Pennsylvania's insufferably long and deeply disturbing melodrama, starring beleaguered Attorney General Kathleen Kane as she flailed about with self-inflicted wounds, is finally drawing to a close with her conviction and expected resignation.
On Monday, a Montgomery County jury found her guilty on all counts involving a grand jury leak designed to embarrass an enemy. This is a victory for justice in a state where there has been too little.
Kane, who was endorsed by the Inquirer in her 2012 election, wisely ended her revenge tragedy by taking the obvious next step of announcing she would step down Wednesday rather than wait for her sentencing in October.
Instead of getting an attorney general who had promised to turn the stodgy office on its head, Pennsylvania got a despot more intent on misusing the extraordinary powers granted to the state's chief law enforcement officer to reward friends and punish enemies.
Jurors quickly came to a similar conclusion. They took only four and a half hours Monday to decide Kane orchestrated a leak of secret grand-jury testimony to undermine former state prosecutor Frank Fina, and then lied about it. Kane even lied about signing a document swearing that she wouldn't leak confidential information about a failed investigation that occurred under Fina's watch.
Kane blamed Fina for damning stories published in the Inquirer in March 2014, which detailed how she squashed an investigation begun by her Republican predecessor, Tom Corbett, of fellow Democrats who took unreported cash payments from an undercover informant.
After she dropped the cases, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams successfully prosecuted five of the targets. Kane also derailed an investigation involving two powerful political figures, one of whom gave $25,000 to her 2012 election campaign.
Kane used her discovery of a disgusting chain of racist, sexist, and homophobic emails, which had been traded among state officials all the way to the Supreme Court, as a tool to make her enemies look bad. She derailed the investigation of a very serious matter by using the email scandal to cast herself as a victim of an "old boys" network.
If Kane is a victim of anything, it is her own misguided understanding of her role as a public official. Her actions revealed the flawed character of a person who didn't care that justice belongs to the people. Kane's victims are the people of Pennsylvania, who were denied an advocate in Harrisburg who was supposed to act in their best interests.
Shed no tears for Kane. Her manipulation of the Attorney General's Office only added to the belief of many that government, particularly law enforcement, too often doesn't work for the people. This conviction does not cleanse that stain from Pennsylvania's justice system, but it is a start in restoring trust to an area that needs lots of work.