Former A.G. Phill Kline files response in ethics case, quotes Bible

TOPEKA | A former Kansas attorney general who is accused of violating state ethics rules while investigating abortion providers has filed a 175-page response in which he quotes from the Bible and denies any wrongdoing.

Phill Kline, a Republican who gained national attention for his investigations, filed his response Thursday to a disciplinary panel's report Oct. 13 that he repeatedly misled other officials or allowed subordinates to mislead others, including a grand jury, to further investigate abortion providers.

In its finding, the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys had recommended that Kline's law license be suspended indefinitely, an issue that will be decided by the Kansas Supreme Court. He has already allowed his Kansas law license to lapse.

Kline, who is now a visiting professor of law at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., denies breaking ethics rules during his investigations of clinics in Overland Park and Wichita while he was attorney general, and later as Johnson County district attorney. He has said the complaint was politically motivated.

On the title page of his response, Kline quoted Psalms 70, in which King David asks God, “May those who seek my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.” (New International Version).

Kline went on in his response to deny misconduct, violating rules dealing with trial publicity, prosecutorial responsibilities, mishandling of evidence during the investigation, conflict of interest, lack of candor toward a court and lack of truthfulness in statements to others. He also denied misleading the Johnson County grand jury about provisions of a law regulating abortions.

The grand jury had investigated Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, a Johnson County abortion clinic, in late December 2007 and early 2008.

As district attorney, Kline filed 107 criminal charges against the Planned Parenthood clinic in 2007, accusing it of performing illegal abortions and falsifying records. The clinic says the allegations are baseless.

The criminal charges came from Kline's investigations of the late Dr. George Tiller, who was one of the nation's few late-term abortion providers, and a Planned Parenthood clinic in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park. Tiller eventually was acquitted, though dozens of counts in the Planned Parenthood case are pending.

Last month, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said he had no choice but to ask that 49 of 107 charges against Planned Parenthood's Overland Park clinic be dismissed because both the state health department and attorney general's office destroyed reports on individual abortions filed with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment in 2003.

The judge dismissed 23 felony counts of falsifying such reports, as well as 26 misdemeanor charges that the clinic had failed to maintain its own copies, as required by law. But 58 misdemeanor charges remain, accusing the clinic of performing illegal abortions and failing to follow a state law restricting late-term abortions.

Kline said in his response that there was no violation when an investigator for the attorney general's office did not disclose details of the investigation to another Kansas agency.

The panel had said Kline violated rules of professional conduct by appearing on Fox television's “The O'Reilly Factor” just before the November 2006 election to discuss his investigation of Tiller.

Kline said his statements to the “O'Reilly Factor” weren't a violation and that he cooperated with the disciplinary investigation.