A Bucks County prosecutor who helped lead the prosecution of former Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane will become Pennsylvania's first woman deputy attorney general.
Attorney General-elect Josh Shapiro said Thursday that he had appointed Michelle Henry, currently first assistant district attorney in Bucks County, to the state post. She will be second-in-command to Shapiro.
"She is a prosecutor's prosecutor," Shapiro said. "She is tough as nails. She is ethical. She is smart."
Henry, 48, is a registered Republican. Shapiro is a Democrat and does not have experience working as a prosecutor.
Shapiro said he spent many hours with Henry discussing plans for the office and how they will work together. He called her "the exact right fit" for the job.
Henry is respected by fellow prosecutors and in 2014 became part of a team that investigated and prosecuted Kane. Kane was convicted in August of perjury and other crimes for leaking secret grand jury information and lying about it under oath. Henry delivered opening arguments and questioned many of the witnesses at Kane's trial in Montgomery County. A judge sentenced Kane in October to 10 to 23 months in prison.
While Shapiro said Thursday that considering only Henry's work on prosecuting Kane would do a disservice to her long career, the case gave her a "firsthand look at what had been going on in that office."
"I think she has an understanding of what reforms need to take place to move that office forward," he said.
Henry has been a prosecutor for more than 20 years, working on child abuse, murder, robbery, and drug cases. She also helped create the Children's Advocacy Center, a nonprofit agency that works with law enforcement to help children who have been physically or sexually abused.
She spent nearly two years as district attorney in Bucks County after she was appointed by the county's judges in 2008 to fill a vacancy. She opted not to run to keep the job, and has since served as first assistant.
In a news release, Henry said it was an honor to be appointed.
"You will not ever see a better prosecutor - with better judgment - than Michelle Henry," said Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub. "Bucks County's grievous loss is Pennsylvania's incredible gain."