The Kathleen Kane story is a tragedy.
First a little-known prosecutor from Lackawanna County gets elected as the first woman and first Democrat to become Pennsylvania’s Attorney General.
She quickly became a rising star and was talked about for higher office.
However, that once promising political career has now crash landed.
The former state Attorney General was sentenced on Monday to 10 to 23 months in jail for illegally disclosing details from a grand jury investigation to embarrass a rival and lying about it under oath.
Kane, 50, had argued the loss of her career, law license and reputation was punishment enough. She had asked the judge to sentence her to probation or house arrest so she could be home to raise her two sons.
“I really don’t care what happens to me,” Kane said. “There is no more torture in the world than to watch your children suffer and know you had something to do with it.”
The Montgomery County judge, who also sentenced her to eight years of probation, said ego drove Kane to take down enemies and break the law.
Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy said Kane assumed an “off with your heads” mentality as she ran the state’s top law enforcement agency. The judge called Kane a political “neophyte” who failed to make the transition from campaigner to public servant after she took office.
“This case is about ego — the ego of a politician consumed with her image from Day One,” Demchick-Alloy said. “This case is about retaliation and revenge against perceived enemies who this defendant ... felt had embarrassed her in the press.”
Before the turmoil unfolded, Kane had made progress within the Attorney General’s office. She ramped up a child predator unit and questioned her predecessor’s handling of the Penn State sex assault case involving Jerry Sandusky.
She will be remembered for her investigation of pornography that she said was being traded on state computers by judges, lawyers and other public employees. Two state Supreme Court justices resigned amid the fallout.
Many will also remember her for refusing to file charges against African-American elected officials because she believed the investigations were tainted with racial bias.
Some believe Kane was targeted by her enemies for bucking the system. How much of that is true is uncertain. But what is clear is that she became her own worst enemy.