There is a class of folks who remain hyper supportive of Kathleen Kane, and who will argue vehemently with opposition to defend Kane, they will argue (till blue in the face) that this whole thing was a “set-up.” I find this outlook deeply disturbing as it has a level of obvious and oblivious cognitive dissonance, or a stubborn stupid unwillingness to embrace the facts that led to a jury of her peers convicting her of a felony offense and very other – some may argue treasonous – crimes. If one is to take a look at the nature of the crime Kane committed, it seethes with that same plastic gilded ego-centric mentality that she so vigorously employs to either win elections or to defend herself of these crimes. Kane is convicted and sentenced to jail as a result of vindictive and retaliatory schemes motivated by her own personal vanity. She leaked grand jury material to save her own reputation, and then lied about it to save her own reputation.
Kane’s peer group has largely distanced themselves from her after her disbarment. Media that once praised Kane now publishes editorials remarking on how Kane is an unskilled lawyer who rose to fame because of her access to money and political connections with the Clintons. Given her clear historical infatuation with reading about her own self in the press, I know these must be painful stories to read. Her adoring press has done a one eighty degree about face and now spews disdainful insults that seethe with resentment.
When the grand jury material was leaked that she “shut down” the Ali investigation, she declared, “This is war.” It was the Kathleen Kane show. There was no altruism. Kane was not looking out for the little guy as many might like to think. As the Attorney General, she sat on the parole board for major crimes. She was known to vote “no” more than “yes” with a higher frequency than any member of the board, including conservative candidates like the state warden. She was hard charging, and she demanded some of the highest sentences, for sometimes senseless crimes like non-violent drug offenses. She was the ice queen, and she was the boss. The boss that never showed up to work, and whose staff and attorneys both feared and hated her overwhelmingly so. She was not a person to be liked, and her breaking the law was the delicious icing on the cake because it allowed for all her unethical misdeeds to tidily be punished alongside her illegal misdeeds. She was her own undoing, and a mixture of karma and illegal acts landed her in jail.
But remember that there was a day when God forbid the media issue a word of criticism about Pennsylvania’s next golden girl, she was after all being rumored to be thinking about possibly running for President. Back in those days, she was untouchable. Later in her career she would desperately need her straggling supporters, but in those days she was at the height of her career and arrogantly self-conscious of the fame that accompanied that. She could never really put her ego aside to truly think about the voters, the voters were second place the minute after they gave her the PRIVILEDGE of electing her to office.
If you look at their inauguration photos, there is a distinctly evilly eerie similarity between Kane and Shapiro. Both Shapiro and Kane are bathing in the limelight, smiling like they just won the lottery or got crowned as a monarch. There is superficiality, a particular painful and narcissistic glibness pervading both – as if they are so obsessed with their ownselves that they do not understand the importance of the office and the entailing duties that they hold. In contrast, view the inauguration photos of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner: You are met with someone with a deadpan serious face, someone who is absolutely stoic and the burden of responsibility entailed in the oath he is taking is weighing heavily on his mind. Shapiro, instead, is smiling like a beauty queen in a bathing suit competition.
Recently the Supreme Court issued a denial of Kathleen Kane’s appeal to have her convictions tossed. The appeal was fraught with the most narcissistic sentiments of her very own self-importance and arduous technical legal bullshit I will ever read. Thankfully the Supreme Court Judges did not engage, but you can tell from the cumbersome length of their opinion that Kane filed one pain in the ass of an appeal, and they sought to make their response airtight. Kane was famous for her distractive red herrings and retaliation. She does both in her appeal, throwing Judges under the bus, pointing her spinster boney accusing finger at pornography (unrelated to the evidence that convicted her) and generally still living on that false idealization of grandeur, that narcissistic tendency that led her to leak the grand jury material in the first place.
Most compelling to me, was a single issue that the opining judge Alloy-Demchick paid little attention to: Jerome Mondesire. Criminal cases are waged and prosecutors are made as a result of victims. So were Kathleen Kane’s crimes victimless? Absolutely not. The voters of Pennsylvania are the victims of Kane, but the most deplorably sad victim of Kane was Jerome Mondesire.
When Kane leaked that grand jury material, it included information of an investigation into Mondesire. Mondesire was an upstanding member of the Pennsylvania political community. He was a political pundit. He was making regular appearances in Philadelphia media. He was head of the NAACP and a thriving black activist in the height of an era where Philadelphia was placing their hopes (only to have them dashed) in the first black District Attorney Seth Williams. Mondesire was a big wig. He had never been arrested before. He had been tied into an investigation which did not really involve him at all, but was centered around the CUES organization president, a woman who was getting grant monies from the government, and spending them lavishly on herself.
Mondesire was engaged to be married, and he kept a rigorous work schedule. He was up at 5:30 a.m. every day, at the office by 7:00 a.m. and usually worked until 10:00 or 11:00 in the evening. He was in full throttle, and he was a hero to the minority community during the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement, and while Larry Krasner was still a private lawyers suing cops relentlessly for any misconduct he could find. Kane was also at the height of her popularity. You couldn’t open the Philadelphia Inquirer without reading about her. She absolutely loved the attention, she had a whole department catering to her image, working around the clock with the media so that the public could see how truly great she thought she was. It was under these conditions that the Philadelphia Inquierer article was released in 2014, and the article displayed the first negative image of Kathleen Kane. Kane was accused of dropping the Ali Investigation. It was a investigation of financial fraud whose heart and center were some high powered democrats.
Kane might be good at “sticking it” to corruption, but if you look at her short track record, you see a long line of republicans. She protected a party that was her own, it was in line with her selfishly motivated political ambitions. Josh Shapiro is far worse. Josh Shapiro doesn’t stick it to any man with money, power or influence, party lines don’t matter, republicans skate. Republican or democrat, if you have money to donate or can exert influence, you won’t be touched by Shapiro. Josh Shapiro sticks it only to the little guy. His office has been a sordid tale of extortion of minorities, drug addicted. The tactics he allows include the “drug-Playbook,” where addicts are given money and/or supplied with drugs in a sort of entrapment scheme.
Governor Tom Wolf is breathing down Shapiro’s neck. The opioid epidemic has been declared a statewide emergency. Shapiro is under plenty of pressure to reduce the death toll, which has consistently risen under his tenure. A bust of some minority here, or some minority there, and he can have a big press conference. He can play the Kathleen Kane card and say he is looking out for Pennsylvania, when we all clearly can see what’s going on, he is looking out for himself, looking out for what the news prints about his magnificent “future-president” self. Fuck the little guys in Pennsylvania, they do nothing to line the pockets of Shapiro.
The negative media attention caused by the leak of the Ali material and investigatory transcripts caused Kane to spin. She wasn’t really so into doing her job as she was about the money or fame. After the leak, she feigned some level of ethical concern while plotting her revenge. She took a step so far as to approach the Ali Grand Jury Judge and say “I want to address this in the media and put the public concerns to rest, can I please have an Order allowing me to breach some matters involving grand jury secrecy.” The judge gave her the order. Kane hired a very high powered lawyer in a passively aggressive threat that she might sue the press (official oppression), and her Deputy Attorney General scored her a meeting the following day with the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board, where she appeared looking smug and angry and her high powered lawyer in tow. It was a threat, not the least bit veiled.
She hired famed Richard Sprague for her defamation suit. And met with the Inquirer to rage about their portrayal of her in the press. The irony and hypocrisy of this meeting with the Inquirer would become rich, after a series of future events (orchestrated by Kane), where she attempted to look so indignant that nobody could possibly surmise she was guilty. It was a well thought out rouge to defraud the press and voters. She feigned shock, anger, appallation, outrage, pointing fingers and threatening lawsuits and criminal prosecution. She played the victim too, and she manipulated with a sociopathic level of skill. She pointed out that Fina (white) may be targeting some black democrats because he is racist. She cried foul and demanded an internal investigation.
Weeks later, after leaking the Mondesire grand jury information, an investigation that she claims Fina “shut down” (reality it was an expired statute of limitations), Kane is cool as a cucumber, poised and strutting around from press conference to press conference – taking credit for the work of others.
She is unconcerned with any internal investigation, she is exonerating the likely players of the leak (because she leaked it herself), and she appears to be talking about it openly (no judicial order to violate grand jury secrecy required, she got it in her mind that she was far more important than any pesky low level Judge…. She was a state actor, and pretty much famous if you look at the news). Her office, including the special agent and attorneys on the case are frightened and alarmed by the news of the Mondesire Grand Jury Leak. Two of them specifically approach her, quite nervously, to swear they didn’t leak it. “I’m not worried about it,” is her cavalier response. They were worried about catching their own criminal charges.
Bruce Beemer, her hulking and rotund first assistant attorney general at the time was also very visibly alarmed. He approached her encouraging an internal investigation, convinced that someone in the office leaked the Mondesire material, though not initially suspecting his boss. He was taken aback by her reaction, “Don’t worry about it, we have more important things to do.” She declined his advisement to open up an internal investigation, and that clearly rattled him. But Beemer was his jolly and easy going, not-going-to-rock-the-boat self. He dropped it. Fina, reading along, was also alarmed that the information was released.
Meanwhile, Jerome Mondesire had stopped going out, and he subsequently – shortly thereafter- passed out walking up the stairs and was hospitalized for a heart attack. He internalized the stress and embarrassment, a proud pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps black leader in the black community, who had never had an arrest or any sort of blemish on his reputation, but his after the leak, his supporters will tell you that he aged very rapidly. He was broken by the blow to his spotless reputation, and ashamed and shocked. The local media no longer wanted anything to do with him, his role as a political pundit vanished. The whispering about him tormented him, all of this over a crime that never saw a jury trial and that he was never even charged with.
His daughter Jennifer Mondesire, and attorney, also began to lose it. She was removed from court for losing her temper on several occasions. She was arrested for throwing coffee on a heckler outside of starbucks. She began to dress scantily, her relationship with her father withered. The entire ordeal had horrifying ripple effects for his entire family, and also the black community his leadership had inspired.
Kane was defiant and lied till the bitter end. A grand jury investigation into her ensued headed by Judge Carpenter. When Carpenter called Beemer, Beemer expressed relief at the grand jury investigation. He said, yes this is a great idea because it would be a conflict of interest if our own office criminally investigated itself. He took the news to his boss, who reacted not at all how he expected her to. Beemer thought Kane would be relieved at the news too. How naive he was! She demanded he file a motion, she demanded he give her all the information he knew. With as much ethical sensititivity she had handled the leak of the Ali material with, Beemer was shocked as to why she would ever oppose such an investigation. Kane had – she argued – been in Africa at the time the grand jury material was leaked.
Interestingly enough, while in Africa, Kane had neglected to sign over a power of attorney for wire tapping authority to Beemer (likely afraid she would be a subject to those wiretaps). She maximized the press while in Africa on her do-gooder work, but managed to stay at a five star Hyatt despite her sweet looking pictures with starving children in shelters. It made front page news across Pennsylvania, and meanwhile, her evil plot of ruining Fina had come into fruition. The Mondesire news was all over Philadelphia. Seth Williams, former Philadelphia District Attorney, had hired Fina. Even Seth (who is notoriously forgiving thug himself) took a step back, and read the papers, and said “Fina, I’m not sure I can carry you through this.” Fina tendered his resignation shortly thereafter. When Kane returned from her luxurious Safari, she stepped immediately back into the press with her tan face and feigned horror. By that time the grand jury was already about to be up and running.
Risa Vetri Ferman (still District Attorney of Montgomery County back then) was preparing. Judge Carpenter had met with Fina and Beemer. Nobody initially expected Kane, who would have? But then Josh Morrow, and a staff member Ms. Sheib at the OAG had pinpointed Kane. Josh Morrow had been the responsible party for delivering Kane’s leaked material, and Sheib had typed the transcripts. The conclusion was hard for Beemer to stomach. He purportedly went from obese to morbidly obese in a few short weeks. He was pale according to accounts, and unusually short tempered. There was something weighing on his mind. To some extent he even tried to defend Kane.
The Grand Jury probed “There were secrecy oaths, you signed them the day you took office. Did you not?” Kane denied ever signing anything. Beemer said he signed so many of them he couldn’t quite remember, indeed he had signed two. He said he signed the second because he couldn’t remember signing the first. But as the facts came out, Beemer drew the same conclusions that the criminal jury that convicted Kane eventually drew. He was disheartened certainly, but slowly abandoned his loyalty.
Kane grew increasingly paranoid. She began searching judicial emails and scouring her subordinates for information. At more than one occasion, she summoned Josh Morrow who had been her right hand in leaking the information. She said she wanted to have lunch to discuss things she didn’t want to say on the phone. “Meet me at 16th and Locust in Philly.” Morrow showed up, and a black SUV swept to the curb. Kane’s driver got out and opened the door. Morrow entered the car but there was no Kathleen Kane. They drove a block away to a mostly abandoned floor of a parking garage, and the driver exited and opened the door. Morrow climbed out – “Give me your phone, wallet and keys and everything on your person.” Morrow nervously complied, and then the driver searched him.
When Morrow met Kane at the Bellevue hotel moments later, Kane said “sorry for the new security protocol.” She pleaded with Morrow eventually, “please help me. Please help me.” But the help Kane needed was not something Morrow was comfortable with supplying. Kane wanted Morrow to lie for her, and the grand jury was closing in on her. With a hope and a prayer she assumed Morrow had lied, and likely would have altered her testimony had she known he had refused. By this point she was manic. She was not showing up for work, and sending emails from her .aol account using the hillary excuse that she didn’t get her government email on her phone. It was during the peak of this grand jury investigation, when the criminal allegations about Stacy Parks Miller were also being investigated. It was likely that Kane, under so much stress with the allegations and potential consequences levied against her, issued the order to her prosecutors “kill it as soon as it walks through the door.”
Through Parks Miller, Kathleen Kane also got to know Bruce Castor – a man who she would later appoint as her replacement. There is much speculation. A quiet sort of deal was reached behind closed doors. Castor was running for Montgomery County District Attorney. Had he won, he would have replaced Risa Vetri Ferman, the lead prosecutor investigating Kathleen Kane representing the commonwealth in the grand jury. It was a nod and a handshake, Castor was confident he would win (this was before the press learned about his role in Bill Cosby).
Castor, notoriously cocky and long winded, can spew a trail of bull shit like no other. It was a nod and a hand shake, Castor was likely searched to make sure he wasn’t wired before Kane agreed to it. Kane was defiant and, smirking and strutting and putting on an act for television cameras. She was icy cold to the very end. It was chilling to watch. Even when the state produced hard evidence of the crimes she was unwavering. But curiously enough, during the trial, she was not exactly defending her innocence. More prominently, she was pointing out the pornography. It had nothing really to do with anything, but trust me if you say the word porn in Pennsylvania government, it works effectively to distract the voters from the real issues at hand.
Shortly after the grand jury indictment had come down, Kathleen Kane appeared for what is likely the most awkward press conference I will ever see in my life. Her body language was just different. She wore the same white suit she wore at her inauguration where she was grinning like a Hollywood movie star, staring up at the ceiling and in a narcissistic heaven at all the attention.
Except at this press release that dress looked kind of wrinkled and tight fitting, and she walked with a sort of hesitation instead of a strut. To me that was the first day she actually became a criminal, because before that I had been a Kane supporter. I had voted for her. To me that jilted awkward, angry, attacking, overly defensive words struck a cord. All that glamour I saw before kind of just faded into some jerky and extremely awkward woman flashing pornography across a big screen in Harrisburg, pornography that really had nothing at all to do with what she was accused of. There was something so painful and lackluster and defiantly fake about it, it just gave me pause. She sounded guilty, her intonnation, body movements, changing caliber of her voice and nervously flittering eyes conveyed guilt. Everything about her was glib, phony and stank of guilt.
Mondesire died before the jury trial could begin. HIs engagement ended abruptly because he would not live long enough to see their wedding date in 2016. Those who know him say he died mostly because his heart was broken, for a proud black man who had crossed barriers and been a community leader, his reputation had been everything to him. He was proud of who he was, he had worked his entire life against the odds of discrimination and become a lawyer, an activist and a leader. Kane had managed to strip all that away from him. He was no longer invited to events, no longer asked to speak as a political pundit on radio or television, and his health gave out. They say he internalized the stress, he just went into a rapid decline, and the rumors followed him, whispers of impropriety. He was horrified, ashamed, embarrassed and ostracized, and then he died during that phase of his legacy.
So Kane went to trial after Mondesire was dead. She flitted in and out during the days long trial. She was laughing, giggling, whispering to her counsel, waving at the media like she was on a catwalk, and generally carrying on. I followed that trial as closely as I followed the Casey Anthony trial. I was riveted at how someone could convincingly scam me for so long, I was riveted about how convincing she was. I read all the transcripts on the Montgomery County Courthouse. I looked forward to the day she would testify, perhaps if she testified – I was thinking – then some of this would begin to make sense. Perhaps she could just explain all this away and become that super woman I through my support behind so readily years ago. But Kane never testified, and that’s who I wanted to hear from the most. I wanted to hear the story, maybe she would say something that I missed reading all the pleadings and transcripts. But there would be no testimony from Kane.
The jury was out, and people were riveted. I was riveted. Checking google news every five minutes compulsively. I had chalked her up in my head to be this giant who would make big changes in Pennsylvania. When she walked out in handcuffs my heart sank even further, I got angry. She still looked defiant, she still looked icey, and she still did not seem to be comprehending the level of disappointment she had inflicted on so many hopeful Pennsylvania voters. It was disgraceful to be the first woman democrat to hold that office and to take that opportunity of trust that voters gave her and discard it completely in pursuit of her own selfish political machinations.
The OAG would remain in turmoil after her reluctant departure. Her appointed second in command Bruce Castor became interim OAG for a while, and then he was removed by Governor Wolf and Senator Corman who replaced him with a more suitable Bruce Beemer. Josh Shapiro was in the height of campaign season then, but my spirits were dampened. All those lofty promises, I had heard them all before from Kathleen Kane. All that glitters is not gold. I was disheartened, disgusted really. Kathleen Kane had used Shapiro to campaign, Shapiro had sat on the Montgomery Board of Commissioners with Castor. I was cynical, and his miniature self with his over the top press conferences and big global promises smelled simply suspicious. Shapiro is different from Kathleen Kane, but he is no better. The both of them are cut from the same cloth. Shapiro molded his tenure from Kathleen Kane’s noting her mistakes. He promised things on the campaign trail, he said he would release the porn report, he promised reform and transparency. He’s really done nothing of the sort, the only thing he does well is manage the floor of public relations in the OAG office.
Kane belongs in jail, but the ego and the defiance has been so indoctrinated fully by her personality that it is now her reality. And that ego is bolstered by her few remaining straggling supporters, who bought into her “conspiracy set-up” defense. She is grinning in that mug shot like she expects to enter some sort of martyrdom. She is still image obsessed, and recalcitrant till the bitter end. She is probably thinking of her million-dollar post-prison book deal, or the fact that she still has the capacity to make front page news years after she was booted from office. She entered jail riding up in a truck grinning and laughing and putting on a show for the media, probably calculating that it would get under Kevin Steele’s skin (I bet it did too). But as she sits in jail this evening, he celebrates winning a national trial lawyer award due in part to his work on her case, and in part due to his work on the Cosby case.
Among the media were crowds of her supporters, though they were thin and quiet crowds. They were the kool aid drinkers who would be supportive of Kathleen Kane till the bitter end. They were the ones who believed in the fables she spun about how her incarceration was some manifestation of retaliation due to her investigating Corbin’s handling of the Sandusky case, exposing the pornography or exposing the catholic church. How novel and fantastic that would be if such were the case. Kane investigated Sandusky because she ran for office claiming that the Sandusky case was mishandled as part of her campaign stump sales pitch. Kane exposed the pornography after she was indicted. And Kane’s exposure of the diocese came on the heels of the grand juries in Massachusetts where Kane observed how famous and highly regarded a Boston prosecutor became after pursuing the case. The diocese problem in Pennsylvania was at an explosive apex, and something had to be done. Kane arrived at the right time, and was sure to capitalize and over-inflate her importance and role.
I hope she learns a little humility in jail, and likewise I hope that this sentence sent a message to corrupt prosecutors and judges across the state. One more corrupt and scandalous chapter in Pennsylvania political history is closed. (Maybe). Kane said in an exit interview that she wouldn’t be opposed to running again.