Politically influential abortionist George Tiller was arraigned yesterday on 19 criminal misdemeanor charges, entering a “not guilty” plea ahead of a trial scheduled for later this month.
The pro-life group Operation Rescue was surprised by the timing of the arraignment, having scheduled a prayer vigil for a scheduled Aug. 7 appearance in court.
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said the change of schedule, moving the arraignment to yesterday, was kept secret from the public and media.
“I think they secretly arraigned Tiller in order to avoid him having to face the public in a court appearance,” said Newman.
Tiller did not appear in court, but he surrendered to the county sheriff’s department for processing after his attorney entered the not guilty plea. He then was released on his own recognizance.
A motion to dismiss the charges remains on the schedule for Aug. 10.
“We are moving our prayer vigil to August 10 at 9 a.m.,” said Newman. “I doubt if Tiller has the courage to show up, but we will pray for a just outcome nevertheless.”
“Everything in this case seems to be done under the cover of secrecy, which does nothing but heighten concerns of corruption and special treatment,” said Newman. “Anyone else would have to stand in court and be held accountable for their crimes.”
Court records show a bench trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 17.
According to 19 charges filed by Attorney General Paul Morrison, Tiller failed to follow Kansas late-term abortion law and substantiate the need for such procedures with a second independent opinion.
The charges allege Tiller and a second doctor who endorsed his opinions, Ann Kristin Neuhaus, “were not financially and legally independent as required by Kansas law.”
Tiller was the subject of a multi-year investigation by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who filed 30 criminal counts against him. However, the charges were dismissed by a judge with connections to Tiller’s lawyers on the request of a prosecutor who also had connections to the other players in the case.
Then Kline appointed a special independent prosecutor to handle the case, but, as WND reported, the special prosecutor was fired by Morrison as soon as he took office.
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