Kathleen Gilbert

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Obama admin drops charges against pro-lifer

Kathleen Gilbert
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DENVER, March 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Federal charges have been dropped against a pro-lifer from Denver, Colo., who was accused by the Obama administration of illegally “obstructing” women on their way into a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic reportedly because customers stopping their cars to receive his literature blocked the driveway.

On Thursday Thomas More Society attorneys announced that they secured an agreement from the U.S. Attorney General’s office to dismiss all of the civil charges pending against Kenneth Scott, who had been accused of physically obstructing clients and employees of the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains abortion facility.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s office filed suit last year in Denver’s federal district court, charging Scott with ten separate violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, asking the court to assess a $10,000 civil fine and an injunction keeping him 25 feet away from the abortion facility. The original lawsuit also charged Scott’s wife Jo Ann, who agreed to pay $750 each to two women to settle her end of the suit.

The Thomas More Society, which represented Mr. Scott, noted on its website that “Holder’s theory is that Ken is ‘obstructing’ other traffic when women needing help stop their cars to speak with and receive literature from Ken.”

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Federal officials dropped the suit after a January ruling by United States District Judge Philip Brimmer, who denied the federal government’s bid for a preliminary injunction, saying that the government had failed to prove it was reasonably likely to prevail at trial.

The settlement included an agreement by defendants not to seek remuneration for legal costs.

According to an AP report, Peter Breen, executive director & legal counsel of the Thomas More Society, said that Scott “absolutely” plans to continue his sidewalk counseling.

“This is a monumental vindication of the free speech rights of those who offer assistance at the nation’s abortion clinics,” said Breen in a press release Thursday. Breen noted that the charges against Scott, “like a flurry of other charges the Justice Department recently has brought against pro-lifers all over the country, were fundamentally flawed and repugnant to the United States Constitution.”

Another victim of Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act charges, Mary Susan Pine, will be returning to court in Florida after the administration offered a one-sentence appeal to a federal judge’s dismissal of a case deemed extraordinarily lacking in basis.

After considering the total lack of evidence brought by federal officials, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp went so far as to ponder the point of the lawsuit.

“The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government and the [Presidential Women’s Center], which began well before the date of the incident at issue, to quell Ms. Pine’s activities rather than to vindicate the rights of those allegedly aggrieved by Ms. Pine’s conduct,” he wrote.

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