Saturday, October 22, 2016

DEFENSE: Kathleen Kane, from 'humble origins" to dedicated public servant

[NOTE: Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Margaret Kane faces sentencing Monday, Oct. 24 for perjury and abuse of power convictions. She faces a possible maximum sentence of 12 to 24 years in prison. Prosecutors are seeking jail time; defense is seeking probation or house arrest.]

Defense lawyer Marc R. Steinberg filed papers in Montgomery County Court this week, providing Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy with “a complete picture” of Kathleen Kane’s life. The following are excerpts taken directly from court documents:

Kane was born June 14, 1966, in Scranton, Pa., to Joseph and Ellen Granahan and along with her twin sister, Ellen, older brother, Joseph, and younger brother, Mark, lived in different rented properties in Scranton. Her father was a janitor who picked up additional odd jobs to supplement his income and her mother worked at a convenience store and tended bar.
Kathleen Kane/ File Photo from Video by Carl Hessler Jr.

Kane’s parents divorced when she was in seventh grade and Steinberg said during this difficult time for her family Kane focused on work and on school. As a student in Scranton public schools Kane was a cheerleader and a member of the National Honor Society, and from the age of 13, held various after-school jobs.

Kane put herself through college, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies from the University of Scranton in 1988. For the next two years, she worked to save money for law school, and ultimately graduated from Temple Law School in 1993, passing the bar exam the same year.

Between entering the workforce at age 13 and passing the bar exam, Kane held many jobs. She worked at the Lackawanna County Court House transferring files to microfilm and at Burger King, Steinberg said. Kane worked as a school bus aide with children with disabilities and as a cleaning lady. She was a waitress and a district sales manager for the Scranton Times. She was a candy striper and an employee of Hess’s Department Store. In short, Steinberg said, Kane never shied away from hard work and worked hard to make something of herself, "considering her humble origins."

After passing the bar exam, Kane began her legal career as an associate with Post & Schell, P.C. Interested in public service, Kane left corporate law in 1995 and joined the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office as an assistant prosecutor where she primarily prosecuted sex offenders, handling thousands of cases. During her 12 years as a prosecutor, Kane also led the district attorney’s Insurance Fraud Unit and served as the first liaison to the office’s Mental Health Unit.

Kane left the DA’s office in 2007 to focus on raising her two sons. She also volunteered for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and volunteered with the Lackawanna County non-profit Hands on Hope, a charity that assisted struggling families to remain in their homes, Steinberg said. She served as the nonprofit’s president between 2009 and 2010.

In November 2012, Kane was the first woman and the first Democrat elected to hold the office of state attorney general.

In 2014, Kane made a service trip to Haiti, paid all of her personal expenses associated with the visit and went on her vacation time, Steinberg said. While in Haiti, she travelled to a remote village to provide food and met with enslaved children, bringing with her shoes and hygiene products.

In October 2014, Kane was involved in a car accident in which she suffered a concussion and a back injury. She still experiences pain from the crash, Steinberg said.

While attorney general, Kane’s commitment to her children never faltered, Steinberg said, and she routinely commuted between her home in Scranton and her office in Harrisburg in order to meet her professional obligations without sacrificing time with her children. When possible, she worked out of an office in Scranton so that she could devote additional time to her sons, Steinberg said.
Kathleen Kane/File Photo from Mercury Video by Carl Hessler Jr.

In August 2015, Kane was charged with perjury, false swearing, obstructing administration of law, conspiracy and official oppression. In October 2015, Kane was charged with additional counts of perjury, false swearing and obstructing administration of law.

In August 2016, Kane opted for a jury of her peers and was convicted of the charges on Aug. 15. Kane resigned from her post as attorney general two days later, on Aug. 17.

[NOTE: Steinberg’s court filing does not address details concerning Kane’s pending divorce, begun in December 2014, from her husband, Christopher, whose family owns a trucking firm.]

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