NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- Closing arguments have concluded in the perjury trial of state attorney general Kathleen Kane, and a Montgomery County jury will deliberate this afternoon.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele delivered closing remarks for the state late this morning, following closing arguments by Kane's defense attorney, Seth Farber.
Steele shouted at the jury, at times, describing why Kathleen Kane should be found guilty of not only perjury, but other criminal charges of obstruction of law, official oppression, and false swearing.
"You may not release grand jury investigations! You may not release criminal information!" Steele yelled, then lowering his voice to a hush, "Because of the harm it may cause."
Steele offered the jury a timeline of events, designed to state their case that Kane is guilty. The timeline began with her swearing in on January 15, 2013, and included key dates in the prosecution's against her. Some of those dates include January 17, 2013, when Kane signed a series of secrecy oaths saying she would not release grand jury information. Kane has claimed she does not remember signing those oaths.
In March 2014, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article critical of Kane, citing sources, for not pursuing charges against a number of Philadelphia-area politicians. Prosecutors argue that article set in motion a series of events where Kane sought revenge on Frank Fina, a former Philadelphia deputy district attorney who Kane claims was responsible for the negative article.
"This is war," Steele said, quoting a text message Kane sent to a staffer the day the article was released. "I will not let them discredit me or the office."
The key piece of evidence for the Commonwealth is a phone conversation, taped by the FBI, between Josh Morrow, a political consultant for Kane, and his friend, fellow political consultant John Lisko, whose phone was being wiretapped due to a separate, unrelated investigation.
"Kathleen called me today and she's like, Adrian has documents for you to leak out," Morrow was heard saying in the phone conversation. "It's all about, like, Frank Fina killing a Jerry Mondesire investigation."
"There are certain things where the clouds part and the light shines through," Steele told the jury. "This is a conspiratorial relationship being hatched. This is him saying, 'I need advice on this. She's asking me to do this.'"
On June 6, an article published in the Philadelphia Daily News, written by Chris Brennan, featured the leaked grand jury documents.
Steele's argument focused on, in part, a slew of text messages between Kane and Morrow between April and June 2014. Kane's defense team argues the attorney general never implicated herself in any wrongdoing in any of the released emails or text messages.
Steele also recalled a July 2014 phone conversation between Kane and her former first deputy Bruce Beemer in which Beemer testified Kane wanted to file a motion with a judge or the Supreme Court to stop a special prosecutor from looking into the attorney general's office for the alleged grand jury leak.
Earlier Monday, defense attorney Seth Farber spoke for over 90 minutes in making Kane's closing remarks. His arguments focused on how it was not Kane obsessed with seeking revenge on Frank Fina, but instead, it was Morrow, defense attorneys argued, who was "hell-bent" on getting back at Fina after the March 2014 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer gave Kane negative press.
Morrow testified last week he was "angry" after reading the article about his one-time friend, Kane.
Farber also focused on the testimony of Morrow, who was prosecutors' key witness. Morrow turned over months of text messages sent in 2014 between he and Kane. Morrow said he lied twice under oath, when testifying to the grand jury in regards to the grand jury investigation in November 2014. It was only then, he says, the burden of lying became too much that he decided to come forward.
However, Morrow is under the protection of immunity, and his testimony was in contrast to one of the state's other top witnesses, Kane's former first deputy Adrian King.
Morrow said he was told by Kane in April 2014 to call King to pick up the documents to give to the Daily News. King, however, said he was being framed by Morrow and Kane.
"King and Morrow are two witnesses who will say whatever they need to do to protect themselves," Farber told the Montgomery County jury. "You would not even buy a used car from either of them."
Farber then called into question Adrian King's character, accusing him of lying in his testimony last week when he said he thought the documents Kane told him to take to Philadelphia to give to Morrow were campaign materials.
Farber referenced the taped phone conversation between Morrow and Lisko, where Morrow said, "Adrian's like, well I'll leave these between my screen door and my front door and you can pick them up and like redact names."
"Adrian King knew exactly what was in those documents," Farber said. "His testimony that it was campaign material is a flat out lie."
Farber then read excerpts of Kane's 2014 grand jury testimony, so, as he said, the jury could receive the full context of her testimony where she is accused of perjuring herself.
At the end of his remarks, Farber walked over to Kane, sitting with her defense team, and said, "Kathleen Kane sits here, not as Attorney General, but as a citizen of Scranton just like everybody else. To look at evidence, the value of evidence, and return the only verdict the evidence in this case suggests: Not guilty."
Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy will charge the jury following a lunch break.