Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced her resignation Tuesday, one day after a jury convicted her of perjury, obstruction of justice and other charges.
The resignation ends the one-time fast-rising political star’s long and laborious battle to keep her job amid a growing chorus — including fellow Democrats — urging her to walk away.
“I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days,” Kane said in a brief statement released by her office.
A jury in Norristown on Monday convicted the Democrat from blue-collar Scranton on nine counts of perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, official oppression and false swearing.
Kane had repeatedly rejected calls for her resignation, including from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, since being charged a year ago. She had maintained that resigning would imply she had done something wrong.
After Kane’s announcement, Wolf issued a statement calling her situation “unfortunate.”
“Her decision to resign is the right one, and will allow the people of Pennsylvania to finally move on,” he said.
Kane, 50, has dismissed as political the accusation that in 2014 she leaked information from a 2009 grand jury probe — and later lied about it — in a vindictive effort to humiliate former prosecutor Frank Fina. Kane believed Fina had planted a story saying she had pulled the plug on at least one undercover bribery sting targeting Democrats, according to testimony at her trial.
Under state law, Kane was required to resign by her sentencing date, which the judge said would be within 90 days. Defense lawyer Gerald Shargel called the verdict a “crushing blow” and promised an appeal.
Kane had been resolute in refusing to quit. On the day of her conviction, her official Twitter feed announced drug busts in two counties and some sex-crime arrests. Her own conviction drew no mention.
Kane has claimed she was targeted by former state prosecutors who sought to stop her from releasing sexually graphic and raunchy emails shared by several state officials. The emails prompted several resignations, including two state Supreme Court justices.
Kane claimed she was victimized by the “old boys’ network” she was trying to break up. Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy, however, declined to allow Kane’s lawyers to make that argument to the jury.
Kane burst onto the state’s political scene with a convincing victory in the attorney general’s race four years ago. She was the first woman and first Democrat elected to the post, and she drew early acclaim for liberal positions on gay marriage and other issues. The honeymoon failed to last, however, as she became bogged down in political intrigue, and her law license was suspended when the charges were filed against her.
She recently said she wouldn’t run for re-election in November.
Kane didn’t testify at her trial and her defense team called no witnesses. Her lawyers blamed the grand jury leak on former aides, saying they lied to the jury when they blamed Kane.
Five former aides testified against her, however. One, testifying with immunity, even admitted working with Kane to devise a cover story to deflect blame away from the attorney general.
“She did it for revenge,” prosecutor Michelle Henry told the jury. “And she covered it up with lies.”
Source: USA today