A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR'S secret grand-jury conclusion about an allegation that state Attorney General Kathleen Kane disclosed secret grand-jury information was leaked to the press yesterday.
According to a report in the Inquirer, the grand jury now recommends the filing of criminal charges against Kane for spilling information and recommends charging her with perjury and contempt of court.
Kane, 48, is accused of violating the cardinal rule of investigating grand juries - to keep matters confidential unless or until a prosecutor takes action.
The allegations stem from a Daily News article on June 5 about how Kane was reviewing a 2009 investigation by the prosecutor's office into financial matters involving J. Whyatt Mondesire, then the head of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP.
The article raised questions about the state attorney general's investigation, which suggested that Mondesire used nonprofit funds for personal expenses.
Sources say leaks from Kane's office to the Daily News were engineered to embarrass her political enemies. She denies that claim.
In November, Kane testified before a statewide grand jury in Norristown and at the time told reporters she fully intended to tell the truth to the special prosecutor assigned to the case. She said she would fully reveal the facts surrounding the disclosure of any information to the public.
That, she said, "was done in a way that did not violate statutory or case law regarding grand-jury secrecy."
Her statement implied that some information did come from her office, just in a manner that did not compromise the secrecy of the grand jury proceeding.
Yesterday, Kane's lawyer, reputable White House adviser and political strategist Lanny J. Davis, issued the following statement:
"I cannot confirm the posted report in the Philadelphia Inquirer of any presentment issued by the grand jury regarding Attorney General Kathleen Kane. If such is the case, then it is my understanding that it is up to the Montgomery County District Attorney to make a judgment as to whether to proceed against the attorney general.
"The attorney general has done nothing wrong or illegal and, to my knowledge, there is no credible evidence that she has. She told the truth to the grand jury at all times. I hope the district attorney will reach the same conclusion."
He went on to say: "This anonymous leak to the Inquirer about this alleged presentment could be - in and of itself - a possible violation of the state Grand Jury Secrecy Act. I wonder why the supervising judge who appointed the special prosecutor to investigate the attorney general hasn't initiated a grand-jury investigation of this leak or any of the other previous leaks from this same grand jury process."
And the penny drops.
The case is now in the hands of Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, who declined to comment yesterday. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said he could not confirm the results of the grand jury. Special Prosecutor Thomas Carluccio said he could not and would not comment on the case.
It would seem, for all the hush, there's something to be gained for loose lips.
"This decision has historical consequences," said Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer Brian McMonagle.