Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

State Top Court Hears Arguments about Probe of Alleged Kane Leaks Special Prosecutor, Grand Jury at Issue

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

State Top Court Hears Arguments about Probe of Alleged Kane Leaks Special Prosecutor, Grand Jury at Issue

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA - State Attorney General Kathleen Kane said she was "cautiously hopeful" following a hearing before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in which her attorneys claimed a special prosecutor had no authority to bring allegations of wrongdoing by her office before a grand jury.

Wednesday's hearing was the embattled attorney general's attempt to derail a case alleging she leaked secret material from a 2009 grand jury to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Ms. Kane did not speak during the hearing, but she told reporters afterward that she is grateful the court agreed to hear the case.

She is challenging Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter's appointment last May of a special prosecutor to investigate the alleged leaks and the decision to bring the allegations before a grand jury, which later recommended criminal charges.

Ms. Kane's attorney, Joseph Del Sole, argued that the special prosecutor was not properly appointed.

Thomas Carluccio acted without legal authority, so the grand jury's presentment should be "null and void" and the evidence in it should be suppressed, Mr. Del Sole argued.

But Mr. Carluccio said Ms. Kane didn't object to his appointment until the grand jury finished its work and recommended charges of perjury, false swearing, official oppression and obstruction of justice. Charges have not been filed pending the outcome of Wednesday's arguments and a presentment detailing the basis for the recommendations has not been publicly released.

"The presentment comes out and when the attorney general doesn't like the results she wants to quash it. I think there's something wrong with the timing of that," Mr. Carluccio told the Supreme Court.

Mr. Del Sole argued that only attorneys general and district attorneys can present evidence to grand juries, and that Judge Carpenter violated the constitutional principle of separation of powers when he appointed Mr. Carlucci. He said the judge had no authority to investigate the alleged leaks because they related to a disbanded grand jury that another judge supervised. …

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