UPDATE: Kline tells ethics panel, ‘You are violating my due process rights!’
TOPEKA, March 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former attorney general Phill Kline, on trial for alleged ethics violations committed during his investigation of Planned Parenthood, told the disciplinary panel hearing his case that they were depriving him of due process by taking away the time he was supposed to have been allotted to defend himself.
Originally Disciplinary Administrator Stan Hazlett was supposed to be given five days to make his case, while Kline’s attorneys was supposed to have three days, and conclude on Wednesday. Hazlett has now taken a seventh day to make his case against Kline on just one count out of two. But instead of granting Kline’s lawyers extra time, the disciplinary panel insists that they will finish by tomorrow, Wednesday.
Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek, who is on-site at the trial in Topeka, spoke with LifeSiteNews.com by telephone to report that the disciplinary panel, presided by Kansas lawyer Jo Ann Butaud, denied a continuance of the trial today. However, they said they would take Kline’s due process concerns “under consideration.”
Kline has objected that Hazlett, who spent five years investigating him and filed 30,000 pages of documents against Kline to make his case, is getting extended time from the panel. He has also pointed out that his legal counsel has been fired and replaced twice by AG Stephen Six, and the members of his new counsel (Reid Holbrook and Mark Stafford) have only had since September to review Hazlett’s documents and prepare a defense, putting him at a further disadvantage.
Stanek also said the attorneys told her they “may” file for a summary dismissal this afternoon.
Kline Ethics investigators participating or ignoring federal crimes/ethics violations?
Stanek told LifeSiteNews.com by telephone that the trial has also exposed Hazlett’s unwillingness to investigate ethics violations committed by Kline’s legal adversaries. She said the testimony also showed that Hazlett’s office has been willing to use evidence obtained unlawfully or illegally in order to prosecute Kline.
Today’s testimony revealed, first: Hazlett has not investigated Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe for intercepting and opening a private package in January 2009 mailed to Phill Kline – a potential felony under US postal laws – because it was sent to the wrong address. Howe passed along a black three-ring binder and Kline’s personal diary to the Disciplinary Administrator’s Office by October 2009. Hazlett continues to retain Kline’s mail as part of the ethics investigation.
Second, Kline testified that he was not the one who originated the CD that Tiller attorney Dan Monnat said he “mysteriously” found on the defense counsel’s table at a Wichita hearing for Tiller in November 2008. The CD was not in an inventory of Kline’s files that he provided to the Kansas Supreme Court, meaning that somebody else copied files from the AG’s computer server and gave the sensitive data to Monnat.
The CD also had copies of individual’s medical records, information about open investigations related to child rape investigations over live-births, and abortion-related data that had nothing to do with the Tiller case. Monnat kept the files 14 months, a potential violation of federal HIPAA laws protecting patient privacy. It was also raised that Monnat may have violated Kansas Ethics Rule 4.4 by retaining the CD and combing through the data once he learned that it was the property of Attorney General Six’s office and was required to be returned.
However, trial testimony showed that Hazlett’s office neither investigated Monnat, nor did they investigate who stole sensitive information from the AG server for Tiller’s attorney.
Third, it was asked in the trial why Hazlett was not pursuing as vigorous an investigation into serious allegations of impropriety by Paul Morrison as they had into the allegations about Kline.
Stanek said that Linda Carter, Morrison’s former paramour, testified by telephone to the panel Tuesday that Morrison tried to pressure her into changing her testimony, and speak against Kline. Carter, who was told by Morrison to stay at the DA office in Johnson County to keep tabs on Kline for him, also said that Morrison had two assistant DAs in Kline’s office spy and report to him about what Kline was doing, and would also call them for updates.
Kline faces charges of ethical misconduct – in part – for allegedly withholding documents related to the Tiller investigation from Morrison.