WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — August 9, 2023 was the first day of the trial of five of the nine pro-lifers charged with violating the FACE law and the additional federal charge of conspiracy to interfere with civil rights – which alone carries a 10-year maximum prison term and $230,000 in possible fines. These charges are the result of the rescue nine pro-lifers conducted on October 22, 2020 at the Washington Capitol Surgi-Center – the Santangelo abortion facility where abortions are committed through the ninth month of pregnancy.
The cases have been divided into two separate trials. On trial on August 9 were Will Goodman, John Hinshaw, Heather Idoni, Lauren Handy, and pro-lifer known as Herb Geraghty. Their very dedicated and able attorneys are Martin Cannon, Steve Crampton, Howard Walsh, Robert Dunn, John Kiyonaga, Alfred Guillaune, and Bierina Jasari.
The Federal court judge is Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Many pro-lifers filled the courtroom, several of them from PAAU – the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, members of whom held a press conference that morning outside of the court at 333 Constitution Ave, NW in D.C.
Media were present, most notably a reporter from the Washington Post who also attended the trial itself.
Outstanding video from my friend and codefendant Lauren Handy about our upcoming trial in federal court starting August 9th in Washington DC. 🌹#RepealFACE #JusticeForTheFive @PAAUNOW @repreaux pic.twitter.com/MMbysJ4Rl2
— Herb (@HerbGeraghty) August 4, 2023
On August 9 jury selection began with a whopping 154 prospective jurors. They were given a card on which they had to note answers to no less than 34 voir dire questions. Most questions were very technical, i.e. “Have you or any close friends or family members had an experience with law enforcement that would make it difficult for you to be fair and impartial in this case?” or “Would you give more weight to the testimony of a witness simply because that witness was a law enforcement officer?”
Okay – let’s cut to the chase. The really significant questions were numbers 20, 21, and 22. Question 20: “In this trial ‘abortion’ will be mentioned, but this case is not about abortion [RIGHT, OF COURSE NOT!] – not whether it is right or wrong, just or unjust – it’s about whether clinics have a right to operate. Do you have any beliefs about abortion that would render you to not be fair and impartial in this case?”
Question 21: “Have you ever belonged to or contributed to any group that advocates for or against abortion?” Question 22: “Have you or a close friend or family member ever participated in any demonstration either for or against abortion?”
Jurors were brought into the courtroom one at a time. And wow, the voir dire, most of it conducted personally by the judge, was a long and incredibly tedious process. Yes, at this slow rate of jury selection, the trial may well take three weeks as the judge herself announced.
And here’s why the jury selection in this pro-life case was jury selection in pro-abortion la la land. Four jurors answered “Yes” to questions 20, 21, 22 and they were all pro-abortion. Two of these potential jurors admitted to donating to Planned Parenthood, supported legalized abortion, and that access to abortion was important to them. One potential juror said his wife donated to Planned Parenthood, but he didn’t really have a problem with it.
three of the ten defendants in United States v. Handy: Herb Geraghty, Lauren Handy, and Heather Idoni
solidarity with all nonviolent pro-life rescuers🌹❤️ pic.twitter.com/j4Gw1t3htn
— Maria (@RehumanizeMaria) August 9, 2023
Another potential juror said that she actually attended women’s marches in D.C. because the marches, among other “women’s issues,” supported abortion. She said that she had very committed views in support of abortion, and believed access to abortion was important! And, she was employed as the media consultant for a congresswoman who supported legalized abortion.
So here’s a potential juror totally committed to abortion, who personally advocates for abortion – and yet Judge Kollar-Kotelly did not strike her for cause. And why? Hey, all these pro-death jurors had to do, despite their commitment to the legalized killing of babies, was say the magic words, “I can still be fair and impartial.” That’s all it took.
Let’s not forget – the pro-lifers are charged with FACE. FACE is specifically about securing access to abortion – and these pro-lifers are charged with physically preventing access to abortion when they defended the unborn from being put to death.
another one of the defendants, John Hinshaw
unfortunately I didn’t get to finish his portrait because (despite there being no rule against it) court security made me stop drawing, and a US Marshal took my sketchbook 🙃
— Maria (@RehumanizeMaria) August 13, 2023
Even when the pro-life attorneys called for the judge to strike these pro-abortion potential jurors for cause because they said they believed access to abortion was important, Kollar-Kotelly actually defended them, saying: “But access to abortion is legal” – meaning that they could not be struck for supporting something that was legal.
This is jury selection, yes —in pro-abortion la la land. What is the la la land? It’s la la land that such jurors, so dedicated to legal abortion would – even could – be fair and impartial. Are you kidding?! Certainly, the risk is too great to the defense of the pro-lifers.
Consider an analogy from the 1950s
Now consider this analogy. Let’s say we were back in the 1950s. Defendants who protested lunch-counter segregation in the deep south are on trial. Jurors are questioned as to their suitability to serve on the jury. Some jurors actually admit that they financially support the Ku Klux Klan – even attended KKK rallies, believe that black people are not equal to whites, support segregation – which was also legal!
But despite their support for the KKK, they are not struck for cause because, hey, they also said the magic words: “I could still be fair and impartial.” Letting these racist jurors to still be considered suitable, of course, would be outrageous. But such is the very situation the pro-lifers are facing – except it’s about abortion.
One juror who started out saying she was raised Catholic (getting our hopes up!) then soon dashed those hopes when she said that she left the Catholic faith over the issue of abortion, was now committed to legalized abortion, and was an agnostic. She didn’t make it through however, since she couldn’t bring herself to say the magic words that: “Yet, I could be fair and impartial.” Because she insisted that she could not be “fair and impartial” that juror was indeed struck by the judge. Well – what do you know!
One juror said that he could not be fair and impartial due to his views on abortion because he was a Christian – said that abortion was killing, and killing is wrong according to his faith. So, we had hopes for him! But then despite his Christian faith he went on to say something goofy: “But I don’t think I have the right to say that my beliefs are right or wrong.” And he went on to say regarding abortion: “People should be able to do what they want.” Alas – so much for the Christian!
Keep in mind, that if the judge doesn’t strike these pro-death potential jurors for cause that means that the pro-life attorneys have to use up their pre-emptory strikes – making it harder to get really good jurors who understand what’s at stake here.
Pray that somehow, by the grace of God the pro-lifers will get jurors who understand that they acted to defend life, despite the fact that already the motions on “defense of others” and the “defense of necessity” have already been denied.
The pro-lifers go to court, having placed themselves on the side of an unwanted people – and defended them in one of the most pro-death cities in the country.
August 9 was the feast day of St. Edith Stein, Sister Benedicta of the Cross, killed by the Nazis in Auschwitz. God, give us the courage to witness to your truth despite the cost. Then we will be united with You, dear Lord on the Cross – and graces will be multiplied.
Back in Judge Kolar-Kottaly’s court in D.C. on Thursday, August 10, jury selection ended with a total of 26 jurors altogether passing through the voir dire process.
I am just going to say it: For pro-lifers, it was two days of torture. We dreaded when Judge Kolar-Kottaly, looking at the cards jurors filled out to answer voir dire questions, announced that the juror sitting in the box answered questions 20, 21, 22. As noted above, these questions are respectively:
Question 20: “In this trial ‘abortion’ will be mentioned, but this case is not about abortion – not whether it is right or wrong, just or unjust – it’s about whether clinics have a right to operate. Do you have any beliefs about abortion that would render you to not be fair and impartial in this case?”
Question 21: “Have you ever belonged to or contributed to any group that advocates for or against abortion?”
Question 22: “Have you or a close friend or family member ever participated in any demonstration either for or against abortion?”
On August 10 there was one potential juror who certainly had integrity. He said he was very much against abortion. Then, of course, as Judge Kolar-Kottaly always does, she explained to him that this case has nothing to do with whether abortion is right or wrong, justified or unjustified, but only about whether there should be access to abortion according to the law.
So “can you set aside your deeply held views on abortion and impartially weigh the evidence presented in this case and apply the law according to the statute?” This juror, being consistent, said “It would be hard for me to separate my views from the facts of this case.” And when pressed by the judge on whether he could just apply the statute, he said, “I don’t think I can enforce a statute with which a do not agree.” When questioned by the DOJ prosecutor John Crab, Jr. this potential juror went so far to say, “I don’t think there should be access to abortion.”
So, since this honest guy couldn’t say the magic words in pro-abortion voir dire la la land: “Despite my deeply held views, I could still be fair and impartial,” he was struck from the jury, even though he did admit to the prosecutor regarding the defendants: “People who take matters into their own hands, I don’t necessarily agree that’s the correct method.”
In the end, even when the prosecutor pressed him on whether he could set aside his beliefs and apply the law, the potential juror said, “I am only half certain.” That was it for the judge, and she struck him for cause.
Heading into federal court for a third day of jury selection in the Biden administration’s case against pro-life demonstrators.
— Herb (@HerbGeraghty) August 11, 2023
Of the 26 jurors so far voir dired, the pro-abortion jurors outweighed the pro-life jurors nearly four to one. Altogether there were 11 pro-abortion potential jurors. Of those, six are still potential jurors. In other words, in spite of their vehement and active support for killing babies, they were not struck for cause.
Of the remaining five, one was struck because she had acute social anxiety and the other four because, well, when all was said and done, it was apparent, even to Kolar-Kottaly and the two DOJ prosecutors, that they could not be fair and impartial. Two of these pro-abortion potential jurors had heard about the case through news stories and social media stories that included reporting that “aborted fetuses had been stored in a house in D.C.”
These, of course are the aborted babies that a waste disposal driver from the Santangelo abortion center gave to Lauren Handy and Teresa Bukovinac. The one pro-abortion potential juror even said that this was “sick” and “wacko.” Even that was too much for Kolar-Kottaly and she struck him.
The other struck pro-abortion potential juror admitted that she had already formed a negative opinion of Lauren Handy, naming her by name because of the “theft of fetal remains.”
However, it is outrageous that the other six rapidly pro-abortion potential jurors were not struck. And rabidly pro-abortion they were. This is not just pro-life exaggeration. Here’s a sampling of just how bad it is.
- One juror contributes money to Planned Parenthood and stated he believes protecting access to abortion is important.
- Another juror’s wife contributes money to Planned Parenthood from their joint bank account and he’s fine with it – agreed that he was supportive of Planned Parenthood and sympathetic to the organization.
- A juror stated she has very strong pro-abortion views, contributes to Planned Parenthood, participated in demonstrations in support of abortion, and is a paid media consultant for a pro-abortion Democratic congresswoman. And it even was brought to the judge’s attention that this potential juror argued with pro-lifer Kristin Turner, who was handing distributing leaflets outside of the court. Still didn’t matter!
- Another juror also heard through media about “unborn children being taken from clinic.” Since he called the unborn “unborn children” – we had hope for him! But, no. He actually donated money directly to abortion centers in Florida, attended pro-abortion rallies, was very concerned about maintaining access to abortion, and even attended a protest at the Supreme Court against the Dobbs decision and admitted that he disapproved of persons who denied women access to abortion. However, when pressed on this point by pro-life attorney John Kiyonaga, this potential juror said that he got along with members of his family who were pro-life – thus somewhat rehabilitating himself!
- A juror said he contributed to Planned Parenthood, wanted to be sure that people had access to “reproductive care” and admitted that such “care” included abortion.
And so why are such pro-abortion potential jurors not struck for cause by this judge? Because they all said the magic words, “I can be fair and impartial in weighing the evidence in this case.” That’s all it took.
By the way, when a few of these pro-abortion potential jurors said they support access to abortion, the pro-life attorneys pointed out to Kolar-Kottaly that this should be reason for them to be struck for cause, since this would most likely cause such jurors to already be biased against the pro-life rescuers.
But, the judge essentially said, Well, it’s a good thing that they support access since that’s the law, and it’s good for people to support what is lawful. Of course, there was zero consideration that some laws are inherently unjust as is any law that provides access to the killing of the innocent! Folks, we can see where this is headed.
The trial continues.
Please pray for a miracle from almighty God.
Monica Miller is President of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.