Dr. George Tiller Enters Not Guilty Pleas to 19 Charges
Facing 19 misdemeanor charges for consulting a doctor with whom he allegedly has legal and financial ties, Doctor George Tiller reported for processing on Friday while his attorneys submitted not guilty pleas to all counts on his behalf. Based in Wichita, Kansas, Dr. Tiller is one of the few providers of later term abortions in the US and has repeatedly been targeted by anti-abortion activists, including former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, until Kline was ousted in the 2006 election. His replacement, Attorney General Paul Morrison, cleared Dr. Tiller of charges pursued by Kline, but then issued the 19 misdemeanor charges in late June.
Dr. Tiller was originally scheduled for an arraignment on Tuesday, but by appearing earlier, he was able to be released on his own recognizance and be represented by his attorneys to submit the pleas. According to the Kansas City Star, Dr. Tiller and his attorneys are maintaining that the charges are merely a "difference of opinion between lawyers regarding unusual technicalities in Kansas abortion law procedure." If charged and found guilty, Dr. Tiller could face up to one year in jail and $2,500 for each charge.
Dr. Tiller is scheduled to appear before the court on Friday, when his motion to dismiss the charges will be considered. His clinic, which just endured a weekend of protests by anti-abortion extremists and was vandalized in July, is currently closed.
Media Resources: Kansas City Star 8/3/07, 8/4/07; KWCH 8/3/07; Statement by Attorneys for Dr. George Tiller 8/3/07; AP 8/4/07