2018-12-06 / Local & State

Former PA Attorney General Kane Reports To Prison

By Mark Scolforo and Matt Rourke

EAGLEVILLE, Pa. (AP) – Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane reported early Thursday to a suburban Philadelphia county jail to begin serving a sentence for leaking grand jury material and lying about it.

Kane was smiling broadly as she arrived at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in a pickup truck and was ushered into the jail just before 8 a.m. to begin a 10- to 23-month term for perjury, obstruction and other counts.

“I spoke to her this morning and I think she handled it with fortitude and dignity,” said her defense attorney, William J. Brennan. “It’s been a long, unpleasant process for Kathleen and many other people. She’s now serving her sentence. Ten months goes by quickly, and she will come out, I predict, and lead a very productive, hopefully long life. This is not the end of Kathleen Kane.”

The 52-year-old Scranton native had once been considered a rising political star in the state after becoming the first Democrat and first woman to be elected the state’s top prosecutor.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, whose office prosecuted Kane, said Kane’s incarceration “closes this unfortunate chapter for the people of Pennsylvania.”

“As the jail door shuts her in, a strong message is being sent that no one is above the law. No one. Not even the chief law enforcement officer of the commonwealth,” Steele said in a statement.

Montgomery County government spokesman John Corcoran said new inmates typically first undergo a full body scan and search, get their personal belongings secured, have a health screening and mental health evaluation and are issued prison clothing.

Corcoran said Kane will spend her first few days in a protective custody “hard cell,” after which prison officials will review her classification.

“At that time, if she requests it, she'll be granted special protection as a former law enforcement official,” Corcoran said. That would consist of being housed in a cell with as few other inmates as possible, and guards will “closely monitor her movements throughout the jail just to make sure there’s no threat her,” he said.

A county judge appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Kane after former prosecutors with the attorney general’s office alerted him that secret grand jury material had been leaked to a newspaper.

She resigned following her 2016 conviction but was allowed to remain out on $75,000 bail pending appeals.

The state Supreme Court on Nov. 26 declined to take up her case, leading a county judge to revoke her bail.

Kane had argued before the lower-level Superior Court that she should have been allowed to use in her defense a pornographic email scandal within the attorney general’s office and the wider judicial community and evidence concerning to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case that her former office prosecuted before she was elected.

Kane had been critical of the Sandusky investigation while running for office in 2012, creating resentment among prosecutors in the case who told the judge about the grand jury leaks.

Kane’s other appeals arguments included that she was not allowed to prevent all Montgomery County judges from handling her case, and claims that evidence against her was illegally obtained and that she had been the victim of selective and vindictive prosecution. flexible system that will work within this dynamic and challenging environment called Pennsylvania.”

More than 90 percent of the state’s nearly 2,500 fire companies are volunteer organizations.

“As with the fire services, a mix of long-term stagnant and declining reimbursements, limited other financial support and changes to our societal view of volunteerism have negatively impacted EMS throughout the state, leading to EMS agency failures and closures,” the report said. The changes have forced cuts to services and “put the ability of EMS to respond to disaster situations in serious question,” it concluded.

Members of the 39-person commission that issued the report said the next step is to push lawmakers to adopt its recommendations.

“We’re beyond a crisis in Pennsylvania with fire and EMS,” Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner Ed Mann said after the meeting when the commission voted unanimously to release the report. He urged legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to act on it.

Recruitment and retention are the biggest challenges, said commission member Rep. Steve Barrar, R-Delaware, who also chairs the House Veterans’ Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Barrar said the average age of a volunteer firefighter in the state is 48. He said a college tuition incentive might help attract more young people into the system.

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