NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Democrat Kathleen Kane burst onto the political scene in Pennsylvania with an enviable array of assets: glamour, charisma and a campaign war chest from her husband's fortune that topped $2 million for her 2012 run for state attorney general.
She left a courtroom Monday in handcuffs, sentenced to 10 to 23 months in a county jail by a judge who said her ego compelled her to break the law to destroy "perceived enemies."
Kane, 50, a Scranton native, leaked grand jury documents to embarrass a rival prosecutor and then lied about it under oath. After a two-hour jail stint, she posted $75,000 bail and was released Monday evening while she appeals her conviction.
"This case is about ego — the ego of a politician consumed with her image from Day One," Montgomery County Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy said. "This case is about retaliation and revenge against perceived enemies who this defendant ... felt had embarrassed her in the press."
The judge said Kane assumed an "off with your heads" mentality as she ran the state's top law enforcement agency. She called Kane a political "neophyte" who failed to make the transition from campaigner to public servant after she took office.
Kane, the first woman and first Democrat elected attorney general, was a stay-at-home mother and one-time assistant county prosecutor before the run for statewide office. She became a rising star in the state Democratic Party before her office devolved into turmoil as career prosecutors came and went. With a growing list of enemies, she leaked grand jury documents about a civil rights leader who had been investigated to embarrass the rival prosecutor who ran the probe and declined to bring charges. Kane then lied to the grand jury investigating the leak, the jury found.
"Your children are the ultimate ... collateral damage. They are casualties of your actions," the judge said. "But you did that, not this court."
Earlier Monday, Kane's 15-year-old son, Chris, pleaded for leniency while her former deputies described a demoralized office.
"Through a pattern of systemic firings and Nixonian espionage, she created a terror zone in this office," said Erik Olsen, who is now the chief deputy attorney general.
Kane called the loss of her career, law license and reputation punishment enough. She sought probation or house arrest so she could be home to raise her teenage sons. She and her husband are now estranged and share custody of them. Her 14-year-old son was too upset to attend the hearing, Kane said.
"I really don't care what happens to me," Kane told the judge. "There is no more torture in the world than to watch your children suffer and know you had something to do with it."
Kane didn't testify at the August trial. She was convicted of two felony counts of perjury and seven misdemeanor charges, and resigned the next day.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele pushed for jail time Monday, citing the damage to the state's law enforcement community.
Aside from the conviction, Kane's political career will be remembered for her investigation of pornography that she said was being traded on state computers by judges, lawyers and other public employees. Two state Supreme Court justices resigned amid the fallout.
Associated Press writer Megan Trimble contributed to this report.