NORRISTOWN, Pa., Oct. 24 (UPI) — Pennsylvania’s former top law enforcement official escaped serious prison time on Monday, but was nonetheless given a jail term, for criminal offenses she committed while trying to discredit a political enemy.
Former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane was sentenced Monday to between 10 and 28 months in jail for the convictions, which accused her of perjury and abusing her power.
The scandal involving Kane began two years ago when she leaked grand jury records to the press with the intent of discrediting a prominent critic. She then lied to a different grand jury about the ordeal and was convicted on nine criminal counts.
Kane, 50, asked the judge for leniency during Monday’s sentencing hearing, appealing in behalf of her two teenage sons..
“Maybe I deserve everything I get, [but] they don’t,” she said, crying. “I am not going to ask for your mercy because I don’t care about me any more.
“I would cut off my right arm if they were separated from me and I from them. Please sentence me and not them.”
“My mom is like my rock. We just know that we can’t lose our mom,” her 15-year-old son Chris said at Monday’s hearing.
The judge could have given Kane a maximum sentence of 28 years in prison. Part of the reason she was given at least 10 months may have been due to the fact Kane has no prior criminal record.
Prosecutors responded by playing a tape of Kane saying after her convictions that she had “no regrets” about how she conducted her short four-year political career.
“Any lesser sentence than total confinement will absolutely depreciate the seriousness of the crime,” Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy said. “A violation of this magnitude and severity is an extraordinary abuse of the system.”
“It’s a shame that they have to go through all this,” the judge said of Kane’s children. “That’s a decision you made, not this court.”
Kane was led away from the Norristown courtroom in handcuffs, flanked by several guards.
Kane resigned from her post in August, two days after her convictions.
“I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania, and I wish them health and safety in all their days,” she said at the time.
The leaked grand jury records contributed to a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer that was highly critical of former state prosecutor Frank Fina, who was himself critical of Kane.
Widely viewed as one of Pennsylvania’s rising political stars just two years ago, Kane has since endured a spectacular and humiliating downfall that reached a fever pitch with Monday’s sentence.
“The case is about ego — ego of a politician consumed by her image from Day 1,” Demchick-Alloy added. “Instead of focusing solely on a basis of fighting crime, the focus was battling [political] enemies … and utilizing and exploiting her position to do it.”