After eight months behind bars, former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane was released Wednesday from the Montgomery County prison.
Asked how she felt as she walked through the prison gate, she only said, “Grateful.”
She did not answer any other questions while making her way through a scrum of reporters and then climbed into the back of a black Mercedes Benz SUV, where she apparently was surprised by waiting family members.
“Oh my goodness,” Kane said, a broad smile on her face.
Though Kane was sentenced to serve at least 10 months in jail for her corruption conviction, she accumulated credit for "good behavior” that trimmed her sentence, Warden Julio M. Agarin said Tuesday.
The warden said all inmates can earn such time "as long as they are problem-free, and she’s been problem-free.”
Kane, the first Democrat and first woman to be elected attorney general, served her prison time without incident, requesting no special protection, sleeping in a 16-bed dormitory in the jail in Eagleville, which holds more than 300 female inmates. She worked in the sewing room or the library, Agarin said, unable to immediately recall her assignment.
Kane, who turned 53 last month, was convicted of perjury, official oppression, and other offenses in 2016 and sentenced to a term of 10 to 23 months.
Her conviction climaxed a stunning fall for Kane, a political neophyte from the Scranton area who swept into office in 2012 with a vote tally that exceeded the count for President Barack Obama.
Her downfall began in 2014, after The Inquirer revealed that she had quietly shut down a sting investigation that caught Democratic legislators from Philadelphia pocketing cash. The article incensed her.
“I will not allow them to discredit me or our office,” Kane wrote in an email the day the article appeared. “This is war.”
A jury found that she leaked secret investigative information in a vendetta to embarrass a former state prosecutor whom she blamed for the story. She then lied under oath about her attempted vengeance to a grand jury.
Her case was pursued by county prosecutors in Montgomery County and she was tried in Norristown, the county seat, because the leaked material had been gathered in the county by an investigative grand jury.
Early in her term, she discovered a trove of emails containing pornography and other offensive content that were exchanged among state prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges. After she released the materials, a resulting scandal led to the retirements or resignations of more than a half-dozen high-profile public officials, including two state Supreme Court justices.
The sting investigation that Kane shut down was resurrected by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Five former or current state legislators and a Traffic Court judge were convicted of sting-related charges.
Kane has said the criminal case against her was “corruptly manufactured” by a club of “good ol’ boys.”