NORRISTOWN >> Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane sat stone-faced, showing no emotion, as a jury labeled her a convicted felon, finding she orchestrated the illegal disclosure of secret grand jury information to the media and then engaged in acts designed to conceal and cover up her conduct.
Kane did not react as each juror was polled about their decision to convict Kane of charges of perjury, obstructing administration of law, official oppression, false swearing and conspiracy.
Montgomery County Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy deferred sentencing so that court officials can complete a background investigative report about Kane, including a psychological evaluation.
While the judge allowed Kane, 50, a first-term Democrat, to remain free on own recognizance bail, she placed conditions on Kane.
Kane must surrender her passport to county authorities by noon Tuesday.
“There is absolutely to be no retaliation of any kind against any witness in this case. Is that clear Miss Kane?” Demchick-Alloy bellowed at Kane.
“Yes, your honor,” Kane, wearing a black suit, responded.
Kane’s security team quickly ushered her through a side courthouse door to a waiting sport utility vehicle and Kane did not address the media. Kane faces a possible maximum sentence of 14 to 28 years in prison on the charges but sentencing guidelines could allow for less time.
“This is a sad day for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The attorney general has been convicted of crimes involving an abuse of power and lying under oath,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said after the verdict. “We believe justice was done in this case.”
Co-prosecutor Michelle Henry added, “There are great men and women that work in the office of the attorney general … and they have had to suffer through what this defendant has done not just to them but to the citizens of this commonwealth and I am just glad to see that the end is finally in sight for them and the citizens of this commonwealth.”
Lead defense lawyer Gerald L. Shargel vowed to “fight to the end.”
“We’re doing everything that we can. I intend to stay right here and we will keep fighting and we will keep litigating,” Shargel said. “It’s tragic beyond any measure. It’s something that she has to deal with. She’s a very strong woman.”
Shargel hinted Kane might address the issue of resignation in the days ahead.
Shortly after the verdict was announced, former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr., who currently is Kane’s first deputy, entered the courtroom but stayed on the sideline of the proceedings.
The jury of six men and six women deliberated about 4½ hours after hearing five days of testimony.
Kane, who did not testify during the trial, appeared confident throughout the proceedings, smiling often at supporters.
During the trial, Steele and Henry called about a dozen witnesses and presented 84 exhibits. Prosecutors alleged Kane orchestrated the illegal release of secret materials to a reporter in order to exact “revenge” on a former state prosecutor with whom she was feuding.
Prosecutors alleged Kane’s quest for revenge took root on March 16, 2014, when she read a Philadelphia Inquirer article that was “critical” of her for failing to pursue criminal charges against some Philadelphia politicians and for shutting down that sting operation which was led by a former state prosecutor, Frank Fina.
“She’s upset about this article,” Steele argued to jurors displaying emails Kane wrote to colleagues at the time in which she stated, “THIS IS WAR.” “These are the defendant’s words.” But defense lawyer Seth C. Farber argued the text messages were taken “out of context” by prosecutors and that Kane’s anger was directed at The Inquirer, not Fina.
At trial, witnesses testified Kane believed Fina was responsible for the negative publicity.
To retaliate against Fina, Steele and Henry alleged, Kane orchestrated the release to a reporter of a memo, emails and the transcript of an interview pertaining to the 2009 Investigating Grand Jury No. 29, an investigation that centered on a Philadelphia civil rights official, which Fina supervised and then didn’t pursue charges. Prosecutors argued the civil rights official, who was never charged with any crime, was harmed by the release of the grand jury information.
“Wars leave scars,” Steele argued.
Kane, prosecutors alleged, selected two longtime associates, Adrian King Jr., her first deputy and former boyfriend, and political consultant Joshua Morrow, to release the information to Chris Brennan, then a reporter at the Philadelphia Daily News.
The Daily News article was published June 6, 2014. Former and current employees of the attorney general’s office testified they were shocked to discover the article included secret grand jury information.
Morrow, who testified with a grant of immunity, said he delivered the documents to Brennan, at the behest of Kane, and received them from King.
King, who had no immunity agreement, testified Kane had asked him to deliver a package from Harrisburg to Morrow but King claimed he never opened the manila envelope to see what was inside and believed it contained campaign-related materials. However, Morrow testified King did have knowledge about the envelope’s contents.
Farber, Shargel and co-defense lawyers Douglas Rosenblum, Ross M. Kramer and Amil Minora, argued King and Morrow gave inconsistent statements and that their testimony cannot be trusted.
“These are two witnesses who will say whatever they need to protect themselves,” Farber argued. “These two contradict each other. They point fingers at each other. I submit you would not even buy a used car from either one of them,” Farber argued.
In her grand jury testimony, Kane denied giving King any documents and she denied ordering any associates or consultants to leak documents to the press.
King and Morrow have not been charged with any crimes.
Steele presented jurors with a series of incriminating emails and phone calls he alleged linked Kane to the leak.
Kane also was convicted of lying to the 35th statewide grand jury in November 2014 to cover up her leaks by lying under oath when she claimed she never agreed to maintain her secrecy regarding the 2009 grand jury investigation.
Prosecutors said they discovered evidence that Kane signed a so-called “secrecy oath” on her second day in office on Jan. 17, 2013, promising her secrecy for statewide investigating grand juries one through 32. The oath compelled Kane to maintain the secrecy of all matters occurring before past and present statewide grand juries, prosecutors alleged.
Kane, who is not seeking re-election, claimed she did nothing wrong and has implied the charges are part of an effort to force her out of office because she discovered pornographic emails being exchanged between state employees on state email addresses.