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Embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Resigns After Perjury Conviction

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane outside the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. Kane resigned a day after she was convicted on charges of  perjury and obstruction of justice.
Jessica Griffin

A day after she was convicted of perjury and other offenses, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, once considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, announced her resignation, effective at the end of the workday Wednesday.

In a statement, Kane said Tuesday, "I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days."

On Monday, Kane was convicted on all nine counts — including perjury, obstruction and official oppression — in connection with a complicated case in which she leaked grand jury information about an investigation in retaliation against a political rival and then lied about it under oath. Kane is set to be sentenced in October.

Shortly after news of Kane's conviction Monday, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf called on Kane to resign. In a statement today, Wolf said, "Her decision to resign is the right one, and will allow the people of Pennsylvania to finally move on from this situation."

Kane's conviction and subsequent resignation represents a dramatic turn of fortune for the 50-year-old former county prosecutor who was the first woman and first Democrat elected as attorney general in Pennsylvania. She was elected by a landslide four years ago after promising to shake up the status quo.

Kane has argued that the allegations against her were part of a high-stakes political feud involving charges that past prosecutors had mishandled the Jerry Sandusky molestation case. Sandusky is the former Penn State assistant football coach who was convicted in 2012 of molesting boys.

Kane contends that when she investigated the case, she uncovered a trove of government email accounts in which high-level state officials traded pornography and bigoted jokes about women and minorities. However, the judge in her perjury trial did not allow the jury to hear about the email scandal.

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Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.
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