AG Kathleen Kane's Driver Pleads Not Guilty to Contempt Charge

Attorney General Kathleen Kane's driver pleaded not guilty Tuesday in an alleged email snooping scheme intended to help his boss keep tabs on a grand jury investigation of her.

Patrick Reese had no comment as he left court after being released on $5,000 unsecured bond pending a Sept. 9 preliminary hearing on a contempt charge.

He is accused of violating a judge's protective order by accessing emails in state computers to keep Kane informed about the grand jury probe that last week resulted in criminal charges against her.

The former Dunmore police chief was considered one of Kane's closest confidants in the attorney general's office. Employees referred to him as the "chief of staff" and saw him as a "go-between" when trying to deal with the attorney general, according to court papers filed by the Montgomery County District Attorney's office.

Kane was arraigned Saturday on a felony count of perjury and other charges. She is accused of leaking secret grand jury information as part of an effort to embarrass a former prosecutor who she believed had made her look bad, and then lying about her actions under oath. She did not enter a plea but has denied any wrongdoing and has refused calls to step down.

Prosecutors say the attorney general instructed Reese and another employee to snoop on employee emails during the grand jury investigation.

Reese allegedly searched for emails referencing the supervising judge, subpoenas and transcripts, checked for emails to and from reporters covering the investigation and searched for terms such as "perjury" and "removal from office."

A judge had ordered the attorney general's office to stay out of the case after learning the names of witnesses and the dates and times of their scheduled testimony were well known within the office, that the office was acquiring transcripts of witness testimony and that witnesses reported being intimidated as they arrived to testify.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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