Attorney General Kane testifies before state grand Jury
NORRISTOWN, PA (WPMT) Pennsylvania State Attorney Kathleen Kane traveled to Norristown to testify before a State Grand Jury that reportedly is probing a leak from her office to the Philadelphia Daily News of confidential 2009 documents on a political activist whom prosecutors ultimately did not charge with a crime.
Kane has declined to officially say why she is appearing before the Grand Jury. Her private attorney released the following public statement:
“As many of you know, I initiated an independent inquiry into the way the Sandusky investigation was conducted — a central concern raised during my campaign for Attorney General. During that investigation, thousands of emails were discovered sent and received by Pennsylvania public officials that contained pornographic materials. As a result of multiple requests to the Office of Attorney General under Pennsylvania’s broad Right to Know Law, I released most of these emails to the media and the public.
The Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in a recently published opinion, described the attachments to these emails as “clearly pornographic” and possibly criminal. As a result, many senior public officials involved in these emails resigned. But others remain on the public payrolls, as the Chief Justice pointed out.
Today I am due to testify before a Pennsylvania Grand Jury, as has been publicly reported. However, due to continuous, even overlapping court orders since last March, I am not allowed to explain why I am testifying or what my testimony has to do with the release of the pornographic emails under the Right to Know Law. These court orders also expose me to legal risk if I do my job as Attorney General that I was elected and trusted by the people of Pennsylvania to do. I am not allowed at this time to explain why.
The Office of Attorney General has cooperated from the beginning of this process and I will do the same. I will tell the Special Prosecutor the truth and the facts surrounding the disclosure of information to the public that was done in a way that did not violate statutory or case law regarding Grand Jury secrecy.
Despite my present situation that restricts my ability to answer your questions, I remain committed to the central theme of my campaign — transparency in government. The public has a right to know what public officials are doing or not doing with taxpayer dollars and whether they are doing their jobs properly or attempting to investigate or prosecute possible criminal conduct.
I promised I would expose corruption and abuse of the legal system. I understand that there are those on the public payroll who stand to lose their jobs and who may feel threatened by our commitment to expose them. I will not be deterred. The winds of change can only blow through open windows. My administration is being prevented from prying open the windows that corruption has nailed shut. But that change is coming.
The right of the public and media to know what public officials are doing is vital and should be protected by public officials, the media, and the people of Pennsylvania. I am fighting for the right of the Attorney General to do my job without interference.
But more importantly, I am fighting for an end to abuse of the criminal justice system, for transparency, and for better government. That doesn’t come without cost to us. But if this can be done to me as Attorney General, the chief law enforcement officer of the 5th largest state in the country, I am sickened to think what can and may be done to regular, good people who don’t have the resources that I have to challenge it.
In conclusion, I wish I could say more and answer all your questions but I cannot. But I can promise you this: The truth and the law will prevail.”
The workings of a grand jury as specified by law are secret. Leaking information about a grand jury is punishable to up to six months in jail.
Kane has twice postponed testifying before the grand jury, once because of a scheduling conflict and the other because of injury she suffered in a crash in late October.