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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
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Path to Charging AG in Penn. Blocked by Court

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CN) - Despite a stay in proceedings by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, a grand jury report that recommends Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane face criminal charges became public Thursday.

Kane and her attorney spokesman, Larry Davis, sharply criticized the development.

PennLive quoted Davis on Thursday as saying that Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter "violate[d] the spirit, if not the letter, of the stay" by releasing the order and grand-jury report.

"I submit that the decision to make public a Grand Jury Report today that concluded (we believe wholly wrongfully) that Attorney General Kane had illegally leaked Grand Jury information constitutes a prejudicial change to the status quo as represented by Presentment No. 60 and that Judge Carpenter and his special prosecutor should not have allowed publication of the Grand Jury Report," Davis added.

The investigation into Kane began when, in a July 2014 statement to the Philadelphia Daily News, Kane referenced a 2009 memo that prosecutors say was part of the grand-jury investigation into the finances of former Philadelphia NAACP President J. Whyatt Mondesire.

Since Mondesire had not been named or charged in connection with the case until the Daily News article, he reportedly claimed that the article damaged his reputation.

Kane, a Democrat, publicly acknowledged before a grand-jury hearing in November that her office had indeed leaked information about the case, but she insisted that there had been no wrongdoing.

A new grand jury in Montgomery County was reportedly convened then to determine whether she or her office improperly released confidential information to embarrass a political foe.

Thomas Carluccio, the Republican attorney whom Judge Carpenter tapped as special prosecutor for the case against Kane, presented evidence to the jury about the leaked information as well as Kane's feud with a Republican former state prosecutor, Frank Fina, over the handling of recent state investigations.

As part of her attempt to boot Carluccio from the case against her, Kane had the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unseal documents Tuesday in the six-month-long leak investigation.

The documents revealed that she could be charged with perjury and three misdemeanors: contempt of court, false swearing and obstruction of justice.

Kane told reporters, "We moved to unseal those documents because the people of Pennsylvania should know what's in there, they should know that we're fighting this and ... that unsealing shows there was nothing done wrong."

Kane, spokesman Davis and her other attorney, Gerald Shargel from New York, claimed that Kane was not bound by secrecy laws for the majority of the investigation as she was not officially in office.

In addition, Davis claimed that not all the information disclosed by Kane, such as summary memos that could be seen as public documents, could even be considered secret.

Prosecutors have said these arguments make a mockery of grand-jury secrecy, but Kane says her Republican opponents are on a "political witch hunt."

At a press conference in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Kane said she has made herself an enemy of Republicans, making her a target for impeachment, because of how she has spent her time in office.

"I have torn up their questionable contracts, cleaned up their investigations, broke their pornography ring and prosecuted corrupt officials," Kane reportedly said.

After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hold oral argument on the matter and reportedly granted a stay Wednesday, Kane's spokesman Davis reportedly emphasized "what the context of this stay is."

"The stay was issued so that the Supreme court could determine, upon the petition of Attorney General Kane, whether or not Mr. Carluccio's appointment as a special prosecutor by Judge Carpenter was legal or illegal, constitutional or constitutional," Davis said Thursday, according to PennLive.

Kane will remain in office unless she either resigns or she is both convicted and sentenced.

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