Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Kansas Attorney General's office says darling of the religious right botched George Tiller case

By Diane Silver

[updated 6/28 11:43 a.m.]
A leading national right-to-life figure may well have botched at least half of the charges he filed against Wichita's George Tiller -- an abortion provider at the top of the right's hit list.

AP is reporting an exclusive interview with Ashley Anstaett, spokeswoman for Attorney General Paul Morrison. She alleges that former AG Phill Kline engaged in "unethical behavior" and left a mess for Morrison.

Based on his pursuit of Tiller, who provides late-term abortions, Kline has become a national figure.

In a nutshell, Anstaett says Kline botched at least half of the charges he filed against Tiller. Among the charges Anstaett makes, according to AP, are:

  • 15 of the 30 misdemeanor counts Kline filled in December were flawed.
  • In 11 of those 15 counts, Kline failed to include information that was favorable to Tiller -- a major ethical lapse by an attorney. (Kline's recently departed Johnson County Domestic Violence Division Chief Sue Carpenter was once censured for doing this.)
  • In 4 of the counts, Kline cited the wrong patient records to back up his charges.
  • “The case was not organized, summarized and ready to go, as Kline claims. This couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Anstaett’s comments covered only 15 charges. Morrison is set to announce by Friday whether or not he will file any charges against Tiller.

Kline denies everything. See AP for the details of his comments.

If what Anstaett says is true, then it's no surprise that Morrison has taken six months to finish his investigation of Tiller. If Tiller really is breaking the law, then the absolute worst thing Morrison could do is to bring a botched case before a judge. It amazes me that the anti-abortion folks can't seem to understand that. They seem more interested in screaming and making political points, than in actually getting a successful prosecution of Tiller.

My guess -- and I have no information on this -- is that Anstaett's interview is part of a PR campaign by Morrison to counter the Operation Rescue message that has been filling the Kansas media for the last few weeks.

I'm also guessing, that Morrison may well file charges against Tiller. Anstaett only discussed 15 of the counts. I suspect that she would have discussed more, if Morrison intended to clear Tiller completely.

Again, I have no information. Only guesses.

[This is a revised version of a story posted on Kansas Voice.]


There is more information and detail from The Wichita Eagle.


PHOTO: Paul Morrison

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