TOPEKA — Phill Kline on Monday defiantly insisted that his tactics were sound and his cause just during his efforts to bring charges against Planned Parenthood and Wichita abortion provider George Tiller.
Kline took the stand to face allegations that he misled and defied judges, mishandled evidence and said too much to Bill O’Reilly throughout his long investigation of Kansas abortion clinics.
“These charges were supported and these charges need to be tried,” said Kline, a former attorney general and Johnson County district attorney.
Stanton Hazlett, the state’s judicial disciplinary administrator, argues that Kline broke ethical rules for attorneys as he investigated the abortion providers.
A three-attorney panel sits in judgment. If the panel finds Kline in violation of ethical rules, it would be up to the Kansas Supreme Court to decide any discipline. Punishment could range from censure to disbarment.
Kline’s Kansas license is inactive; he now teaches law at Liberty University in Virginia. But disbarment could make it difficult for Kline to practice law in another state.
The contentious politics of abortion permeated much of Kline’s testimony. Hazlett asked him at one point whether he would support banning abortions at any time during a woman’s pregnancy.
“I believe a wise decision for this nation would be to end abortion, yes,” Kline said.
Hazlett questioned Kline about a 2006 appearance on O’Reilly’s television program after showing clips of the episode. Kline, who was days away from losing his re-election bid for attorney general, spoke to O’Reilly about his investigation of Tiller despite having been warned by the Supreme Court to avoid such publicity.
O’Reilly referred to Tiller as a “killer” and said he had “evidence” that Tiller was performing illegal abortions and covering for pedophiles that impregnate girls.
“Would you agree that for some people that could be inflammatory, could it not?” Hazlett asked Kline.
“The whole topic is inflammatory for whole groups of people,” Kline responded.
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