HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A grand jury report released Monday says Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane directed the release of secret information to embarrass political rivals and then tried to cover it up.
The grand jury said Kane’s testimony was “not an honest account” and she “mischaracterized events to cover up activities undertaken at her direction to unlawfully release documents subject to grand jury secrecy.”
Kane intended to “divert attention from her actual role as principal of the leak” when she testified last year, but her testimony was “riddled with inconsistencies and demonstrated conduct that was clearly inconsistent with the evidence,” the grand jury report states.
The grand jury in December recommended Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman charge Kane with perjury, false swearing, official oppression, obstruction, and contempt of court. The 27-page report of its findings had been sealed until Monday.
Ferman is reviewing the recommendations.
The grand jury was investigating whether information from a 2009 investigation was improperly released to a Philadelphia newspaper. A senior staffer testified that Kane became fixated on the investigation, a “dead case” that resulted in no charges, after former prosecutors accused her of abandoning cases against people who had been caught in an undercover sting operation.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams revived the prosecutions dropped by Kane’s office in June and filed bribery and other charges against four state representatives, a former representative, and a Philadelphia traffic court judge.
The grand jury found that Kane orchestrated the leak of documents with the names of all prosecutors and investigators redacted except for two former staffers who had criticized her handling of past criminal cases.
Staffers additionally testified that after the secret documents became public, Kane demonstrated no concern, took no action in response to the leak, and told one prosecutor who advocated an investigation: “It’s not a big deal. We have more important things to do.”
Kane has denied any wrongdoing. Her spokesman, Chuck Ardo, said Kane would have preferred the release of full transcripts of witness testimony and not just the grand jury report.
“Given the history of these proceedings, the end result was to be expected,” Ardo said. “General Kane continues to maintain that she did not release grand jury material and was truthful in her testimony.”