Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane hopes to overturn her nine-count perjury and obstruction conviction because of what she calls trial errors and overlapping charges.
Kane, 50, has been sentenced to 10 to 23 months in jail but remains free while she appeals. The Scranton Democrat was serving her first term in public office when she was charged with leaking secret grand jury documents to the press, and she resigned after her August conviction.
Her lawyer, in a filing Tuesday, challenged the use of a special prosecutor to investigate the case. The jury found Kane orchestrated the leak to embarrass rival prosecutor Frank Fina. The defense argued that she should have been allowed to show she had a more damaging way to seek revenge _ allegations that he had pornography on his state email account. However, Montgomery County Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy had banned any mention of Kane's investigation, which brought down two state Supreme Court justices.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
"If the defendant had any intent to retaliate against Mr. Fina, she `had a far more powerful means of retaliation at her disposal, had she been inclined to use it,''' the defense wrote, quoting from its pretrial motion. The defense called the judge's denial of that motion unfair and argued that Demchick-Alloy should have stepped aside because her colleagues on the county bench were closely connected to the case.
District Attorney Kevin Steele's office declined to comment on the issues raised in Kane's appeal.
Kane's landslide victory in 2012 made her the first woman and first Democrat elected attorney general in Pennsylvania. She campaigned as an outsider critical of the office's sex assault investigation into Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The critique triggered a bitter feud with career prosecutors who worked on the case, some of whom left to work elsewhere.
"This is war,'' Kane wrote in a 2014 email that was aired at trial.
Deputy Attorney General Bruce Beemer, who testified against Kane, now serves as interim attorney general. Democrat Josh Shapiro, a Montgomery County commissioner and former lawmaker, takes office later this month.