HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 16 (UPI) — The first woman and Democrat ever elected as Pennsylvania’s top law enforcement officer will resign Wednesday following her convictions on a number of criminal counts.
State Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced her departure from the office Tuesday, saying her resignation will take effect Wednesday.
“I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days,” she said in a brief statement.
Kane’s deputy, Bruce Castor, will replace his former boss as acting attorney general until a permanent successor is elected in November.
Monday, Kane was convicted on nine separate criminal counts stemming from allegations that she leaked confidential grand jury documents to plant a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer two years ago, which was highly critical of adversarial former state prosecutor Frank Fina.
Prosecutors say the attorney general then lied about her actions under oath in open court.
Kane, 50, faces a maximum sentence of 28 years in prison when she is sentenced Oct. 24, although it’s highly unlikely she will receive punishment that severe since she has no prior criminal record.
Her conviction followed multiple controversies surrounding Kane’s office in recent years — including her decision to shut down a government anti-corruption investigation in 2014 and a racy email scandal last year, dubbed “porngate” by some news outlets.
Under state law, Kane isn’t required to resign until the day she is sentenced but mounting political pressure may have persuaded her to depart quickly. Lawmakers made it clear Monday night that they would have her removed from office if she didn’t step down immediately.
“What has transpired with Attorney General Kane is unfortunate,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom 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, who was elected in a landslide four years ago, supposedly leaked the 2014 story as retaliation for an Inquirer report months earlier that portrayed her negatively with regard to her decision to end the corruption investigation. Prosecutors said she blamed Fina for that story.
Those accusations of revenge compelled judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy to warn Kane at the conclusion of her trial Monday to refrain from any further attempts at revenge.
“There is to be absolutely no retaliation of any kind against any witness in this case, either by your own devices, from your own mouth or your hand, or directing anybody to do anything,” Demchick-Alloy said. “Is that clear, Ms. Kane?”
“Yes it is, your honor,” Kane replied.
Video: ABC News