Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Attorney General's Testimony Had 'Inconsistencies,' Newly Unsealed Document Says

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Attorney General's Testimony Had 'Inconsistencies,' Newly Unsealed Document Says

Article excerpt

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane's testimony before a grand jury regarding the leak of protected materials last year "was riddled with inconsistencies," according to the presentment that recommended criminal charges against her.

Further, the Dec. 19 document, which was unsealed Monday, said that her testimony "demonstrated conduct that was clearly inconsistent with the evidence presented to this grand jury."

The 27-page presentment, which suggested charges of perjury, false swearing, official oppression and obstruction, was made public after an attorney for Ms. Kane and the special prosecutor investigating the grand jury leak requested it at a hearing Monday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. That hearing was to address a recent allegation against Ms. Kane over the firing of James Barker, chief deputy attorney general for appeals and legal services, who testified against her before the grand jury.

A three-judge panel ordered that the investigation into Mr. Barker's termination should also be handed over to Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, who is considering whether to file charges against Ms. Kane based on the grand jury's leak presentment.

The document, produced by the 35th statewide investigating grand jury, lays out the alleged actions by Ms. Kane regarding the leak of materials, including a memorandum and interview transcript, stemming from a 2009 investigation into former NAACP head J. Whyatt Mondesire. But Ms. Kane contends that none of the materials she authorized for release were protected by grand jury secrecy rules. Instead, she believes there was a misunderstanding about what she said could be disclosed.

Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for Ms. Kane, said Monday that she authorized the release of a memo generated in 2014 about the Mondesire investigation that was not covered by grand jury protection.

"She has testified that she didn't even know about the 2009 memo, and somehow the two have been interconnected," he said. "I can't tell you whether her instructions were not clear or whether her instructions were misunderstood. All I can tell you is it was never her intention to release protected material."

Mr. Ardo said Ms. Kane instructed that the 2014 memo be released and then someone else put the material in an envelope and had it delivered.

But the grand jury presentment recommending charges against Ms. Kane accuses her of lying under oath to protect herself.

"We find that the testimony of Kathleen Kane was not an honest account of the events, and she mischaracterized events to cover up activities undertaken at her direction to unlawfully release documents subject to grand jury secrecy," the presentment said.

Information from the 2009 investigation - which did not result in any criminal charges - was released to Philadelphia Daily News reporter Chris Brennan and used in a June 6 story. …

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