Pennsylvania court halts any action against attorney general
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A county prosecutor has been at least temporarily blocked from taking any action on a grand jury recommendation that state Attorney General Kathleen Kane be charged criminally in an investigation of alleged leaks of secret investigative material by her office.
The state Supreme Court took the action “until further order of the court,” Jim Koval, a court spokesman, said Thursday. Matters in the case against Kane are otherwise under seal, he said.
The revelation came a day after the high court released 80 pages of records showing that a grand jury last month had recommended that Kane be charged with perjury, false swearing, official oppression and obstruction. The case had been sent to the district attorney in Montgomery County to decide whether to file charges against Kane.
But the future of the case is in limbo while the court prepares to hear arguments in March on Kane’s challenge to the legality of the special prosecutor involved in the investigation of her office.
The Montgomery County district attorney, Risa Ferman, has not spoken publicly about the matter.
Kane, a Democrat, has not been charged. She has said that she did nothing wrong, although she also has acknowledged that her office provided records about a 2009 investigation by her Republican predecessors of the then-president of the Philadelphia NAACP to the Philadelphia Daily News.
The discovery that those records had become public motivated the May 29 appointment of special prosecutor Thomas Carluccio by Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter, who supervises the statewide grand jury in eastern Pennsylvania.
The existence of the investigation first became public in a Philadelphia Inquirer report in September.
However, the court did not acknowledge the investigation until Wednesday, when it released the records about the grand jury investigation in connection with Kane’s request to the Supreme Court to remove Carluccio.
Kane’s lawyers argue that Carpenter had no legal authority to appoint a special prosecutor and that he violated the separation of powers doctrine in the state constitution.