"I think she's being railroaded"
November 5, 2015 5:47 AM   Subscribe

"Facing criminal charges, relieved of her law license and threatened with removal by the Legislature, Pennsylvania's attorney general Kathleen Kane seems to have decided that if she has to go, she's going to take others down with her. As authorities began building the leak case against her, Kane started releasing chains of emails, saying the misconduct allegations against her were concocted by a corrupt old-boy network inside law enforcement to stop her from exposing their raunchy email ring."

"On the campaign trail, she promised to investigate why it took her Republican predecessors three years to charge Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach convicted of sexually abusing boys, and whether politics played a role."

"The tangled scandal has led to the downfall of a state environmental secretary and shamed a state police commissioner, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice and several former top officials in the attorney general's office. Another high-court justice resigned after newspapers disclosed his involvement."

Kane Ordered to Appear in Court to Testify on Grand Jury Leaks
"Jerry Sandusky was in Bellefonte last week for a court hearing regarding discovery requests made in his appeal of a conviction on 45 counts related to child sexual abuse. The big news that came out of that hearing was judge John Cleland's order that attorney general Kathleen Kane provide any and all evidence of her assertion that documents were leaked from the state investigative grand jury by judge Barry Feudale or attorneys within her office."

Kane is fighting the good fight
"Kane's enemies include judges, prosecutors, and lawyers formerly with the Attorney General's Office who have worked to undermine her. They have been aided by Gov. Wolf, who said Kane should resign. Wolf probably figured that by throwing a fellow Democrat under the bus, he was displaying a bipartisan spirit that would be helpful in budget negotiations with the GOP-controlled legislature."
posted by valkane (21 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
The Sandusky scandal has basically salted the earth of Central PA, and it's gonna take generations before it recovers.
posted by sutt at 6:11 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Is releasing those emails legal? Is she even claiming that it's anything but payback? This sounds like a blatant misuse of her office for personal gain.
posted by Etrigan at 6:18 AM on November 5, 2015

I'm not sure that there will ever be a time when PA state politics aren't embarrassing.
posted by octothorpe at 6:19 AM on November 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yesterday: "The special state Senate committee reviewing the function of the Attorney General's office in the wake of the emergency temporary suspension of Kathleen Kane's law license will hold its first public hearing on Nov. 9. ... If the committee finds that Kane's ability to carry out her duties or the overall function of the office has been impaired by Kane's inability to act as an attorney, it could recommend a hearing on her removal from office."
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:22 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh hey! It's another one of those stories where everyone's an asshole!
posted by leotrotsky at 6:27 AM on November 5, 2015 [17 favorites]

Reality TV!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 AM on November 5, 2015

Heaven forbid that a woman get between the existing Old Boys Club and their porn.
posted by AGameOfMoans at 6:37 AM on November 5, 2015 [8 favorites]

That second article is crazy; Sandusky's defense attorneys want Kane's emails released because they think the charges against him (45 counts of sexual child abuse) can be dismissed if they show improper conduct regarding the grand jury. Ugh.
posted by carsonb at 6:40 AM on November 5, 2015

leotrotsky: "Oh hey! It's another one of those stories where everyone's an asshole!"

Yeah, as far as I can tell, Kane has committed some misconduct AND she's being railroaded. Classic case of framing a guilty guy.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:53 AM on November 5, 2015 [11 favorites]

Then again, maybe it's a strategy that works.

If this comment doesn't receive 100 favorites I will release a series of incriminating emails detailing cortex's illicit and sordid relationship with a certain elephant.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:00 AM on November 5, 2015 [7 favorites]

(listen close -- that's the sound of cortex setting up 99 sock puppet accounts)
posted by Etrigan at 7:02 AM on November 5, 2015 [13 favorites]

Releasing "confidential grand jury information" is a serious charge, but I don't see how releasing "raunchy" emails that I bet break existing workplace policy could get her into legal trouble. Government agency emails are public records and can be released under Pennsylvania open records laws anyway. Don't put anything in work email that you wouldn't want to see in the news.
posted by demiurge at 7:03 AM on November 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

Yes, this has been a continually unfolding car wreck. Between the dirt everyone keeps releasing to embarrass each other, which muddies the water, and the strong feeling I get that basically all the dirt is correct, the whole thing is a disaster. There have been repeated stories about how Kane seems paranoid (for potentially good reasons) and eager to dig up dirt even when that isn't legal (more than one editorial used the word Nixonian). But there is clearly a giant old boy's network that she is fighting, and which is also fighting back in a dirty way.

I wish this would lead to some larger reforms in PA, but I don't think it will, both because of institutional issues and also massive gridlock between the legislature and the governor.
posted by blahblahblah at 7:50 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

Oh hey! It's another one of those stories where everyone's an asshole!

No, it's worse: It's knowing that people who are supposed to be professionally fair hold personally repugnant views; that they feel safe enough in "just between guys" to share those views privately; that the culturally conservative background radiation of Pennsylvania leaks into shaping the public narrative around the state's first female attorney general; that there is so much dirt, so closely woven together, over administrations and years. I suspect that she knows she's toast--but is raging as she goes into that good night.

In related news, from Tuesday's election: Democrats sweep Pa. judicial races, including Supreme Court, "giv[ing] Democrats a 5-2 majority on the state's highest appellate court."
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:18 AM on November 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

There's something in this story very much like the plot of Absence of Malice, which is probably why it caught my eye.

My general read is Kane might have done a little something out of bounds in an effort to get the job done, and these guys landed on her with both feet just to SHUT IT DOWN, to cover up what ever they thought better left covered. And she's unwilling to go quietly into the night.

I was generally put off by the newspaper coverage, because, there's no support of what Kane was trying to accomplish, and the photos and text had a definite sexist vibe, which I attribute to editors, though I might be imagining things.

But that one quote from out of nowhere, about being railroaded... yeah, that said a lot about the reporters real feelings, at least that's what this ex-reporter read between the lines.
posted by valkane at 9:48 AM on November 5, 2015

"relieved of her law license"

What a weird turn of phrase. It's like "We know having a law license is a huge burden, what with the need to act professionally in professional settings. So we are just going to, uh, relieve you of that burden. There, isn't that better."
posted by Mitheral at 10:09 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

What a weird turn of phrase. It's like "We know having a law license is a huge burden, what with the need to act professionally in professional settings. So we are just going to, uh, relieve you of that burden. There, isn't that better."

Think of it in a context more like being taken off active duty and it makes a tad more sense.
posted by Talez at 10:20 AM on November 5, 2015

I'd like to just say that as a MeFi noob, I'm excited to learn about Elephant Day, but disappointed that I wasn't around for it this year.
posted by numaner at 10:28 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

For those of you who are just joining this story or who aren't in the trenches of Pennsylvania politics, be clear that Kane's credibility was already completely destroyed as a result of ridiculous and shady behavior unrelated to the Sandusky thing. The stories her staffers tell are chilling, and her bungled attempts to squash the legislative sting investigations already had Democrats lining up to primary her embarrassing ass.

These dudes and their emails are also shitheads and deserve to go down with her, but she definitely also deserves to go down.

She had smoking gun evidence of corruption by Philadelphia legislators that she tried to cover up. When reporters exposed this, she characterized the investigation as botched and biased and stated that “The prosecution would have failed. No doubt.”

Philly D.A. Seth Williams (himself no angel) called her bluff, brought charges against five legislators and a judge. He secured four guilty pleas, while the other two will attempt to fight the charges in court.

She also squashed an investigation into a campaign contributor.
posted by snottydick at 10:16 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Well, I'm glad i live in California where things like this would never happen.
posted by lkc at 2:32 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

"The Pennsylvania State Senate has announced plans to explore the use of an obscure constitutional clause to supposedly quickly remove state Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office."
posted by LeLiLo at 10:55 PM on November 8, 2015

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