AG Kane facing possible contempt charge over staff firing

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – A three-judge panel heard arguments at the Montgomery County Courthouse Monday on whether Attorney General Kathleen Kane should be held in contempt of court.

Kane fired one of her top deputies, James Barker, earlier this month. Barker previously testified before the grand jury that recommended charges against Kane for allegedly leaking secret information to the media.

At the time Barker was fired, there was a protective order in place to prevent possible retaliation. Kane’s attorney argued the protective order expired when the grand jury concluded their investigation. He said Barker was fired for his job performance and office restructuring, not because he testified.

“The grand jury witness has the right to go to the EEOC if he or she thinks that he or she was wrongfully terminated, which is a much easier avenue to pursue than this, which makes me wonder why it is Mr. Barker wants to pursue the remedy this way,” said Gerald Shargel, Kane’s attorney.

Kane’s attorney also asked Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter to recuse himself, accusing him of being biased against the attorney general.

“I expect that these legal arguments that were made by the attorney general’s defense team will be rejected by the court on the basis of having no merit,” said John McMahon Jr., Assistant Special D.A.

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