Pennsylvania governor nominates replacement for convicted attorney general
By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on Thursday nominated the state’s inspector general to serve as interim attorney general until November’s election, temporarily replacing Kathleen Kane, who resigned the post earlier this week after her conviction for perjury.
Bruce Beemer, who previously served under Kane as first deputy in the attorney general’s office, will have to be confirmed by the state Senate.
Wolf said in a statement that he had already conferred with both Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate and expected a quick confirmation. Beemer would hold the job until a successor is elected in November for a four-year term, and then return to his role as inspector general.
Kane announced her resignation on Tuesday, a day after a jury convicted her of leaking sealed grand jury material to a news reporter in an effort to embarrass a political rival.
The move will likely end a brief stint as acting attorney general for Bruce Castor, whom Kane had hired as her second-in-command earlier this year.
In a statement, Castor said the governor was fulfilling his duties under the law.
“I will do all within my power to see that the office of attorney general is in the best possible shape for whenever the next attorney general arrives,” Castor said.
Castor, the former Montgomery County district attorney, made headlines earlier this year when he testified at a hearing for comedian Bill Cosby in his sexual assault case.
Castor said he had agreed not to prosecute Cosby if the entertainer testified in a civil case brought by his accuser. But a court ruled Castor’s claims were not enough to prevent the current district attorney from bringing charges.
Kane’s conviction, meanwhile, ended what had once been seen as a promising political career.
Prosecutors said Kane believed former state prosecutor Frank Fina was behind a 2014 newspaper article that said she had abandoned a corruption investigation into Philadelphia officials.
In an effort to take revenge, prosecutors said, Kane leaked sealed details about a separate investigation that Fina declined to pursue and then lied about having done so to a grand jury investigating the matter.
Kane had portrayed the charges as politically motivated, after she revealed lewd emails exchanged among judges, state officials and prosecutors that she discovered while re-examining the Jerry Sandusky molestation investigation.
Several officials, including two state Supreme Court justices, lost their jobs in the wake of the email scandal, dubbed “Porngate.”
(Reporting by Joseph Ax, editing by G Crosse)