Judge hands jail sentence to former Pennsylvania AG Kathleen Kane

Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was sentenced with 10 to 23 months in jail on Monday, after she was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice after leaking grand jury information and then lying about it under oath.

Matt Rourke/AP
Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane arrives at Montgomery County courthouse for her scheduled sentencing hearing in Norristown, Pa., on Monday.

Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in jail Monday for leaking grand jury information to the media as part of a personal vendetta against a rival and then lying about it under oath, according to WTAE news in Pittsburgh.

Ms. Kane had pleaded for a lenient sentence of probation and house arrest so she could care for her two teenage sons and avoid the dangers that a law enforcement official could face in prison, according to PennLive. She faced a maximum sentence of 24 years in prison.

“I would cut off my right arm if they were separated from me and I from them,” Kane told Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy on Monday. “Please sentence me and not them,” she pleaded.

The first woman and first Democrat elected attorney general in the state, Kane was convicted by a jury in the Common Pleas court on Aug. 15 on two felony counts of perjury and seven misdemeanor charges. She resigned two days later.

Her downfall began in 2013 when she leaked confidential grand jury information to a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News. The information was released in retaliation against Frank Fina, a former state prosecutor who declined to charge a corruption case before he left office. Kane tried to frame someone else for the leak, as aides later testified.

Prosecutors called her crimes "egregious" in pushing for jail time. They said Kane poisoned the atmosphere of the 800-person office and the wider law enforcement community through her scheming and personal vendettas against Mr. Fina and other rivals.

"Through a pattern of systemic firings and Nixonian espionage, she created a terror zone in this office," said Erik Olsen, a prosecutor who is now the chief deputy attorney general.

Former deputies in her office Monday gave emotional testimony about an office petrified by Kane, especially after the leak became public and an investigation was launched. 

"She rose from poverty to a pinnacle, and has already fallen," Kane’s lawyer Marc Steinberg wrote in the defense sentencing memo. "She has been humbled and embarrassed, and now just wants to make amends and to focus her attention on raising her children."

Kane is the second Pennsylvania attorney general in 25 years to be convicted of crimes while in office. In 1995, state attorney general Ernie Preate pleaded guilty to mail fraud, a crime for which he served 11 months in prison.

This report uses materials from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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