A criminal trial against Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane began Monday, opening the next chapter in a more than three-year political scandal that’s roiled the state government.
The case stems from a scandal back when Kane took office in 2013, promising to review how officials handled the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case at Penn State. Kane is now facing charges that she illegally leaked grand jury information to harm a political rival.
The Democratic attorneyhas pleaded not guilty, insistingthe charges were brought against her as revenge after sheuncovered a cache of pornographic and bigoted emails that were being swapped among high-ranking state employees at her office, using their government email accounts.
Jury selection continued into the late afternoon Monday, as Montgomery County prosecutors and Kane’s defense team worked to whittle down 100 potential jurors to 12, Penn Live reported.
As trial is expected to commence this week, here’s five things to know:
- Kane is facing charges for perjury, obstruction, official oppression and other offenses,stemming from accusations that she lied in testimony during a grand jury hearing relating to a 2009 investigation of aPhiladelphia NAACP leader’s use of grant money. She also allegedly liedabout signing an oath to keep grand jury information a secret. [The Morning Call]
- A Montgomery County judge ruled in July that Kane cannot present a “vindictive prosecution”defense, barring the attorney general’s teamfrom introducing the offensive emailsas evidence.[The Citizen’s Voice]
- Kane’s law license was temporarily stripped stemming from her chargesin September 2015; an appeal Kane filed in Februaryfor its reinstatement was denied. Former Philadelphia mayor and Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell said Kane doesn’t need a law license to act as attorney general.[PhillyMag]
- Frank Fina, a state prosecutor who helped put away Sandusky, quit the AG’s office soon after Kane won the election in 2012. By 2014, Kane and Fina had each accused the other of leaking information to the Inquirer/Daily News. Kane thought Finatipped the Inky that Kane refused to prosecute a corruption case over racial bias; Finafired back, accusing Kane of leaking to the DN the department’s probe regarding the NAACP leader, J. Whyatt Mondesire.
- Kane was the first woman elected to the state’s post. She isn’t running for re-election this year.