The indictment of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane should have little effect on the prosecution of former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed, according to legal observers.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman on Aug. 6 announced the indictment of Kane on charges of obstruction of justice, lying to a grand jury and leaking confidential grand jury information.
"Kane personally orchestrated the illegal disclosure of confidential investigative information to the media and subsequently engaged in criminal acts designed to conceal and cover-up her crimes," Ferman said in a statement.
Kane, who was formally arraigned over the weekend, has scheduled a press conference for Aug. 12.
"Attorney General Kane's situation will have zero impact upon the prosecution of Harrisburg's mayor," said Anthony Sabino, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer in Mineola, N.Y., and St. John's University law professor. "Like any well-run institution, the Pennsylvania AG's office is bigger than one person, and this and other cases will continue under Kane's staff, full speed ahead."
Reed, Harrisburg's mayor from 1982 to 2009, was arrested July 14 on 17 charges and nearly 500 counts related to use of municipal bond proceeds and public money when he was in office while the capital city's finances plummeted toward insolvency.
David Fiorenza, a Villanova School of Business professor and former chief financial officer of Radnor Township, Pa., said no shortage of qualified candidates exists should Kane resign.
"Harrisburg and most of the counties in the southeast portion of Pennsylvania are well equipped to lead the state in the next 10 years if they aspire, and some do, to attorney general," he said. "The attorney general should have more emphasis on collecting any and all outstanding debts, taxes and accounts due to the commonwealth and place more focus on consumer protections for the residents of this state."