Phill Kline hearings get underway again over Planned Parenthood investigation
Topeka, KS, July 20, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline resumed the second part of his marathon ethics trial yesterday on charges he acted improperly during his investigations of Planned Parenthood and late-term abortionist George Tiller while serving as Attorney General and later as Johnson County District Attorney.
The first part of the hearings was held four months ago and dealt with the accusation that Kline misled the Kansas Supreme Court in his efforts to bring abortion violators to justice.
However, investigators from the Kansas Disciplinary Administrators office, which is prosecuting Kline, testified that they found no evidence that Kline acted improperly. Their investigative report was ignored and buried for two years while Disciplinary Administrator Stan Hazlett pursued what had been determined, by the Disciplinary Administrators office, to be unfounded charges against Kline.
Yesterday, testimony was heard in the second allegation against Kline that he lied to the grand jury investigating Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri that had been convened through a citizen petition process. The pro-life group Operation Rescue had worked with a coalition of pro-life groups to gather the petition signatures to force a grand jury to investigate allegations against Planned Parenthood that included illegal late-term abortions and the non-reporting of child sexual abuse.
Grand jury foreperson Stephanie Hensel testified that she filed the ethics complaint against Kline because she believed he had misled the grand jury as to the true application of the mandatory child abuse reporting law and did not tell them of the outcome of a federal case, known as Aid for Women v. Foulston. In that case a judge determined that abortion clinics must report suspected sexual activity in minors only if they believe that the activity has caused harm to the child.
Kline insists, however, that he explained the law to the grand jurors reflecting the Aid for Women (AFW) v. Foulston findings almost word for word. The AFW decision has since been rendered “moot” because the reporting law was changed by the Legislature.
Kline also said that a secret agreement entered into by four grand jury members with Planned Parenthood to obtain only records Planned Parenthood wanted them to see “killed the process.”
While Hensel testified that she believed at first the grand jury would issue a “true bill” recommending criminal charges against Planned Parenthood, the grand jury in the end failed to indict due to the secret agreement.
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said he was “shocked” to learn of the secret agreement between the jurors and Planned Parenthood. “This is a betrayal of the confidence of thousands of Kansans who signed the petition to convene the grand jury to investigate Planned Parenthood,” he said.
“Thankfully, there is still a criminal case against Planned Parenthood that is moving forward and we pray that the political corruption that subverted the grand jury will not taint the current case.”
Another witness, Larry McClain, the grand jury special counsel, testified that he believed Kline was “demonizing Planned Parenthood,” but Kansas Watchdog reported that McClain admitted under cross-examination that he could not recall any on-the-record statements either Kline or his office may have made to that effect.
As District Attorney, Kline filed 107 criminal charges against Planned Parenthood in 2007 alleging it conducted illegal late-term abortions and manufactured evidence to cover up their crimes. The validity of that case was scrutinized by the Kansas Supreme Court for two years, and now it is finally moving forward. A preliminary hearing is set for October.
A full report of yesterday’s hearing can be found at the Kansas Watchdog blog site. The Kansas Watchdog also produced the video interview below where Kline discusses the allegations and how the ethics case might impact the current criminal case against Planned Parenthood.
The ethics hearing is scheduled to run through Friday. Kline is expected to make his own closing arguments.