HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – There were dozens of reporters and photographers crowding the lobby of the Pennsylvania Judicial Center around lunchtime Thursday.
They were awaiting the arrival of Kathleen Kane, who had been summoned by a judge the previous day to come to court and explain herself.
She arrived around 12:45 for the 1 p.m. hearing, but the amassed media was mostly disappointed. Kane was only fleetingly visible through a window as she rushed into a conference room. The proceeding was closed to the public and the media because it was possible secret grand jury testimony would be discussed.
Judge John Cleland called on Kane to explain herself after she inferred in a press release that former grand jury judge Barry Feudale may have leaked information in the Jerry Sandusky case, which Feudale oversaw.
Attorney Al Lindsay, who is handling Sandusky’s appeal, got to ask Kane questions. The attorney general was under oath for 30 minutes. Was Lindsay satisfied with Kane’s answers?
“She answered the questions,” Lindsay said afterward. “I’m never satisfied,” he said with a chuckle.
A reporter asked, did she plead the fifth?
“Absolutely not,” Lindsay said.
Kane did not answer media questions and swiftly left in her black SUV, but her spokesman did field questions from the media and was asked if Kane had direct evidence or knowledge of Feudale leaking Sandusky secrets.
“She has no evidence that he leaked anything regarding a grand jury or Sandusky,” spokesman Chuck Ardo said.
Ardo was not in the courtroom for the hearing. Lindsay was, and a reporter wondered if the trial judge admonished Kane.
“I saw no admonishment from the judge,” Lindsay said.
But there was plenty of criticism outside the courtroom. Activist Gene Stilp, who has repeatedly called on Kane to resign or the Supreme Court to disbar her, held a wanted poster with Kane’s picture on it.
“I think today is an embarrassment for Pennsylvania having an attorney general be questioned about these type of things,” Stilp said.
“I think it’s very sad, it’s very bad for the entire system of justice,” said Walter Cohen, a former state attorney general.
Cohen is disheartened by the weekly twists and turns of what has become a never-ending Kane saga.
“It makes the whole system look bad, and the whole system, in this case, function badly and continues to function badly,” he said.
Cohen said it is unlikely any of the smoke surrounding possible leaks in the Sandusky case leads to the convicted child abuser being released from prison. Cohen said leaks prior to Sandusky being charged are basically irrelevant since Sandusky had a full and fair hearing, was named by numerous victims, was found guilty and sentenced.
But he understands why Sandusky’s attorney would want to pursue the ‘leak” angle.
“As defense counsel you raise what you can,” Cohen said. “And as a judge you make sure the record is clean.”