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Kathleen Kane, Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Facing Investigation
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Kane has been accused of firing a prosecutor in retaliation for his grand jury testimony against her.

Summary: Kathleen Kane faces perjury charges and other allegations that she abused her power.

According to the Morning Call, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, was ordered on Friday to explain why she terminated a key prosecutor. Two of her offices were searched to determine whether she should be charged with perjury in relation to grand jury leaks. The Montgomery County district attorney is pursuing that investigation.


Judge William Carpenter of Montgomery County ordered Kane to appear in court and explain to a panel of three judges why her firing of that prosecutor was not witness intimidation. Pursuant to a court order, retaliation against employees who testified against her during the grand jury investigation was forbidden. Kane’s hearing is currently set for April 27. According to CBS, Kane will challenge the order.

Kane made history when she was elected as attorney general.

Carpenter noted, “In the event that the protective order was violated, an indirect criminal contempt proceeding will follow forthwith.”

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Search warrants were also issued on Friday by Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman for Kane’s Norristown office, her emails, and for her Harrisburg headquarters.

Ferman accepted the case after the state Supreme Court rejected Kane’s challenge of a grand jury investigation into whether she or someone working in her office provided grand jury secrets to the Philadelphia Daily News to undermine her ethics last month. The grand jury determined that Kane lied and abused her power.

The order from Carpenter came just two days after Kane fired James P. Barker, the former chief deputy attorney general who was in charge of logistics for the statewide investigation of grand juries, as well as criminal appeals.

Carpenter presides over grand juries in eastern Pennsylvania. On August 24, he penned an order that protected Barker, as well as other agency personnel who testified during the investigation of the news leak. Special prosecutor Thomas Carluccio subpoenaed Barker to testify in the hearing. Carluccio was appointed by Carpenter to work on the case.

The order read, “Employees in the office of attorney general shall refrain from engaging in, or soliciting, any act of obstruction, intimidation or retaliation against any witnesses summoned by the grand jury in the special prosecutor’s investigation.”

Larry Davis, Kane’s spokesman, said, “I can reassure Judge Carpenter that the personnel decisions over the last two years, including the most recent ones, were 100 percent appropriate management decisions by Attorney General Kane consistent with her campaign themes and commitments to the people of Pennsylvania for reform and efficiency in the Office of Attorney General. She also categorically denies that these personnel decisions were in any way retaliatory — they were made on the merits for the reasons just stated.”

In 2013, Kane promised to support same sex marriage.

Barker, who appeared cool and collected about his firing, said that he was in Philadelphia on Wednesday, arguing a murder appeal. When the hearing ended that afternoon, he saw that he had a message that told him to come back to Harrisburg. When he arrived, Executive Deputy Attorney General Larry Cherba told Barker that he was being let go without providing a reason. Barker was then escorted out of the building, although he was allowed to return later to retrieve some of his personal items.

Barker commented, “I’m 53 years old and I’ve never been fired from a job in my entire life.”

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Kane’s office told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Barker was fired as part of office restructuring, having “absolutely nothing” to do with his grand jury testimony. Later, the office said that Barker was fired due to supposed leaks from an unspecified grand jury.

Barker said he was not aware of what grand jury leaks Kane was referring to. Although Barker sets up grand juries, he plays no role in the investigative proceedings, such as writing presentments that recommend either civil or criminal charges.

A Pennsylvania Supreme Court nominee withdrew from the race in light of an alleged scandal.

Carpenter’s order is just the latest issue that resulted from Caluccio’s investigation of Kane. The grand jury investigation began in May after Frank Fina, a former prosecutor, told Carpenter that the Daily News was seeking information about a 2009 grand jury case that involved J. Whyatt Mondesire, a political activist who was once the president of the Philadelphia NAACP.

Fina worked on the Mondesire case. Although no charges resulted from that investigation, the Daily News somehow obtained two items: a 2009 memo penned by then-Deputy Attorney General William Davis Jr., and a transcript of a March 21, 2014 interview with special agent Michael Miletto, who worked on the Mondesire case and actually criticized Fina’s manner of handling it.

The Miletto recording was made five days after The Philadelphia Inquirer published a piece that criticized Kane’s decision to implement a sting investigation into state lawmakers who were accused of taking cash from an undercover informant. Fina was a lead prosecutor who worked with that informant.

Carluccio issued a subpoena for Kane to testify in the grand jury. Before her testimony was taken, Kane admitted that she authorized the Daily News to get the transcript, but not the memo.

In December, the grand jury recommended that Kane be charged with perjury and other crimes. According to ABC, those charges include obstruction, false swearing, and official oppression. Later that month, Kane asked the Supreme Court to dissolve the grand jury probe, claiming that Carpenter exceeded his legal authority in appointing Carluccio.

Last month, in a 4-1 decision, the court rejected this claim. Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor said that Carpenter relied correctly on legal precedent that allows judges to appoint special counsel in cases where grand jury secrecy laws may have been broken.

Justice Max Baer concurred, stating that Carpenter correctly forwarded the grand jury’s findings to Ferman, adding that Carpenter and Carluccio “colluded” by meeting privately.

Source: The Morning Call

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