PHILADELPHIA — The former attorney general has been “humbled and embarrassed” by her perjury conviction and hopes to avoid jail time so she can raise her children, her lawyers said in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday.
Kathleen Kane, 50, is set to be sentenced Oct. 24 for leaking grand jury documents to a newspaper and lying about it under oath. Prosecutors have said that the first-term Democrat abused her power to settle personal scores, ruining morale in her office and the state’s law enforcement community. They are seeking jail or prison time.
Her lawyers painted a far different in the sentencing memo. They said she had overcome a difficult childhood in Scranton to put herself through college and law school before juggling duties as an assistant county prosecutor, mother and community volunteer.
Kane used her husband’s family trucking fortune to help fund a successful run for statewide office in 2012. She was a rising political star early on, questioning the time it took to bring sex assault charges against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and speaking out against bans on gay marriage. But her office soon devolved into turmoil, with frequent turnover at the top.
Montgomery County prosecutors, who investigated the 2014 newspaper leak, said a paranoid Kane planned and plotted the crime to embarrass rivals, then deceived a grand jury to cover it up.
Kane’s lawyers said she should be spared the risk of meeting up in prison with anyone she helped put behind bars. They asked for probation or, at most, house arrest, so Kane can make amends and continue raising her two sons. She and her husband are divorcing.
“She rose from poverty to a pinnacle, and has already fallen,” lawyer Mark Steinberg wrote in the sentencing memo, which included letters to the judge from friends and family members.
“The Old Testament tells us that fallen angels suffered most from the torture of their fall from glory and their plummet from grace,” he wrote, quoting from a 1987 state Superior Court ruling. “And of course, the higher the ascent, the sharper the fall — the more precious the gift, the more shameful its loss.”
Kane did not testify at her August trial, when a jury convicted her on all nine counts in a matter of hours. The potential sentence ranges from probation to a 12- to 24-year prison term.