The word is out, and without a leak. The investigative grand jury considering whether Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) should face criminal charges has said she should, according to documents released by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The released documents do not, however, provide any details on the testimony the grand jury heard. The released documents do show that the supervising judge, William Carpenter, accepted the grand jury recommendations that Kane be charged with perjury, false swearing, official oppression and obstruction and sent the case to Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman (R).
Not so fast, Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court just ordered Ferman to stop working on an indictment pending a legal Hail Mary pass by the Kane team. Kane’s attorneys, including Lanny Davis, whose clients include former President Bill Clinton, have petitioned the court to essentially get rid of the whole mess by quashing the appointment of the special prosecutor handling the leak case, Thomas Carluccio (R). No man, no problem.
In case you haven’t been following the story, here’s a recap. When Kane was elected, she got into what can best be described as a pissing match with a former deputy attorney general, Frank G. Fina, who had handled the Jerry Sandusky Penn State child sexual assault case. He had also handled a grand jury investigation into whether the former head of the Philadelphia NAACP had been involved in scheme to steal state grants meant for job training after a subordinate pled guilty to stealing $200,000 worth of grants. He was never charged, but leaks about that 2009 investigation began appearing which provided background for articles highly critical of Fina’s performance. This set off the chain of events that included the release of pornographic emails and the subsequent resignations, retirements and firings and concluded with Kane testifying before the second grand jury, presumably about her involvement in the initial leaks.
The legitimacy of the special prosecutor case is set for a Pennsylvania Supreme Court hearing in March. Supervising judge Carpenter argued that “Clearly, Attorney General Kathleen Kane could not investigate herself,” he wrote. “Otherwise, potentially serious violations of grand jury secrecy could go unaddressed.” Kane’s team is arguing the case should have simply been sent to a district attorney who could have investigated the leaks.
So there we have it. A rising star in the Democratic party with Clinton connections who may run for the Senate seat currently held by Pat Toomey (R) has her future in the hands of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If they quash the appointment, the grand jury recommendations go away. If they don’t, she may be charged, but has vowed to stay in office.
[Post illustration via Shutterstock]