PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Although there have been political challenges to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s authority with a suspended law license, a new legal challenge has been filed in Allegheny County Court.
It’s a challenge that could affect other cases if successful.
Attorney Marc Daffner has asked the courts here to throw out the case of Dion McBride, charged by the attorney general with identity theft, conspiracy and theft by deception. He has yet to go to trial.
He and two others were charged in a scheme to fabricate Pennsylvania tax returns and apply for refunds by stealing the identities of prison inmates from across the country.
The reason for the motion: the Office of the Attorney General presides over the case even though Attorney General Kane’s law license has been revoked.
“Without an attorney general that’s licensed to practice law, it casts doubt over any prosecution maintained by that office,” said Daffner. “Our case is a non-violent fraud offense, but no matter what the crime is, I’d say there’s really no justification to ignore or abandon the rights of everybody in this Commonwealth to have an attorney general that loses his license to practice law.”
At a news conference Tuesday in Philadelphia, where Kane announced her appointment of a special prosecutor in a government email porn case, Kane did not take questions.
She has said she can maintain her administrative role as attorney general even without her law license.
And today she painted challenges of her power in political terms.
“To the few who challenge it, including some members of my own staff, I pose a simple three-pronged question: Are you a white male, are you or one of your buddies in this email network? Are you trying to get my job without the benefit of having to run for it or being chosen by the people of Pennsylvania?” she asked.
Meantime, the judge presiding over the McBride case has a status conference scheduled for Wednesday and may address just how this motion could affect that case.