The early-morning car accident that left Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane with a concussion last month occurred hours before she was scheduled to testify in a grand jury investigation into possible improper leaks by her office, according to people with knowledge of the case.
It was the second time this fall Kane canceled plans to take the stand, the sources said.
Kane was scheduled to appear that morning in a Montgomery County courtroom, where a special prosecutor is examining how confidential records about a 2009 investigation run by her Republican predecessors became public.
Her testimony has been rescheduled for later this month, the sources said. The grand jury expires within a few weeks, they said.
Renee Martin, Kane's spokeswoman, declined to discuss any matter related to the grand jury. She has said her office cannot even confirm or deny the existence of one.
She did say that Kane, 48, was recuperating and working from her home in Clarks Summit, about 10 miles north of Scranton, and that her doctors had forbidden her to travel. Martin said that she did not know when Kane was expected to return to work in Harrisburg but that the attorney general was connected with the office by computer and phone. She added: "It's not affecting how work is done here."
The Inquirer has reported that lawyer Thomas E. Carluccio is the special prosecutor for the grand jury sitting in Montgomery County. His appointment was authorized by Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille. In his position, Carluccio is examining an alleged leak to the Philadelphia Daily News about a 2009 grand jury inquiry into the finances of activist J. Whyatt Mondesire, former head of the Philadelphia NAACP.
Violating grand jury secrecy rules can be punished by up to six months in prison.
The Daily News story questioned whether Frank G. Fina and another ranking prosecutor in the Attorney General's Office had pursued the Mondesire probe aggressively. No charges were filed against Mondesire.
Fina has been locked in an increasingly bitter and public battle with Kane over how cases were handled.
As part of Carluccio's probe, his investigators have subpoenaed Kane and other officials on her staff.
Kane's first planned appearance was canceled because she had a scheduling conflict, the sources say. It was rescheduled for Oct. 21.
Just before 7 that morning, the SUV carrying Kane and her security detail hit an empty parked car in Dunmore, a small town near Scranton, according to a police report. The vehicle that was hit - a 1999 Jeep - had dents on one side when an Inquirer photographer took photos of it last week.
The two agents with Kane at the time were Patrick Reese and Robert Ruddy. Both had been Dunmore police officers before Kane hired them last year. Reese had been the police chief, Ruddy a veteran officer.
According to the police report, Ruddy was driving and Reese was in the front passenger seat.
The accident report by Dunmore police, released by Martin on Oct. 31, said the crash occurred when the driver of the SUV lost sight of the dark, rain-slicked road as his iPad slipped off the seat.
There was disagreement about whether Kane was wearing a seat belt.
The report said Kane and the men were wearing shoulder and seat belts. But Martin said Kane was not belted in and struck her head on impact. The cost of the damage to her car was estimated at $964, state records show.
None of the three was taken to a hospital by emergency medical personnel, according to the police report. Kane did go to the emergency room, and subsequently visited her doctor, Martin said.
Kane's office did not release information about the accident until The Inquirer asked about it 10 days after the crash.
Martin said the office didn't report the crash because it considered it a minor matter that did not affect the office's performance.
She said she also expected Dunmore police to issue the news. That didn't happen. Dunmore Police Chief Sal Marchese didn't return calls from The Inquirer. He told the Scranton Times-Tribune there was "no particular reason" for not issuing the news.
Martin said last week all the participants were recovering. "We thank everyone for their concerns," she said in a statement.