Man Who Tried to Cause Girlfriend’s Abortion Gets Top Defense Team
by Steven Ertelt
December 6, 2007
Appleton, WI (LifeNews.com) — A Wisconsin man charged with trying to get his girlfriend to have an abortion by secretly slipping her the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug is getting a top-rate defense team. Several key attorneys are assembling to defend Manishkumar Patel, who is considered very wealthy, in court.
Patel posted a cash bond of $750,000 for his bail on Saturday after getting significant sums of money from his own portfolio as well as from family and friends.
Now, the 34-year-old will be represent by an attorney who handled the state’s first case of an attack on a pregnant woman that caused the injury or death of an unborn child.
In 2000, Milwaukee attorney Martin Kohler, was involved in a case where a man imprisoned and assaulted a pregnant woman.
State courts eventually found the state’s unborn victims law constitutional in that case. It’s the same law being used to charge Patel with attempted first-degree intentional homicide for trying to cause his unnamed girlfriend to abort her twin babies.
"The issues on the death of a fetus are going to (be similar). It doesn’t matter how one kills it," Kohler told the Post-Crescent newspaper.
In the previous case, Kohler represented David Enis, who was convicted of first-degree reckless homicide of an unborn child in November 2000 and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Appleton attorney Thomas Zoesch, Brad Priebe, a former county judge and prosecutor, and Priebe’s partners Kohler and Michael Hart, will represent Patel.
Zoesch told the newspaper the defense team "levels the playing field."
"We are fashioning theories of defense that definitely do exist," Zoesch said. "This is not a slam dunk for the DA’s office by any means. Manish and I are very pleased with the resources we’ve been able to put together to fight this case."
On the other side, former Attorney Gen. Peg Lautenschlager said she is representing the victim and that the woman is considering filing a civil lawsuit against Patel in addition to the criminal charges he already faces.
Because Patel was released, Outagamie County Court was not required to have a hearing within a 10-day time limit normally used after a criminal has been charged.
Patel appeared before Commissioner Brian Figy and answered several questions before he was released. Despite posting bond, Patel must visit with officials at a reporting center twice a week until the hearing.
The woman in question had a recent miscarriage and another one 10 months ago and Patel is suspected of causing them both. He could face 94 years in prison on the charges.
The woman says she believes Patel had given her mifepristone, or the RU 486 abortion drug, which has been responsible for the deaths of thirteen women worldwide (and six in the United States) and injuring more than 1,100 women in the U.S. alone.
News reports indicate Patel may have purchased the drug illegally from India.
Pro-life groups are saddened by the case but encouraged that an unborn victims law they pressed for is being used to hold Patel accountable for possibly trying to kill the woman’s two unborn children.
"Without Wisconsin’s Fetal Homicide Law, there would be no basis on which to charge Patel in the death of the child," Susan Armacost, the legislative director of Wisconsin Right to Life, told LifeNews.com.
"As horrible as this situation is for the child’s mother, she can at least be comforted by the fact that her child is recognized as a victim under the Fetal Homicide Law and that the death of her child is a crime in Wisconsin," Armacost added.
Wisconsin’s Fetal Homicide Law was enacted in 1998.
The law recognizes unborn children as separate victims when they are killed or injured as the result of violence directed toward the unborn child’s mother or the unborn child by a third party. The law applies regardless of the gestational age of the unborn child.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, 35 states recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn child as homicide in at least some circumstances.
Some 25 of those laws protect pregnant women and their unborn children throughout pregnancy and another 10 offer justice only after viability.