol’s political culture.
In her first public statement since a Philadelphia newspaper’s report that a grand jury will recommend criminal charges against her for leaking confidential information, Kane said a “fair and impartial review of the facts” will conclude she has done nothing illegal.
“This seems to me to be another political attack on my attempt to clean up Harrisburg and its political culture. They have fought me all the way, including an effort to impeach me,” Kane said, without specifying to whom she referred, although it appeared to be Republicans, including Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of Cranberry, who tried to remove her from office.
Kane released the statement through her Washington-based attorney, Lanny Davis, who said he would hold a news conference Saturday to defend her against the Philadelphia Inquirer report that a statewide grand jury recommended criminal charges against her.
Kane, 48, of Clarks Summit could face charges of perjury and contempt of court if Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman decides to move forward with the case, the Inquirer reported Thursday.
The case involves the leak of what may have been grand jury investigative material to the Philadelphia Daily News.
“I did nothing illegal. Period,” Kane’s statement began. “… Since taking office, I have torn up their questionable contracts, cleaned up their investigations, broke their pornography ring and prosecuted corrupt officials. I will continue to clean up Harrisburg, despite these attacks that seem to be more about politics than the merits.”
Kane testified before a grand jury in Montgomery County in November and acknowledged she was aware that her office conveyed documents to the Daily News, but she maintained the documents were not covered by grand jury secrecy rules.
Davis said if the Inquirer report is accurate, it will be up to Ferman to decide whether to press charges. Ferman could not be reached at her Norristown office.
“What I’ve done for my career, that goes back to representing President Clinton, is to get all the facts out,” Davis said.
Davis said a campaign to “bring her down” began the day Kane announced she would investigate whether Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, when attorney general, slowed the investigation of serial child molester Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach.
Davis did not direct his allegation toward anyone and said he cannot “name names” because of court-ordered restrictions.
Kane’s report on the Sandusky case found no evidence of a deliberate delay for political reasons, but her investigators pinpointed problems with the investigation. Sandusky is serving a prison sentence for child molestation.
Davis, in an interview, spoke of “cleaning up the mess in the Attorney General’s Office.”
Corbett’s spokesman Jay Pagni said the governor “is proud of his tenure as attorney general, and he has the utmost respect for the professionals who worked with him during his tenure.”
Kane released pornographic emails shared by former prosecutors and an agent who worked under GOP administrations in the office. State Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery, who was the source of some of the emails, subsequently resigned, as did a number of the recipients.
In 2013, Kane blocked a lottery contract that Corbett signed to privatize management of the state lottery.
Corbett lost his re-election bid in November to Democrat Tom Wolf, who takes office Jan. 20.
Metcalfe sponsored an impeachment resolution against Kane last session for refusing to defend the state law banning gay marriage and said he would reintroduce the bill.
Many of those involved in the investigation of Kane are Republicans: Ferman, who is running for judge; Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter, who oversaw the investigating grand jury; its special prosecutor, Thomas Carluccio; and retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille, who authorized hiring a special prosecutor.
Kane is the state’s first Democrat and first woman to be elected attorney general.
“You have to remember that we only have the information that we do have due to a leak,” said John Burkoff, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “Who knows whether that leak is accurate, or whether the grand jury has truly completed its deliberations related to the attorney general?”
Rep. Brandon Neuman, a Washington County Democrat, agreed. “Right now, you’re looking at a leaked investigation about a leaked investigation.”
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media’s state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or [email protected].