By Kathleen Gilbert
TOPEKA, Kansas, March 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The opening day of the long-awaited trial against Kansas’ notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller yesterday saw witness Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus give what have been described by witnesses as “conflicting” statements. Tiller’s defense team also submitted multiple failed motions to dismiss, according to initial trial reports.
Tiller, who has tapped Neuhaus for the required second opinion for his late-term abortions since 1999, stands accused of maintaining an illegally close legal and financial relationship with Neuhaus. The alleged relationship contravenes late-term abortion law that requires an independent doctor to offer a second opinion, verifying that the procedure is necessary to save the life of, or avoid major injury to the mother.
Neuhaus, granted immunity as the prosecution’s sole witness, claimed Monday that she did not work full time for Tiller but only came to Wichita to offer the consults at Tiller’s clinic once a week for half a day.
When asked why she told an assistant with the Kansas Attorney General’s office in 2006 that she worked for Tiller full-time, Neuhaus said she misspoke.
“I was the only one doing consultations,” she said. “I should have said only.”
Assistant Attorney General Barry Disney said the two abortionists maintained a close working relationship that resulted in Tiller’s business being a “one-stop shop” for late-term abortions.
“By 2003, Dr. Neuhaus was a full-time consultant for the defendant,” Disney told the jury. “That is all she did. She had no other job, no other source of income.”
Neuhaus admitted to the prosecution that Tiller’s clinic instructed patients to bring Neuhaus’ compensation in cash, which the clinic would hold for Neuhaus, and that the only way patients could see her was to make an appointment with Tiller’s office.
Operation Rescue (OR), which has been posting live updates of the Tiller trial on Twitter, reported earlier today that Neuhaus admitted to using Tiller’s office without paying rent.
Reports say that Neuhaus repeatedly said she could not recall several points Attorney General Disney inquired about, and that she blamed some of her conflicting statements on the nature of the 2006 discussion with former Assistant Attorney General Stephen Maxwell. Invoking a comparison to the Spanish Inquisition, Neuhaus said she felt so intimidated by Maxwell that “I don’t remember what I was saying.”
In his opening statement, Tiller defense attorney Dan Monnat told jurors that Tiller was innocent because his relationship with Neuhaus relied on advice from the state medical board’s director and one of his lawyers.
However, District Judge Clark Owens reportedly stated that Kansas does not consider ignorance of the law or advice of counsel as a valid defense, and told attorneys he would likely uphold the prosecution’s objections to evidence supporting such an argument.
Monnat submitted motions on various grounds to dismiss, all of which were denied.
For more information on the Tiller trial, go to: https://www.operationrescue.org/