George Tiller Jury Finds Him Not Guilty of Violating State Late-Term Abortion Laws
by Steven Ertelt
March 27, 2009
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — Infamous late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller has been found not guilty of violating Kansas laws requiring a second physician to independently verify that the abortions are supposedly medically necessary. Tiller had relied on an employee to justify the late-term abortions.
Tiller relied on fellow abortion practitioner Kristen Neuhaus, an employee of his, to provide the okay for the abortions instead of using an independent physician.
Tiller had been charged with 19 counts of violating a state law that requires an independent physician to sign off on the legitimacy of late-term abortions.
However, the jury acquitted him on Friday and made it so he avoided a potential charge of a year in jail or a fine of $2,500 for each count on which he could have been found guilty.
The three men and three women on the jury took less than an hour to hand down the verdict. When it was read, Tiller squeeed his eyes shut for a moment but showed very little emotion.
Members of the pro-life groups Operation Rescue and Kansans for Life filld the courtroom and some cried and others prayed as the decision was read.
"Tiller and his family are just happy it’s over, with an eminently just result," defense attorney Dan Monnat said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "This whole trial was political."
At the trial, which took place of the course of the week, Tiller attorney Dan Monnat told Sedgwick County District Judge Clark Owens and the six members of the jury that Tiller was acting under the approval of Larry Buening, the former director of the medical board, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts.
Tiller pointed to his 1999 conversations with Buening and claimed he said it would be all right for Neuhaus to sign off on the abortions.
Tiller claimed Neuhaus had no financial interest in his abortion business even though she essentially worked for him as a part-time employee and earned no money through other means. She had problems with her medical license and did not earn a living practicing medicine elsewhere.
During the closing arguments, Assistant Attorney General Barry Disney made the case that, despite their claims to the contrary, Tiller and abortion practitioner Kristin Neuhaus had a financial relationship that violated state law.
Disney pointed to considerable evidence and Tiller’s own admission that he consulted on Neuhaus’ fees for signing off on the late-term abortions.
The prosecutor also reminded the jury that, on repeated occasions, Tiller referred to Neuhaus’ consulting as a relationship where she was his employee or a part of his abortion business.
Dan Monnat and Lee Thompson, the lawyers for Tiller, tried to minimize Tiller’s characterizations as "slips of the tongue." They claimed the case against Tiller was a political prosecution that was not based on actual violations of law.
Tiller attorneys told the jury Wednesday that Tiller has been a victim of alleged harassment from pro-life advocates and his attorneys showed the jury photos of the results of a bomb that went off at his abortion center 25 years ago.
The motive behind bringing up old incidents and events is apparently designed to sway the jury and to look at the charges askance by considering them political motivated.
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