Sun | Aug 19, 2018

Pennsylvania AG resigns after conviction

Published:Wednesday | August 17, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane leaves the courtroom after closing arguments in her perjury and obstruction trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse on Monday in Norristown, Pennsylvania.


Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania's first elected female attorney general, announced her resignation yesterday, a day after being convicted of abusing the powers of the state's top law-enforcement office to smear a rival and lying under oath to cover it up.

Kane's exit completes a spectacular fall for the former county prosecutor who soared to victory four years ago as an outsider who promised to break up an "old-boys' network" in state government. But she squandered her early popularity, feuded with rivals and aides, and ultimately was undone by what prosecutors portrayed as a personal vendetta for her critics and perceived enemies.

Now, Kane is facing jail time and cannot even practise private law after losing her licence.

Kane's office issued a two-sentence statement saying she would resign at the end of the workday Wednesday.

"I have been honoured to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days," said Kane, a Democrat.

On Monday night, after hearing days of testimony about petty feuds, political intrigue and "cloak-and-dagger" machinations, a Montgomery County jury convicted Kane of all nine counts against her, including perjury, obstruction and official oppression.

Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy ordered Kane to surrender her passport and threatened to jail her if she retaliated against the once-trusted aides who testified against her.

Democratic Gov Tom Wolf had urged Kane to resign since she was charged a year ago, and leaders of the state Senate's Republican majority threatened a vote to order her removal from office if she didn't step aside immediately.

"Her decision to resign is the right one, and will allow the people of Pennsylvania to finally move on from this situation," Wolf said in a statement.

The two years of turmoil in her office left Kane isolated in Pennsylvania's political, legal and law-enforcement community. She saw an exodus of top aides and fumbled corruption cases, and she made a string of eyebrow-raising accusations that later turned out to be unfounded.