Pennsylvania's top prosecutor defiant, claims innocence in leak case

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 12, 2015 6:28 PM

By David DeKok

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who has been charged with leaking secret grand jury material to the media, maintained on Wednesday that she "broke no laws" and said her enemies were trying to draw attention away from their links to pornographic e-mails she uncovered.

Kane, 49, spoke at a news conference at the capitol building, her first remarks since she was arraigned on Saturday.

"My defense will not be that I am the victim of some old boys network; it will be that I broke no laws of the commonwealth. Period," Kane said.

Kane, a Democrat, has been feuding with prosecutor Frank Fina. Fina worked for former Republican attorney general Tom Corbett, who later went on to serve as governor.

Last year, Kane investigated how Corbett handled the probe into child sex abuse charges against former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Her investigation uncovered scandalous e-mails containing explicit material, many of which originated with former state prosecutors.

Fina, the chief Sandusky prosecutor, obtained an order from Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge William Carpenter barring release of any e-mails that Fina had sent under grounds they were protected by grand jury secrecy.

In October 2014, Kane allowed reporters to review some of the emails. The resulting stories led to Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffrey resigning while a number of Corbett Administration staffers either were fired, resigned or were reprimanded.

The Montgomery County district attorney has charged Kane with leaking grand jury testimony, perjury and obstruction of justice. The indictment said she leaked the material to discredit Fina.

At her news conference, Kane called on Judge Carpenter to release all of the pornographic e-mails.

"I do not do so as part of some vendetta," she said, reading from a statement. "I do so to begin to tell the whole story, a story that is critical to my defense against the charges I face."

A spokeswoman for Judge Carpenter said he was in court Wednesday and had not had a chance to read Kane’s statement. “He won’t be saying anything today,” she said.

Fina , who now is an investigator for the Philadelphia District Attorney, could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting by David DeKok in Harrisburg; Editing by Daniel Bases and David Gregorio)