Another Pa. conviction: no real surprise

Attorney General Kathleen Kane was convicted Monday and will resign Wednesday.

No surprise, right?

Kathleen Kane's conviction on nine criminal charges related to leaking grand jury data then lying under oath to cover the leak was widely expected.

It's what we're used to in Pennsylvania, a place where so many public officials swim around in ponds of perdition, sitting ducks awaiting dispatch.

Don't make me do the list. It's long, bipartisan and depressing, though Democrats such as Kane hold a big edge in recent years.

And, what? You're shocked the state's highest law enforcement officer would break the very laws she was elected and sworn to uphold?

Heck, Kane's not even the first state attorney general to do so.

Republican AG Ernie Preate went to prison in 1995 for mail fraud involving campaign funds.

He, like Kane, is from Scranton. Draw your own conclusions.

But our wrongdoing is statewide and touches, just recently, those serving or formerly serving as mayors, lawmakers, judges, state treasurers and in Congress.

The charges, pleas and convictions just keep coming.

So Kane's saga, while twisted, near-Nixonian and with qualities unique to her, is more common than not.

And, yeah, there are those who note the underlying issue - leaking grand jury information - happens all the time.

Others did it without investigation, including during the investigation of Kane.

Why was she targeted?

Ah, but an others-do-it defense is not unlike the guy who gets a speeding ticket and complains that everybody speeds. He still was speeding.

And even if Kane was singled out, not everybody commits perjury, which, according to a jury of her so-called peers, she did.

As for now, her (or her legal team's) decision to offer no defense at trial and then resign after losing at trial seems antithetical to her pledge to fight the "old boy's network" out to get her since she found their porn emails.

(Speaking of which, think former state Supreme Court Justices Seamus McCaffery and J. Michael Eakin, forced to resign in the porn flap, are toasting Kane's verdict?)

But the no-defense and resignation seem aimed at future appeals.

Having been denied, pre-trial, a chance to present a case that she was prosecuted for outing other prosecutors and judges who traded porn on public time and computers she now can argue her trial was unfair.

And her quick resignation sends a message to the court that implies a measure of remorse, responsibility and a semblance of respect for the system.

That's likely an effort to keep her out of prison, or lessen any sentence.

Her fall has been as steep as her rise, although it's taken longer.

After winning election in 2012 as the state's first Democratic and first woman AG, she made national news advocating gun control and gay marriage and was touted as a future governor or U.S. Senator.

When MSNBC's Chris Matthews interviewed her on "Hardball," he made reference to her future and (head-shakingly in retrospect) even the presidency.

But then she shut down a sting case and touched off a "war" (her word) with fellow prosecutors that led to the leak and the lies she now stands guilty of.

So, pending outcomes of appeals, she's in the books, part of our long litany of public convicts and, due to the future she once had, high up on the list.

And to think it all started with Jerry Sandusky. And Kane's promise to probe the state's handling of his case, a probe that found nothing but instead unearthed all that porn and all that followed - including another Pa. conviction.


baerj@phillynews.com

Blog: ph.ly/BaerGrowls

Columns: ph.ly/JohnBaer