Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
The special prosecutor assigned to legally pursue notorious abortionist George Tiller – accused of performing illegal late-term abortions on girls as young as 10 – has been fired, but critics are calling the termination pay-back politics.
Paul Morrison, the new attorney general in Kansas, ended the contract with special prosecutor Don McKinney, a Wichita lawyer, with a letter saying,
“any appointment you received” for work for the state office “is terminated immediately.”
That means, McKinney said, that Morrison simply is repaying his political debts.
“Morrison owes political debts,” McKinney told WND. “Morrison’s going to dance with the gal that brung him to the ball.”
The case has an extended history, with former Attorney General Phill Kline seeking as far back as 2004 records from several abortion businesses in Kansas that he believed may document the commission of crimes. For example, he asked how could dozens of underage girls be given abortions in Kansas without a single case of assault on a child being reported?
He fought a two-year battle for those records, having gained the approval of two different district judges and the state Supreme Court in that time. He obtained the records just a few weeks before Christmas, and just days before the holiday filed 30 criminal counts against Tiller, alleging he performed illegal late-term abortions and did not have the proper medical diagnoses for those procedures.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston then asked Judge Paul Clark to dismiss the counts and he did, affirming that decision in a later court hearing. But Kline had appointed McKinney as special prosecutor during that time, and McKinney last week filed a suit in the state Supreme Court asking for a determination that Foulston and Clark had usurped Kline’s authority, and seeking a ruling the counts could move forward.
Morrison’s office did not return WND calls requesting a comment about the situation, and the status of that Supreme Court case.
Georgia Cole, a spokeswoman in Foulston’s office, earlier told WND there were no personal or political issues involved in the decision by Foulston to have the charges dismissed.
“The case was dismissed based strictly on the facts that the AG did not have the authority to come into this jurisdiction and file charges without the DA inviting or requesting or allowing,” Cole told WND.
Morrison spokeswoman Ashley Anstaett also told a Wichita newspaper that Morrison’s campaign received no contributions from Tiller or the political action committee he supports, called ProKanDo.
However, a group called Kansas for Consumer Privacy Protection was active in the campaign, and it held the same address as ProKanDo, according to the newspaper.
Also, Morrison during his campaign had told the Lawrence Journal-World that he thought state money was being used for “misplaced priorities” in an investigation of abortion business practices in the state and he would instead use that to start a domestic violence unit.
He also got a huge boost in his campaign when a non-profit organization that the newspaper linked to Tiller mailed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of mailings critical of Kline.
The mailings called Kline “Snoop Dog” and were mailed by Kansans for Consumer Privacy Protection, said the newspaper, which noted that group had the same office address as ProKanDo, a political action committee Tiller started and is funding to elect pro-abortion candidates.
A constitutional law professor, Kris Kobach, had told Fox News earlier that “Kansas law is perfectly clear that says the attorney [general], if he finds probable cause, can bring a criminal complaint of this nature.”
He said Foulston’s argument, and Clark’s endorsement of it, would leave Kansans without a way to prosecute any case the local district attorney opposed. That could become problematic, because there have been cases in Kansas in which the district attorney has been the defendant in a case, he noted.
Officials with the activist pro-life group Operation Rescue also characterized the Morrison decision as a pay-back.
“This is just the beginning of the political pay-back,” said Troy Newman, president of the group that shut down one other Wichita abortion clinic by purchasing the building.”I am sure Morrison is scrambling up in Topeka right now looking for any reasons at all to bury the Tiller case.”
The dismissal was no surprise, since Morrison repeatedly had told the media he would dismiss McKinney, alleging the Democrat could not be “independent” because he holds pro-life views.
“That is not what it means to be an independent special prosecutor,” Newman said. “An independent prosecutor is endowed with the power of an attorney general, but works outside the structure of the office so that he can pursue a case without impediment from politics or other influences. It does not mean that a person has no opinions. We assume that Morrison possesses the basic language skills that would allow him to understand the difference, and therefore can only conclude that he is intentionally using deceptive language to confuse the issue at hand.”
Newman noted with the abortion industry’s support for Morrison, “it is the height of hypocrisy for Morrison to portray himself as ‘independent’ or ‘objective’ while criticizing McKinney.
“Morrison, because of his pro-abortion bias, should remove himself from any influence or connection with this case. That would be the right thing to do,” Newman said.
Kline is moving to the post of Johnson County District Attorney, a post that Morrison vacated to seek the state post. In that position, Kline is unlikely to have any influence over any case involving Tiller, whose business is in Sedgwick County. However, Kline also had begun an investigation of, and obtained records from, the Planned Parenthood business that is in Johnson County, and will have jurisdiction to decide any cases that may be generated in that regard.
Newman’s organization also has announced a national event called “A Cry for Justice” to be held in Wichita starting Jan. 19. It seeks reinstatement of the charges Kline had developed against Tiller, and is being held because of a suggestion from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.
“You know, I’ve been covering the news in America for 30 years and this Kansas situation is the worst thing I’ve ever seen … Americans cannot turn away from this; cannot ignore it. There should be thousands of people demonstrating outside Tiller’s abortion clinic in Wichita,” he said.
There also was an announcement from Foulston that she had reviewed material provided by Kline about the “mandatory reporting laws for underage teenage sex in 15 abortions performed in 2003.”
She said her review showed “that in accordance with Kansas reporting statutes, the staff of Tiller’s clinic notified child protective services agencies in various jurisdictions of the medical status of each child and the procedure that was followed in this state.”
Kline’s actual allegations of illegal late-term abortions and improper medical diagnoses weren’t addressed.
Tiller’s lawyers, Dan Monnat and Lee Thompson, later said in a statement to a local newspaper that Foulston “exercised her duties appropriately and we are, of course, pleased that she confirms what we have always maintained: Dr. Tiller has always completely abided by the law.”