Kathleen Kane, the attorney general of Pennsylvania, has been charged with leaking secret information to the media in an attempt to undermine her critics and then lying about the operation under oath.
Kane allegedly leaked confidential information from an investigation her office was conducting “in hopes of embarrassing and harming former state prosecutors she believed, without evidence, made her look bad,” Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said Thursday at a press conference while announcing the criminal charges of obstruction, abuse of office and perjury.
Kane, 49, the first woman to be elected attorney general to the state, denies any wrongdoing. She told The New York Times in February that the accusations are “retaliation against me for doing my job,” referring in part to her work on the child sexual abuse case at Penn State University, in which football coach Jerry Sandusky was eventually found guilty and sentenced to 30-60 years in jail.
Lanny Davis, Kane’s lawyer, also told The Times that Kane’s exposure of sexually explicit emails by state employees, including staff in the attorney general’s office, angered powerful people.
Kane responded to the charges with a statement Thursday:
“I am very disappointed the district attorney has made the decision to pursue this case. I have maintained my innocence from the day these allegations surfaced and I continue to do so today. I intend to defend myself vigorously against these charges. I look forward to the opportunity to present my case in a public courtroom and move beyond the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that has defined the process to this point,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has called for Kane’s resignation, but the attorney general says she will not leave office.
“Meanwhile, I remain committed to leading the Office of Attorney General and doing the job the citizens of this Commonwealth elected me to do. A resignation would be an admission of guilt and I’m not guilty. I assure everyone the Office of Attorney General will continue to fulfill its mission to protect and serve the citizens of Pennsylvania,” her statement continued.
Kane’s driver, Patrick Reese, has also been charged, the Associated Press reports. Prosecutors say he violated a protective order by attempting to get information about the grand jury from office computers. He has been charged with indirect criminal contempt.