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Jury Convicts Pennsylvania AG Kathleen Kane on All Charges

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CN) — Jurors in the trial of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane found her guilty Monday evening on all charges relating to engineering leaks to exact political revenge.

The jury found Kane, the first woman — and Democrat — to be elected as attorney general in Pennsylvania, guilty on all charges of official oppression, obstruction of the administration of justice, conspiracy, false swearing and perjury.

Kane was so bent on revenge against rival and former state prosecutor Frank Fina, who fumbled a 2009 investigation of Philadelphia civil rights leader J. Whyatt Mondesire, that she broke the law by leaking secret grand jury documents to Daily News reporter Chris Brennan and then lied to a grand jury to cover up her actions, the jury found.

Jury selection for the trial lasted over seven hours on Aug. 8, and Kane's trial kicked off early the following Tuesday morning. After five grueling days in court spent examining a slew of Kane's former aids and agents from the attorney general's office, the jury decided that the phone records, text messages and testimony all stacked up against Kane. They deliberated for roughly six hours after closing arguments wrapped up Monday afternoon.

Prosecutors, led by Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, successfully showed that Kane began leaking secret grand jury records during her second year in office after her reputation was tarnished by a March 2014 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Kane's defense team could not repudiate witness testimony from David Peifer, a special agent in charge of the Bureau of Special Forces for the attorney general, and Josh Morrow, a political consultant who helped Kane get elected. Both men testified against Kane in exchange for immunity.

Prosecutors presented audio evidence from April 2014 secretly obtained by the FBI in which Morrow admitted to another political constituent John Lisko that Kane was behind the leak.

"Kathleen called me and has information she wants me to leak out," Morrow said in the call, adding, "She's unhinged."

Kane's former first deputy attorney general Adrian King also testified against Kane, and claimed that she and Morrow were working together to frame him.

Before the leaked article was published by the Daily News, reporter Chris Brennan sought comment from Michael Mileroo, Fina, Marc Costanzo, William Davis, Peifer, Mondesire and the Office of Attorney General — all of whom save Mondesire, who died in 2015, appeared on the witness stand at trial, and all with fingers pointed at Kane.

Although Kane's attorneys from New York firm Winston & Strawn acknowledged that "there is no dispute that Kane wanted Morrow to get the press to write a story, but not to leak grand jury information," it was too little, too late to convince the jury.

"Revenge is best served cold," Kane texted to Morrow, the jury heard — and agreed with Monday evening. At a press conference following the verdict, Steele said, "She thought she was above the law, and that's not the case. No one is above the law."

Sentencing will be in the next 90 days.

Image credit: Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane leaving the Montgomery County courthouse on Monday afternoon after closing arguments in her perjury trial. Pool photo via Jessica Griffin with the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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