Montgomery County

Court Declines to Intervene, AG Kane's Criminal Trial to Move Forward

Pennsylvania's highest court on Friday declined to intervene in the criminal case against the state's top prosecutor, clearing the way for jury selection to begin next week.

The Supreme Court issued a one-sentence order that turned down Attorney General Kathleen Kane's request that it take up her claim the grand jury that investigated her was unlawful and unconstitutional.

The decision was unanimous, although one member, Justice Sallie Updyke Mundy, did not participate.

A spokeswoman for the Montgomery County prosecutors who are handling the case declined comment on the court's decision. Messages left for three of Kane's defense lawyers and for her at her offices were not returned.

Kane, a first-term Democratic attorney general, is battling charges she leaked secret grand jury material to Philadelphia Daily News reporter about a scuttled investigation into the head at the time of the NAACP in Philadelphia, and lied about it under oath.

She has argued that a lawyer who was appointed to serve as a special prosecutor and run the grand jury lacked authority to act as a prosecutor.

She maintains her innocence and claims her prosecution has been a payback for her efforts to expose the exchange of sexually explicit, demeaning and obscene emails among people within her agency and the wider legal and law enforcement community.

That scandal has led to the resignation of two Supreme Court justices, discipline against dozens of people in the attorney general's office and an ongoing review of millions of emails.

Kane is not running for a second term in the November election, which pits Democrat Josh Shapiro against Republican John Rafferty, both elected officials who live in the same county where Kane is about to go on trial.

Kane said last week she would decide whether to testify on her own behalf as the trial unfolds. She also said she has no plans for the 800-plus-employee attorney general's office if she's convicted, voicing confidence that jurors will acquit.

A state House committee has held several hearings on whether to impeach Kane, and in late June it voted to authorize subpoenas. The Supreme Court suspended her law license last year, and in February she survived a state Senate vote to impeach her by four votes.

If she is convicted of a felony _ and she is charged with felony perjury _ Kane would have to resign at sentencing or face the near certainty of removal through the courts. Misdemeanor convictions, depending on the facts, can also result in disqualification from public office.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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