- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 6, 2015

Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor was charged Thursday with leaking confidential grand jury information and attempting to cover up her actions.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane orchestrated the leak to the media “for the purpose of retaliating against former state prosecutors whom she believed had embarrassed her,” according to Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, who announced the charges.

Ms. Kane, a Democrat who took office in 2013, is charged with nine criminal counts, including obstructing administration of law, criminal conspiracy and perjury.

A member of Ms. Kane’s security detail, driver Patrick Reese, was also charged and accused of helping to cover up the leak.

“When someone entrusted with the solemn obligation to uphold the law deliberately violates the same laws she is sworn to uphold, we are all victims of this breach of the public trust,” Ms. Ferman said.

Ms. Kane said she plans to fight the charges.

“I am very disappointed the district attorney has made the decision to pursue this case,” she said in a statement. “I have maintained my innocence from the day these allegations surfaced and I continue to do so today.”

The charges stem from a 2009 probe into alleged misuse of state grants by a former Philadelphia NAACP official, and whether details about that case were improperly leaked to the Philadelphia Daily News in 2014. Ms. Kane has acknowledged providing information to the news outlet but said it was not protected by grand jury secrecy rules.

The attorney general declined to file any charges in the 2009 case, with Ms. Kane saying in 2014 that the case was so poorly handled by her predecessors that it could not be prosecuted. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office later brought charges against six individuals in the case, four of whom have since pleaded guilty.

The NAACP probe was headed by a top prosecutor, Frank Fina, who left the office after Ms. Kane’s election to work in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

Court records filed in the case against Ms. Kane state that she is believed to have released the information about the 2009 case in order to discredit Mr. Fina, whom she blamed for an unflattering article about her role in shutting down the case.

A grand jury investigating the allegations recommended that Ms. Kane be indicted on criminal charges in December. The case was referred to Ms. Ferman’s office for further action, and she undertook a separate investigation.

It’s unclear the extent of political damage the charges could have for Ms. Kane, who is still making arrangements to turn herself in to authorities.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said Ms. Kane should step down as the case progresses.

“I am not sure how the top law enforcement officer in Pennsylvania can continue to perform her duties while she is defending herself against these serious charges,” Mr. Wolf said. “She is entitled to her day in court. … But in the meantime, I am calling on her to step aside.”

Ms. Kane is the second state attorney general to face criminal charges this week. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was indicted Monday on securities fraud charges.

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