PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pennsylvania's attorney general goes on trial Monday in a perjury and obstruction case that comes at the end of a tumultuous four years in office marked by petty feuds, a pornographic email scandal and political intrigue.
Kathleen Kane remains on the job even though she lost her law license over her felony arrest. An ethics board accused her of "egregious conduct" amid criminal charges she leaked grand jury material to a newspaper to embarrass enemies and then lied about it under oath.
The state Supreme Court voted to strip Kane of the law license, a move she attacked given that two justices were forced to step down as part of her crusade to out state employees who traded offensive, racist and sometimes pornographic emails. Dozens of people in her office were also fired or disciplined.
Kane, 50, has said she won't give up fighting what she calls the "old boys network" in state government, but she did not seek re-election this year, and her term expires in January. She was the first woman or Democrat elected to the $159,000-a-year job.
"You can arrest me two times, you can arrest me 10 times. I'm sure this isn't the end of the game," Kane said after prosecutors added more charges to the case. "But I will not stop until the truth comes out, and I will not stop until the system operates the way it's supposed to."
Kane has hired prominent lawyers to defend her: first, Bill Clinton confidante Lanny Davis and now, New York mob lawyer Gerald Shargel. Several former top aides are set to testify against her. The trial judge won't let the defense wade into the porn email probe.
Jury selection in Kane's trial starts Monday in suburban Philadelphia, where she appeared before a grand jury investigating the leak of 2009 grand jury information about a former NAACP official. The official was never charged with wrongdoing.
Kane's attorneys have argued that she only authorized the release of nonsecret information relating to who was charged — and who wasn't — by her predecessors. And she denied that she was sworn to secrecy about those prior investigations, according to the arrest warrant.
"I was a stay-at-home mom at the time. ... None of us were sworn into that grand jury," she testified, according to the affidavit.
However, prosecutors said they found a signed oath to the contrary during a search of her Harrisburg offices.
Kane is charged with perjury, a felony, for allegedly lying to the grand jury, and eight misdemeanor counts that include obstruction, official oppression, conspiracy and false swearing.
Her driver, Patrick "Rocco" Reese, was convicted of contempt of court last year after a judge said he illegally snooped through emails about the special grand jury investigation of his boss. Reese is the former police chief in Dunmore, near Kane's hometown of Scranton.