Note: For more general background on this important case, click here.
TOPEKA, Kansas, February 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Steven Maxwell, Phill Kline’s chief criminal prosecutor during his years as attorney general and then district attorney, told a disciplinary hearing panel that it is “false” that Kline ever sought the names of adult women patients of George Tiller’s clinic in order to prosecute illegal late-term abortions.
Kline faces charges of unethical conduct for allegedly obtaining hotel records and matching them to state medical reports in an effort to identify Tiller’s patients, including adults.
Deputy Disciplinary Administrator Al Walczak on Friday had alleged to Maxwell that Kline would have needed the names, so that Kline could have Tiller’s former adult patients testify about illegal late-term abortions.
But Maxwell, a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, told the disciplinary panel in response that Phill Kline’s investigation was always primarily focused on prosecuting child sex offenders, and so needed the children’s names. But, he said, Kline never needed nor sought the names of adult patients to prosecute the additional aspect of illegal late-term abortions, because all he needed was the medical evidence.
Maxwell also pointed out that Kline’s successor, AG Paul Morrison, had proved that medical files alone would have been sufficient to prosecute the late-term abortions. Morrison later brought his own charges against George Tiller over illegal late-term abortions, without having the names of the adult patients.
Walczak interrogated Maxwell at length about a spreadsheet report containing guest data on Tiller’s child and adult patients from the LaQuinta Inns in Wichita.
Maxwell said that Kline wanted to keep the investigation into child rape moving forward after the Kansas Supreme Court’s February 2005 intervention in the “Alpha Beta” case put a roadblock in their efforts to get the names of the potential child victims of sex abuse. Kline’s office had subpoenaed Planned Parenthood and Tiller’s medical records – but both clinics were fighting the release of that information.
He said the AG’s office learned LaQuinta Inns gave a medical discount to Tiller’s patients, after the death of one of Tiller’s patients. The woman was a mentally disabled 19-year-old, who had been raped and become pregnant – a fact Maxwell said further alarmed them about the danger to children.
Maxwell said Kline wanted to take a “shot in the dark” and thought if they could cross-reference the dates on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) abortion reports with the dates list of guests at LaQuinta receiving Tiller’s medical discounts, they might get matches that would help them find the names of the children.
He said they expected they would find the names of adults, because children never register in a hotel under their names and would have travelling companions – potentially their rapists.
Walczak asserted that he and Kline must have known that they would also get the names of adult patients. Maxwell, however, responded that it was never their intention to do so. He said it is typical for law enforcement to get a lot of information they don’t need when conducting a drag-net operation.
“We separate the wheat from the chaff,” he said.
Walczak then asked about the spreadsheet compiled by Williams’s assistant, Jared Reed, that included information about Kansas and non-Kansas female patients over 16-years-old who underwent late-term abortions over 22 weeks.
Maxwell said Reed was a very conscientious employee known for doing a thorough job. He said it is possible that Williams, a veteran former FBI agent with 31 years experience who was “computer illiterate,” “didn’t know what a spreadsheet was” much less how to create one. He said Williams might not have been clear enough with Reed that he only wanted data on the children and potential adult escorts – a possibility that Williams himself acknowledged on the stand earlier in the week.
Maxwell also explained that Reed’s report on the adults never made it into the AG file. He added that Williams, who reported directly to him, never gave him any such document that included the names of adult patients. He said he only became aware of its existence as a result of the ethics investigation.
Furthermore, he said that if they wanted the names of adult women, they could have used the exemption in the federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rules that allows prosecutors to obtain full medical files for an investigation.
“We could have done it. But it wasn’t considered by Mr. Williams or myself,” he said. “It wasn’t our desires.”
The effort, which he said was not unethical, ultimately did not pan out. “Police officers routinely waste their time going down these avenues,” he added.