HARRISBURG

- Attorney General Kathleen Kane lost a challenge in the state's highest court yesterday over an investigation that recommended she be charged criminally in the leaks of secret material.

The state Supreme Court ruled that a county judge outside Philadelphia had the authority to appoint a special prosecutor to look into grand-jury leaks tied to the state Attorney General's Office.

Kane had argued that special prosecutor Thomas Carluccio's appointment was unlawful and sought to repress the grand-jury report that suggested charges against her.

Carluccio oversaw a grand jury that recommended Kane be charged with perjury, obstruction, false swearing and official oppression. The decision on whether to charge her rests with Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

"Although we recognize that there are legitimate concerns arising out of a judicial appointment of a special prosecutor, we follow the approach of the United States Supreme Court and the many other jurisdictions which have found such appointments proper as an essential means to vindicate the court's own authority," Chief Justice Thomas Saylor wrote in the main opinion.