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What's behind Kane's announcement?

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Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

HARRISBURG

Attorney General Kathleen Kane finally is explaining why it has taken a year to investigate why Gov. Tom Corbett took so long investigating Jerry Sandusky. And she's generating much buzz in the process.

Sandusky is the convicted child molester, a once revered Penn State assistant football coach and founder of a charity for kids. He was arrested in November 2011, 11 months after Corbett, a Republican, was elected governor.

The investigation began in March 2009 while Corbett was attorney general. Sandusky was convicted of 45 of 48 counts in 2012 under former Attorney General Linda Kelly, Corbett's appointed successor.

Last week, Kane issued a statement explaining why her investigation is taking so long.

Until last fall, Kane believed internal emails for the relevant time period had been permanently removed and were unrecoverable. But, she revealed, “We have developed a recovery process that is ongoing.”

She cited other factors contributing to delay, including judicial approval for releasing secret documents and giving individuals in the report the opportunity to comment.

There are two ways to view Kane's comments:

• she has come up with nothing and is in a bind on timing release of a stink bomb

• she's onto something red hot after recovering apparently deleted emails, maybe enough to rock Pennsylvania's political world.

As a candidate, Kane rode a wave of public skepticism about how Sandusky's case was handled. To the Penn State Nation, something didn't smell right about such a long investigation to get a child molester off the streets with a gubernatorial election sandwiched in between. Corbett, who is seeking re-election in November, says he acted properly and would never have delayed the probe for politics.

In April 2013, Kane took the unusual legal step of filing sealed papers asking the Supreme Court to remove Judge Barry Feudale as the grand jury judge for his emails to a former top Corbett prosecutor denigrating Kelly and labeling Kane's probe “political,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The prosecutor Feudale was emailing, Frank Fina, was a key figure in several Corbett investigations including Sandusky.

Is that connected?

Feudale was removed. One might conclude that cleared the way for key moves by Kane in the Corbett/Sandusky probe.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter (717-787-1405 or bbumsted@tribweb.com).

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