Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane made another bid Wednesday to end the looming criminal trial against her, arguing that she was unfairly targeted for a selective and vindictive prosecution.
In court filings, Kane's lawyers contended that her political rivals launched the criminal investigation into her alleged grand jury leak in a bid to stop her from releasing embarrassing information about them - including their exchange of racist and pornographic emails on state computers.
"Although there have been leaks of grand jury information in other recent, high-profile cases, only Attorney General Kane has been prosecuted," they wrote in the motion, filed in Montgomery County Court.
Kane faces an August trial on perjury and other charges for allegedly leaking secret grand jury information to a Daily News reporter and later lying about it under oath. She has pleaded not guilty.
The leak involved a 2009 investigation into former Philadelphia NAACP president J. Whyatt Mondesire led by Frank G. Fina, a former ranking prosecutor for the Attorney General's Office. Mondesire, who died in October, was never charged.
Prosecutors said Kane was motivated in 2014 to leak the grand jury material after the Inquirer reported that she had shut down a corruption investigation, supervised by Fina, that targeted Democratic officeholders from Philadelphia.
Kane argued in Wednesday's filings that Fina and E. Marc Costanzo, another state prosecutor, asked Montgomery County Judge William R. Carpenter to launch the investigation into the Mondesire leak because they "had a personal basis for antagonism" against Kane.
"We are certainly feeling like a couple of 10-point bucks in the first week of deer season lately," Fina told Carpenter during an in-chambers meeting in May 2014, according to a transcript attached to Kane's court filing.
Fina also told Carpenter during that meeting that he knew Kane was looking at his old emails. A court order later led to the release of emails he, Costanzo, and other state employees sent or received that included racist and pornographic material.
Carpenter oversaw the grand jury investigation into the leak, which led to the charges Kane faces.
Kane's lawyers contend other leaks didn't get the same scrutiny, including the grand jury investigation into former Pennsylvania State University football coach Jerry Sandusky. (That case is also part of the feud between Fina, who led the investigation, and Kane, who campaigned in 2012 on a promise to review it.)
"Leaks of grand jury information are not uncommon; neither are disclosures of other confidential information about criminal investigations," her attorneys wrote. "However, prosecutions for these leaks or disclosures are extraordinary."
While rare, there have been other investigations into leaks of grand jury material.
In 2009, a special prosecutor attempted to find the source of leaks from a Dauphin County grand jury investigating Scranton-area businessman Louis DeNaples. And in 2007, Judge Barry Feudale jailed a suspect in a leak investigation, holding former state narcotics agent James Kolojejchick in contempt for sharing grand jury testimony with a reporter.
It was not clear when prosecutors would respond to the motions or when Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy might rule.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, who is leading the prosecution, has said that the case is straightforward, and that his office acted to charge Kane after receiving the grand jury report and conducting a separate investigation.
Kane, a Democrat, is in the final year of her tenure. She decided not to seek a second term.