HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Attorney General Kathleen Kane has retained a lawyer to look into disciplinary matters for her, the lawyer said Monday as her supporters mobilized against perceived efforts to force her out of office as she fights criminal charges.
Neither the lawyer, James Mundy, of Scranton, nor Kane would say whether the state Supreme Court has notified her that it is moving down a fast-track process that could result in the suspension of her law license.
Court officials declined to comment and said they are required to keep the existence of disciplinary cases confidential.
Kane, the first Democrat and first woman elected attorney general of Pennsylvania, was charged Aug. 6 by Montgomery County authorities with leaking information protected by secrecy laws to a Philadelphia newspaper and lying about it under oath.
Her arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 14. She has said she did nothing wrong.
Mundy, who once chaired the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, said any disciplinary action against Kane would amount to an end-run around constitutional provisions in Pennsylvania for removing an elected official from office.
Mundy also said he had never heard of the courts suspending an attorney's license before a conviction.
The state constitution requires the attorney general to be a member of the bar, but court officials say suspending Kane's law license would not remove her from office. If Kane's law license is suspended, she potentially could still exert influence over the office, even without the ability to act as a lawyer. For instance, she might be able hire and fire and retain the perk of traveling with a security detail.
Meanwhile, Kane's supporters are organizing a Sept. 10 rally at the Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg. In a Facebook page advertising it, supporters express concern that state officials, including state Supreme Court justices, are trying to force Kane from office.
A citizen activist who filed a complaint with the disciplinary board regarding Kane received a notice dated Aug. 18 that it had been assigned to a lawyer in its Philadelphia office. Gene Stilp wants the board to force her to resign as Pennsylvania's attorney general.
The disciplinary board's normal course of action on a complaint can take more than a year, lawyers say. Punishments can include disbarment.
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