Lawyer for Kathleen Kane wants DUI charge dismissed, says sobriety test was ‘fishing expedition’

SCRANTON, Pa. — The former Pennsylvania chief law enforcement officer’s attorney argues that a drunk-driving case against her should be dismissed because prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence.

The (Scranton) Times-Tribune reports that defense attorney Jason Mattioli is also trying to block prosecutors from providing results of a field sobriety test by former Attorney General Kathleen Kane. He also wants to block a video allegedly showing her drinking before her arrest and testifying that she refuses to undergo a blood alcohol test.

Kane, 56, the first woman and first Democrat elected the state’s attorney general, is awaiting trial in Lackawanna County Court for drink driving and negligent driving related to a minor accident March 12 in Scranton. Kane has denied that she was drunk and claims the accident happened because she made a wide turn to avoid a snow bank and slipped on the ice.

The motions come three months after a district judge found sufficient evidence to refer the case to the district court — a ruling Mattioli is appealing — and echo many of the arguments he made at the July hearing.

The arresting officer said he smelled alcohol from the car, which the defense said was from another person in the vehicle, but did not notice any alcohol from her. The defense also cites testimony from seven other law enforcement officers, six of whom said they did not smell alcohol or see any signs of poisoning from Kane.

Mattioli said the on-site sobriety test was an unwarranted “fish expedition” and established protocols were not followed. He also said his client’s refusal to undergo a blood test should also be ruled out because she was not informed of the legal ramifications of such a refusal.

Kane, who was in jail for leaking and lying about secret investigation files, admitted in May that she violated her probation when she was arrested on DUI charges. She was sentenced to between two months and a year, but received credit for time served and was scheduled to be discharged straight to an inpatient alcohol treatment center.

Once a rising star in Pennsylvania politics, Kane resigned as attorney general after being convicted of perjury, obstruction and other charges in 2016 for disclosing grand jury material to embarrass a rival prosecutor. She served eight months of a 10- to 23-month sentence before being released in 2019.


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