By John Celock
Pennsylvania’s embattled attorney general says the release of a series of porn filled and insensitive emails will clear her of charges that she released secret grand jury testimony.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) used a press conference Wednesday to say that she will not resign and that prosecutors and judges in the state have been trying to remove her from office in an attempt to stop the release of the emails. Kane, who was indicted last week and faces jail time and the loss of her law license, first exposed the emails that were exchanged between state prosecutors and judges in 2014.
“I am innocent of any wrong doing,” Kane said at the Harrisburg press conference. “I neither conspired with anyone or directed anyone to do anything illegal or unlawful. I broke no laws of this commonwealth, period.”
Kane, who did not take questions, said she wanted to start to tell the “whole story” at the press conference and in the coming months. She said that the emails that she uncovered being exchanged by attorney general staffers while former Gov. Tom Corbett (R) was attorney general from 2005 to 2011 were at the heart of the charges against her.
Kane said that the emails, which she described as pornographic, racially insensitive and offensive have not all been released. She said the prosecutors and judges involved have been taking steps to conceal their involvement in the emails and to keep them hidden. Kane said that prosecutors and judges in the state have either “wittingly or unwittingly” helped to hide the emails from the public.
Kane used the press conference to call on state Judge William Carpenter to release the emails, saying that it would show the whole trail of who was involved and help in clearing her name. She said it would help clear her name. She said that those involved in the emails believe that they are on the verge of keeping the emails hidden if Kane is forced from office.
Since Kane’s indictment last week, multiple state lawmakers have called for her impeachment and Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has called for her resignation. In addition, former Attorney General Ernie Preate (R), the last Pennsylvania attorney general to be indicted while in office, has called on Kane to resign saying that she cannot effectively defend herself and serve as Pennsylvania’s chief law enforcement officer at the same time. Preate resigned following his 1995 indictment.
Kane has vowed to stay in office, saying that she does not want an appointive attorney general to take office. She said that the calls for her resignation and the indictment are ways to oust her.
“This process is the new stealth political weapon that has not popped up on the media’s radar as of yet,” she said.
Kane could also be forced from office if a state attorney disciplinary board were to suspend or revoke her law license, which she needs to serve as attorney general.
Kane said that she was not making the call to settle feuds with others.
“I do that not as part of some vendetta but to tell the whole story,” Kane said of her call to have the emails released. “A story that is critical to my defense against these charges. Today I am calling for the whole story to come out.”
Kane was considered a rising political star after her 2012 victory in the attorney general’s race. A largely unknown former prosecutor from Scranton, Kane vaulted to Pennsylvania’s top legal post after a campaign in which she was backed by former President Bill Clinton. Kane defeated former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who had been viewed as the frontrunner, in the Democratic primary and Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed (R) in the general election.
Kane had been viewed as a potential 2016 Democratic U.S. Senate candidate before the charges came to light.
Kane said that anyone who says that she could be distracted from her official duties by the indictment does not know her abilities. She said that since a grand jury first recommended her indictment nine months ago and the charges first surfaced 15 months ago, she has continued doing her job. She cited a list of statistics regarding the arrests of child predators and those involved in drug offenses, along with a civil settlement with an energy company.
“Pennsylvania is safer now than it has ever been,” Kane said.
Kane, who called herself a “multitasker,” said that her two sons first learned of her indictment last week via the news. She then used a statement to them to communicate to Pennsylvania voters that she is not leaving office.
“I want you to know that I made the promise to the voters of this commonwealth that I would finish a job and I am going to do it,” Kane said.