Kathleen Gilbert

News

Grand jury’s secret agreement re: Phill Kline hearing called “political corruption at its worst”

Kathleen Gilbert

TOPEKA, Kansas, July 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – New details emerged concerning a secret agreement to stifle evidence made between a grand jury and Planned Parenthood during its Kansas trial against a former attorney general, revealing strong evidence that the integrity of the grand jury process had been irrevocably corrupted.

The agreement surfaced during the second day of hearings in the ethics case against former Attorney General and Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline, who led a one-man fight against alleged illegal activities by Planned Parenthood and late-term abortionist George Tiller before being counter-sued.

Planned Parenthood’s agreement with the grand jury involved a protective order prohibiting any evidence supplied by Planned Parenthood from being used to prosecute it.

Steve Maxwell, who worked for Kline in both his offices, told the three-member panel overseeing Kline’s ethics trial that he was “stunned and horrified” to learn of the agreement, which had been kept under wraps.

“Planned Parenthood was supposed to be under investigation by this grand jury for alleged criminal activity. It is incomprehensible that they would enter into an agreement with the object of their investigation that would essentially make it impossible for anyone to prosecute. This isn’t just wrong, it’s political corruption at its worst,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

“In the end Planned Parenthood was the one controlling and subverting that grand jury with the help of political collaborators inside the grand jury process. Those collaborators are the ones who should be held accountable for this gross miscarriage of justice.”

The agreement with Planned Parenthood was made by grand jury foreperson Stephanie Hensel, who filed the ethics complaint against Kline, and Richard Merker, a special prosecutor assigned to the grand jury. Maxwell testified that the other grand jurors did not even know about the agreement until he told them about it.

Grand jury transcripts read in court indicated that at least two jurors opposed the agreement, which would have allowed Planned Parenthood to provide documents of its choosing to the grand jury instead of complying with the one subpoena that had been issued. Planned Parenthood never complied with the subpoena.

In the end, back-room negotiations with Planned Parenthood by Merker and Hensel and other “bizarre behavior” made it impossible to proceed and the grand jury failed to indict Planned Parenthood, Operation Rescue reports.

Testimony in yesterday’s hearing indicated that the grand jury was divided and “dysfunctional,” and Maxwell testified that it had been taken over by “anti-Kline” individuals.

The grand jury, Operation Rescue notes, served in the months following a vicious campaign waged by Kline’s political opponents that created a hostile environment for Kline in Johnson County that continues even today.

In addition, grand jury transcripts read during the hearing indicated that Hansel overstated claims of things said by Kline in her complaint against him.

Maxwell and Kline insist that they never attempted to mislead the grand jury. Maxwell admitted that he “made mistakes” in not fully explaining Kansas laws, but that he never made any attempt to deceive them.

“We weren’t trying to pull any punches,” said Kline. “We’re trying to be straight up and honest with what we had.”

The grand jury was convened via a citizen petition circulated by Operation Rescue and a coalition of pro-life groups that alleged Planned Parenthood had conducted illegal late-term abortions and failed to report child sexual abuse. Eventually, Kline charged Planned Parenthood with 107 criminal counts without the grand jury. That case remains active and progressing through the court system.

Kline’s ethics hearing is expected to wrap up on Friday. If the panel determines that Kline violated ethics rules in his investigations of Planned Parenthood and other Kansas abortion businesses, it will make a recommendation to the Kansas Supreme Court who will determine what disciplinary action will be taken.

“There can be no doubt that this ethics case is politically motivated,” said Newman. “It’s hard for people who are not in Kansas to fully understand the hostile and corrupt political environment that Kline’s political enemies created here that made him a whipping boy for their pro-abortion agenda.”

For more information on the agreement, read Kline’s motion to enforce the lone subpoena issued by the grand jury.

See related story, The Phill Kline saga: Planned Parenthood protected, children forgotten, the prosecutor prosecuted and several other LifeSiteNews stories on the last series of hearings regarding Phill Kline (bottom of on line report)

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