NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP)
Former Attorney General Kathleen Kane was sentenced Monday to 10 to 23 months in jail for illegally disclosing details from a grand jury investigation to embarrass a rival and lying about it under oath.
Kane was also sentenced to eight years of probation by a Montgomery County judge who said Kane's ego drove her to take down enemies and break the law.
She said she doesn't want her two sons to join the vulnerable group of high-risk children with mothers in prison.
Kane testified her two sons have been struggling since her conviction in her perjury and obstruction trial.
Monday afternoon, she said in court, "I really don't care what happens to me."
But, she says: "There is no more torture in the world than to watch your children suffer and know you had something to do with it."
Kane added, her 14-year-old son, Zachary, didn't attend the sentencing because "he couldn't even bear it." Her 15-year-old son, Chris, asked a judge for leniency for his mother earlier Monday.
She shares joint custody with her estranged husband.
Kane told a judge she ran for the office to help people, not to seek power or carry out any personal agenda.
Her lawyers plan to appeal.
The 15-year-old son of former Attorney General Kathleen Kane pleaded for leniency Monday at sentencing in her perjury and obstruction trial while her former deputies described an office demoralized by her leadership and terrorized by "Nixonian espionage."
Chris Kane called his mother "his rock" and said, "It would be tough for all of us" if she went to jail. The teenager said he decided to testify "because things weren't looking good." Prosecutors declined to cross-examine him.
The one-term attorney general will learn later Monday whether she is going to jail over a political feud that led to her conviction on charges she leaked grand jury materials to the media and lied about it under oath. Kane was the first woman and first Democrat elected as the state's top prosecutor.
Kane, 50, argues that the loss of her career, law license and reputation is punishment enough. She has asked a judge in suburban Philadelphia to sentence her to probation or house arrest so she can be home to raise her two teenage sons.
However, prosecutors call her crimes "egregious" and are pushing for jail time. They say a paranoid Kane ruined morale in the 800-person office and the wider law enforcement community through a calculated scheme to embarrass rival prosecutors who had left the office.
Kane "repeatedly misused her official authority to advance her personal vendettas," Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, a fellow Democrat, wrote in a sentencing memo last week.
In the final year of her first term, she was convicted Aug. 15 of two felony counts of perjury and seven misdemeanor charges. She resigned the next day.
Also Monday, former deputies in the office, giving emotional testimony while looking toward their ex-boss, described an office demoralized by Kane, especially after the investigation of the leak became public.
Former deputy Clarke Madden said the cloud permeated every corner of the office, as victims, witnesses and other law enforcement agencies feared working with them. The office itself was in constant turmoil.
"Through a pattern of systemic firings and Nixonian espionage, she created a terror zone in this office," said Erik Olsen, a career prosecutor who is now the chief deputy attorney general.
Other defense witnesses included a retired police chief and Roman Catholic priest who said Kane had been the rare politician to make inroads to address drug-related crime in Hazleton. Kane's college-age niece also testified to the help her aunt offered when she struggled with an eating disorder.
Kane enjoyed mostly good press early on as she supported gay marriage, ramped up a child predator unit run by her twin sister and questioned her predecessor's handling of the Penn State sex assault case.
But turmoil inside the office became apparent as top deputies and career prosecutors headed for the doors. Kane's feud with one of them, Frank Fina, who had helped run the Penn State probe and other sensitive investigations, led to the leak.
Kane, taking aim at him, had a campaign consultant pass confidential files to a reporter about a corruption case Fina had declined to charge before he left the office. She then tried to frame someone else for the leak, aides testified at the perjury and obstruction trial.
Kane did not testify at the August trial. A jury convicted her on all nine counts. Common Pleas Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy sharply warned Kane afterward that she would put her in jail if she tried to retaliate against anyone. The sentence could range from probation to a maximum 12 to 24 years in prison.
Aside from the conviction, Kane's political career will be remembered for her investigation of pornography that she said was being traded on state computers by judges, lawyers and other public employees. Two state Supreme Court justices resigned amid the fallout.
"She rose from poverty to a pinnacle, and has already fallen," lawyer Marc Steinberg wrote in the defense sentencing memo. "She has been humbled and embarrassed, and now just wants to make amends and to focus her attention on raising her children."