Prosecutors Give Closing Remarks in Abortionist’s Abuse Lawsuit

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 28, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Prosecutors Give Closing Remarks in Abortionist’s Abuse Lawsuit

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 28, 2003

Washington, DC ( — A county prosecutor told a jury that all of the 35 women who have accused abortion practitioner Brian Finkel of sexual abuse can’t be wrong.

Cindi Nannetti, a deputy county attorney, told jurors that they should not focus on Finkel’s denials or claims that touching women’s breasts and sexual organs were part of standard medical practice during examinations.

Instead, they should concentrate on the numerous statements by women that Finkel’s touching them during abortions and exams was both inappropriate and illegal.

"His actions included strumming, pinching, flicking, caressing and rubbing" the women’s genitals and breasts, Nannetti said, according to a report from the Arizona Republic.

Nannetti said he testimony of the thirty-five women, patients of Finkel’s over a multiyear period, presents "an abundance of evidence to convict. To find him not guilty would mean you didn’t believe their stories."

Though they had never met each other, the women told of similar patterns of harassment. "They had the courage to come in here and testify" she said, even though some indicated Finkel intimidated them against testifying.

Nannetti, who heads the sex crimes bureau of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, also said that statements from Finkel’s abortion facility staff corroborate their contention that Finkel abused them.

On Monday, Judge Jeffrey Cates threw out one count of sexual assault and five of sexual abuse on technical grounds. He did so at the request of Finkel attorney Richard Gierloff, who claimed some of the women were abusing drugs at the time the alleged harassment took place.

Gierloff also contends that police contaminated the testimony of the women by discussing other women’s cases or using suggestive questioning that prompted victims to remember more than actually happened.

Also on Monday, jurors had the opportunity to ask questions of Finkel, who surprised some by taking the stand. Most of the 82 written questions had to do with policy and procedure at the abortion facility.

Finkel still faces 54 counts of abuse and 6 counts of sexual assault, a more serious charge.

If convicted on all of the charges, Finkel could face the rest of his life in prison. Finkel was responsible for approximately 20 percent of the abortions performed in Arizona.