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Embattled AG Stumbles in Bid to Recuse Court

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CN) - Prosecutors scoffed Tuesday at the assertion that no judge in Montgomery County can give Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane a fair perjury trial.

Pennsylvania's first woman and Democrat elected to the position of attorney general, Kane has faced down calls from Gov. Tom Wolf to resign and will go to trial this summer in Montgomery County Circuit Court on charges of perjury, obstruction and official oppression.

With the government claiming that she lied under oath about having leaked documents to embarrass political rivals, Kane remains in power, despite the suspension of her law license by the state Supreme Court.

The leaked materials implicate judges and prosecutors involved in the Jerry Sandusky investigation, and Kane's attorney Gerald Shargel urged Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy to recuse herself Tuesday and appoint an out-of-county replacement.

Citing "three judges on the Montgomery County bench, by themselves or their spouse, have adverse ties to the case," Shargel noted that it was Judge Risa Vetri Ferman who ran the Kane investigation and made the final decision to prosecute her.

"She also held a 25-minute televised press conference to the public and potential jurors, which is still available on YouTube, and made clear that she believed Kane should be prosecuted," said Shargel, of the Manhattan firm Winston & Strawn.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele had little patience for the defense team's calling into question of Judge Ferman for having publicly praised his office's work on the investigation.

Thanking the federal government for providing discovery is not a conspiracy, Steele said.

Shargel also challenged the personal interest in the case allegedly taken by Judge William Carpenter, who authored supplemental opinions that Shargel said demonstrate his personal interest in prosecuting Kane.

"He had a vested interest and a set opinion" Shargel said.

As for Judge Carolyn Carluccio, Shargel said this jurist's husband spent more than a year investigating Attorney General Kane as the appointed special prosecutor.

"Multiple judges were in a clear adversarial position to the defendant," Shargel said.

DA Steele saw little trace of a bias.

"It's a stretch," Steele said.

Kane's attorneys also called for the court to quash the charges, making six more points as to the supposed lack of authority to convene a grand jury, and the multiple false statements made against Kane.

Steele has until April 6 to answer recently filed supplemental motions.

Judge Demchick-Alloy adjourned the hearing without making a decision. She said the court will hold an evidentiary hearing if needed on April 20 at 9 a.m.

Kane did not appear at the hearing.

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