As Kane fought with Fina, their war kept spreading to new fronts. In a feud that riveted the state's legal and political communities, Kane and Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams - both Democrats and the state's two top law enforcement officials - became enemies.
Williams, who hired Fina as a prosecutor after he left the state payroll, ended up resurrecting the sting investigation. At last count, five defendants - four former state legislators and a former president judge of Philadelphia Traffic Court - had pleaded guilty or no contest to corruption charges.
Williams accused Kane of erroneously suggesting that race had played a role in the selection of targets in the investigation.
The accused, Williams said, "took money not because they were targeted or tricked, or because of their race. They took it because they wanted the money."
Kane, in scrutinizing Fina's handling of a past case, found a powerful weapon. While examining Fina's work investigating sex offender Jerry Sandusky, she learned that Fina, among many others in her agency and elsewhere in government, had been swapping pornographic emails on state computers for years.
She denounced the offensive emails and complained that her public stand against them had led to her arrest. This fueled a burgeoning scandal that eventually cost several top officials their jobs, including two justices of the state Supreme Court.
Kane is the first attorney general to be convicted of a crime since 1995, when Ernest Preate resigned as the state's top law enforcement official and served a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud related to a campaign contribution.
Despite a relatively thin resumé - a dozen years as an assistant district attorney in the Scranton area - Kane campaigned ably in 2012, selling herself as a newcomer without ties to the establishment. She picked up support by criticizing the investigation of Sandusky, a former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach, a stance that paid off with strong support from voters in areas close to the university.
In her first year in office, Kane won media attention for her stands in favor of a gun-control measure and marriage equality. But that was also the year she shut down the sting, doing so under court seal with no word to the public.
When the Inquirer disclosed her decision in a story the following year, Kane was livid.
"I will not allow them to discredit me or our office," Kane wrote in an email on the day the article appeared. "This is war."
In her public remarks, Kane savaged the sting investigation, called it "half-assed," poorly planned and managed, and too weak to lead to any convictions. More seriously, she said the cases might have been marred by racial targeting.
But, the jury found, she also orchestrated the leak, dispatching two associates - her second in command, Adrian King, and political consultant Josh Morrow - to act in relay as couriers to deliver the leaked material to a reporter with the Daily News.
The result was a story quoting a detective as saying Fina failed to aggressively pursue 2009 allegations that J. Whyatt Mondesire, a veteran civil rights leader in Philadelphia and head of the city chapter of the NAACP, had misused state money. Mondesire, now deceased, was never charged with any crime. Fina has defended his handling of the case.
Morrow later became a key prosecution witness against Kane, in tandem with King. Morrow told jurors that the point of the leak was to strike back at Fina. In court, Kane's lawyers blasted both King and Morrow as liars.
"The commonwealth is asking you to rely on them. . . . You would not even buy a used car from either one of them," said Seth Farber, one of six lawyers on Kane's defense team.
Morrow said later that he and Kane plotted together to pin the crime solely on King. "We had conspired to create this story that wasn't true," Morrow told the jury. "Kathleen and I came up with a story that she was going to testify to and I was going to testify to."
From even before the Daily News published its story, Fina, 50, fought back tenaciously. When the Daily News reporter contacted him for comment for the pending story, Fina immediately reported to authorities that the journalist had gained access to secret grand jury material.
This triggered the appointment of a special prosecutor, Norristown lawyer Thomas Carluccio, a six-month grand jury probe led by him, a three-month investigation by Montgomery County prosecutors and detectives, and, ultimately, Kane's arrest a year ago on charges of perjury, obstruction, official oppression, false swearing, and conspiracy.
In defending herself, Kane blamed Fina. She said he had "corruptly manufactured" the charges against her to block her from exposing his troubling emails. But after prosecutors contended that the pornographic emails had no relevance to the criminal case, Demchick-Alloy, who presided over the trial, barred Kane from making that charge in court.
Still, before the trial, Kane publicly criticized Fina and District Attorney Williams, sparking a political crisis for Williams after six years in office. She helped drum up sustained public criticism of the district attorney for his decision to stand by Fina and other former prosecutors on his staff who had been implicated in what inevitably came to be called Porngate in Harrisburg. This summer, Fina, after years as a federal, state and city prosecutor, quit Williams' staff.
While Kane and Fina battled, the Attorney General's Office has been in turmoil. Kane has gone through a string of spokesmen and top aides. High-profile cases have unraveled, a sullen staff has had to endure multiple investigations, and ex-prosecutors and supervisors have filed a blizzard of lawsuits against Kane. So far, taxpayers have shelled out nearly $600,000 to cover expenses settling or fighting those suits.
During her trial, no fewer than five former or current Kane aides provided damaging testimony against her. One, David Peifer, the office's head of special investigations, testified under a grant of immunity from prosecution, as did Morrow.
In the spring, though, Kane finally bowed to the political realities: a depleted campaign fund, $1.6 million owed to her husband (whom she is divorcing) from her last race, and negatives in polling.
The onetime star among Pennsylvania Democrats, the woman who pundits had said was destined for the U.S. Senate or even higher office, announced that she would not seek reelection.
She pledged to fight on in court, though. As Wolf, a fellow Democrat, and others pushed for her to step down, she stayed on - even after the state Supreme Court suspended her law license after she was criminally charged.
"A resignation would be an admission of guilt, and I'm not guilty," Kane said.
Prosecutor Henry had a different view. After the verdict, she said, "There are great men and women that work in the Office of Attorney General - great prosecutors, great agents, great support staff. They have had to suffer through what this defendant has done, not just to them, but to the citizens of this commonwealth. I am glad that the end is finally in sight."