Pennsylvania AG Kane won't testify in her trial


Associated Press

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- Attorney General Kathleen Kane decided Friday not to testify or put on any defense witnesses at her perjury and obstruction trial, saying she didn't think the government had proved its case against her.

"I listened to the commonwealth's case and I don't believe it's necessary for me to testify," Kane said.

Kane is accused of leaking grand jury evidence to the press and lying about it under oath. The felony perjury charge can bring up to seven years in prison.

Closing arguments are set for Monday.

Kane listened this week as two of her once-trusted advisers told the jury that she had invented a story for the grand jury and framed someone else for the leak. One of them said he conspired with her on the plan.

"Kathleen and I came up with a story that she was going to testify to and I was going to testify to," political consultant Josh Morrow testified Thursday. "We had conspired to create this story that wasn't true."

The other, former chief deputy and her former law school boyfriend Adrian King, said he passed an envelope from her to a campaign consultant that eventually reached a newspaper. But King said that he didn't know it contained secret criminal files and that Kane is trying to frame him.

Kane, once a rising star in the state's Democratic Party, is set to leave office in January after a tumultuous first term that spawned her arrest, the loss of her law license and a statehouse impeachment effort. Kane, 50, has said she was being targeted for taking on an "old boys network" in state government.

Prosecutors say Kane leaked documents through aides in 2014 to get back at a former prosecutor in the office whom she loathed. The documents showed that the prosecutor, Frank Fina, had led a 2009 investigation into an NAACP official's finances but then shelved the case. Kane thought Fina had made her look bad in a story about a statehouse sting of fellow Democrats that she had dropped.

"I think she was just hell-bent on getting back at Frank Fina," Morrow said.

Prosecutors said the NAACP official, J. Whyatt "Jerry" Mondesire of Philadelphia, was simply collateral damage. His fiancee testified Friday that the story unfairly maligned him, contributed to his ouster from the NAACP and took a toll on his health. Mondesire, 65, died last year.

Chris Brennan, the Philadelphia Daily News reporter who wrote the story, also took the stand to invoke a state shield law that protects journalists from disclosing their sources.

MORE: Former top aide accuses Pennsylvania attorney general of setup

The final prosecution witness read a 1999 trial transcript that quoted Kane saying she knows it's illegal to disclose grand jury evidence. She testified that the judge on trial in a bribery case had asked her to do so. She said that she refused.

The defense made the standard motion Friday to dismiss the case for lack of evidence, but Montgomery County Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy found "more than enough direct and circumstantial evidence" to send the case to the jury.

Kane has appeared cool and confident throughout the five-day trial and smiled along with the judge when Brennan, answering a question, said that "almost nothing surprises me as a political reporter."