Pennsylvania AG: Charges tied to porn emails

Listen
 Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane speaks during a news conference, Wednesday at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane speaks during a news conference, Wednesday at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane refused to take questions after addressing reporters for the first time since she was criminally charged for allegedly concealing her efforts to embarrass her critics by dredging up secret investigative material, sharing it with a reporter, and lying about it under oath.

Instead, Kane read a prepared statement Wednesday during a much-anticipated news conference.

She said her critics remain shielded due to a grand jury protective order, and she called upon Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter to lift that order and allow the release of inappropriate office emails that she said will “tell the whole story.”

“These individuals believe that they are on the precipice of their ultimate goal: the burial, the death and burial of this email chain and their involvement in it forever,” Kane said.

Kane’s office recovered raunchy emails last year in the course of reviewing another case. The messages included sexually explicit and racially insensitive photos and jokes exchanged under Gov. Tom Corbett’s tenure as attorney general.

After Kane disclosed the names of eight current or former state employees who sent or received the messages, five people implicated in the scandal lost their jobs, including a state Supreme Court justice.

Kane did not explain Wednesday what the emails have to do with criminal charges she faces.

Prosecutors allege that Kane roped employees and a reporter into a scheme of political revenge on her detractors, breaking grand jury secrecy rules and then lying about it under oath. Kane has said she is innocent and will fight the charges without relinquishing her office.

Earlier this week, Kane’s office told reporters she would take questions. Her spokesman said early Wednesday that she reneged on the advice of her defense lawyers.

Kane is fighting multiple calls for her resignation, including one from Gov. Tom Wolf, a fellow Democrat.

The state’s high court has received at least one request to suspend the attorney general’s law license. Without it, Kane could not stay in office.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.