Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was charged Thursday with leaking grand-jury documents in order to embarrass a political rival—and then lying about it to another grand jury in an attempted coverup.
“Kane devised a scheme to secretly leak confidential information and secret grand jury items directly to media,” Risa Ferman, the district attorney in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County said at a news conference.
She said Kane, the first Democrat elected as attorney general in the state, “lied repeatedly about her own actions, about the law and about other matters.”
Kane was charged with, among other things, perjury and obstruction of justice.
In a statement, Kane denied wrongdoing and said she looked “forward to the opportunity to present my case in a public courtroom and move beyond the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that has defined the process to this point.” And despite calls for her resignation, including from Governor Tom Wolf, a fellow Democrat, Kane said she would not step down.
“A resignation would be an admission of guilt and I’m not guilty,” said Kane, who has served as attorney general since 2012.
Kane was a virtual unknown when she won the race for attorney general. As the Philadelphia Inquirer noted in a profile in April:
This is no button-down, patient climber of Pennsylvania's male-dominated electoral ladder. Kane is from the grab-it-with-all-your-might school. A fighter.
Her grit fueled a swift rise from virtual nobody to political power player, and lifted her from a challenging childhood. But that relentless drive and determination to win may be the traits that have brought her to the brink of possible prosecution midway through her first term in office.
Kane’s troubles began last year when the Inquirer published a story that said she shut down an investigation into corrupt Philadelphia Democrats. Kane blamed Frank Fina, the lead investigator on that case, for the newspaper’s story.