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Criminal Charges Filed Against Top Prosecutor of Pennsylvania

We think of our prosecuting agents as detached, objective harbingers of justice. However, at the end of the day these agents of the state are humans, or even worse: humans engaged in political competition. Prosecutors are prone to the same biases and emotional-irrational thinking to which every other human is a slave, however when you combine these human flaws with political identification, an untenable situation develops.

Per the, Philadelphia Inquirer, Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane of Pennsylvania has been charged with, “perjury, obstruction, conspiracy, official oppression, and other offenses.” Many of the charges find their origin in a personal vendetta that Kane had against a top prosecutor of her predecessor (Frank Fina).

On March 16, 2014, The Inquirer published a story that Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane “perceived to be an attack on her personally and professionally. She became incensed at two former state prosecutors whom she believed had released the information used in the article,” which detailed an undercover sting operation that Kane had shut down.

In an e-mail with her media strategist, Kane wrote: “I will not allow them to discredit me or our office. . . . This is war.”

Much of this controversy centered around the decision of Kane to end an investigation (started by her predecessor, who happened to be a political opponent representing a different political party) for political reasons. When information surfaced in the press that Kane has abruptly ended this investigation, she became obsessed with exposing and punishing the person who leaked the information. The problem was that Kane did not know who leaked the information, but she centered her obsession on Fina.

To strike at Fina, Kane arranged for material about the years-old investigation to be given to a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News. The result was a front-page story that raised questions about Mondesire, but also quoted an internal office document in which an investigator complained that “criminal activity was just ignored” under Fina.

What did not help things was that once this political maneuver was exposed, she claimed that the case she closed was not winnable. The case was allowed to be prosecuted by a local prosecutor, Seth Williams, who succeeded. This only added another perceived enemy (both political and professional) to her imaginary list.

After Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams picked up the sting case, Kane said she wanted to make “Seth pay.”

Kane asked a political operative “to gather negative information on Seth Williams.” He declined.

When Kane could not gather information, she sought to play war with the press by exposing prosecutions by Mr. Williams that she believed were not handled correctly. She now had two boogeymen to obsess over and try to expose or punish.

Kane believed that releasing information about a former prosecutor’s handling of a long-shuttered case “would publicly embarrass the people whom she believed had publicly embarrassed her.”

The information related to the prosecution was confidential information and releasing this information to the press was also illegal. In a bit of irony, this is the exact behavior that Kane was accusing Fina of committing against the AG’s office. Again, this is illegal. Kane’s criminal behavior then ramped up a great deal as she attempted to obstruct the investigation against her both directly and indirectly. She allegedly lied to the grand jury to attempt to hide her wrongdoing, but also directed staff to obstruct the investigation against her

Kane gave a “direct order” to staff members not to cooperate with the grand jury and threatened them with termination: “If I get taken out of here in handcuffs, what do you think my last act will be?”

This is another sad lesson that has been told numerous times before. The policing, investigating, and prosecutorial arm of our government is often presented to the public as the objective defender of the law. Prosecutions are sold as the exposing and punishing of those who behave in ways that negatively affect our social groupings by committing acts we consider crimes. They are presented to us as the beacon of truth and justice protecting us from anarchy or being prey to powerful persons lacking societal morals who will violate our persons and property as they please. However, we once again learn that the criminal “justice” system is run by humans. Humans who are just as likely to engage in the very acts from which claim to protect us. Humans who are just as likely to lie, cheat, and steal to pursue their own selfish goals (even when those goals are based in misperceptions and misinterpretations of reality.