By Kathleen Gilbert
WICHITA, Kansas, March 25, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Kansas late-term abortionist George Tiller spoke in his own defense today, after abortionist and alleged associate Ann Kristin Neuhaus was declared a hostile witness part way through her testimony Tuesday, reports witnesses at the historic trial that began Monday.
George Tiller stands on trial for 19 counts of breaking a Kansas late-term abortion law that requires an independent doctor to give a second opinion as to whether a late-term abortion candidate requires the procedure to save the life of, or avoid major injury to the mother.
The prosecution alleges that Tiller maintained an illegally close financial and legal relationship with Neuhaus, making Tiller’s abortion clinic a “one-stop shop” for late-term abortions. Neuhaus was associated with Tiller’s abortion business for eight years, between 1999 and 2007.
On Tuesday, witnesses called Neuhaus’ answers to prosecuting attorney Barry Disney “argumentative and surly” during nearly eight hours on the stand.
Operation Rescue (OR) reports that Neuhaus’ polite attitude toward Tiller attorney Dan Monnat abruptly changed when Disney began to question her from Monnat’s podium. Disney told the court that he would be questioning her from that podium since Neuhaus seemed to have a better memory of questions asked from there, referring to Neuhaus’ string of answers Monday saying she did not recall key points.
“Thanks for the smart remark,” Neuhaus responded.
After Neuhaus continued to offer combative remarks, reports OR, District Judge Clark Owens granted Disney’s request to have Neuhaus declared a hostile witness. Owens directed, however, that the designation not be revealed to the jury.
Disney reportedly established through Neuhaus’ testimony that she was recruited by Tiller; that Tiller did not allow patients to choose their own second physician; and that Neuhaus used a referral form letter drafted by Tiller’s attorneys, and furnished by Tiller’s staff.
Witnesses say the atmosphere grew heated Tuesday when Disney attempted to question Neuhaus about her discipline with the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA). Tiller’s defense objected, but the judge allowed the questioning. In 2000, the Board sanctioned Neuhaus for several counts of failing to follow abortion procedure protocol, including a charge that Neuhaus forcibly sedated and performed an abortion on a patient who had withdrawn consent, and was attempting to leave the procedure room.
After the prosecution rested yesterday, Monnat issued another motion to dismiss based on lack of evidence. Judge Owens ruled that there was enough evidence of financial affiliation to go to the jury.
Today Tiller took the stand in his own defense, reportedly stating that former executive director of the KSBHA, Larry Buening, advised the relationship between Tiller and Neuhaus when it began in 1999, and that Tiller felt he had no reason not to trust his guidance as a governing authority.
Judge Owens reportedly said Monday that he would not consider ignorance of the law or advice of counsel a valid defense, and told attorneys he would likely uphold the prosecution’s objections to evidence supporting such an argument.
Buening is expected to offer testimony for the defense.
Tiller’s testimony, like Neuhaus’, included detailed complaints of “intense” and “intimidating” pro-life presence outside his abortion clinic.
Throughout the trial so far, a group of pro-lifers led by Rev. Patrick Mahoney maintained a prayerful presence outside the court building.
“The more we hear in court, the more shady these people appear. Neuhaus didn’t do herself any favors with her surly attitude. She appeared to be a hyper-paranoid person who lives in constant fear of criminal prosecution,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Please continue to bathe this trial in prayer.”
The trial is expected to conclude by the end of this week.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Tiller Trial Update: Abortionist Offers “Conflicting” Statements on Tiller Relationship