TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas' attorney general, a vocal abortion opponent, has filed criminal charges against Wichita abortion provider George Tiller, the doctor's attorney said Friday.
Attorney Dan Monnat did not identify the charges, and officials in Attorney General Phill Kline's office did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Tiller's clinic, known for being one of the few in the U.S. to do late-term procedures, has been a high-profile target of anti-abortion protesters for decades. The clinic was bombed in 1985, and Tiller was shot in both arms by a protester in 1993.
Kline, who lost his re-election bid in November and leaves office in three weeks, has been investigating whether Tiller and other abortion providers performed illegal late-term abortions in Kansas or failed to report suspected child abuse as required by law.
He waged a two-year legal battle before finally this year obtaining the records of 90 patients from Tiller's Wichita clinic and a clinic operated in Overland Park by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.
Since the election, abortion rights activists have expected him to move against Tiller and perhaps Planned Parenthood, as well.
Tiller and Planned Parenthood have repeatedly said they have committed no wrongdoing and that the patient records Kline obtained contained no evidence of crimes by either the clinics or their doctors.
"We also intend to explore any and all means of holding Kline personally responsible for his malicious actions," Monnat said.
"The filing of criminal charges by Phill Kline is the last gasp of a defeated and discredited politician," the attorney said. "Rather than executing his duty as a prosecutor to see that justice is done, he has chosen to engage in a malicious and spiteful prosecution on the eve of Christmas."
The incoming attorney general, Democrat Paul Morrison, has criticized Kline for seeking the records, describing it as an invasion of the patients' privacy, but he would not say if he would drop any investigation Kline started against the clinics.
Mark Simpson, a spokesman for Morrison, said neither he nor his aides had any information about the charges and could not comment. He said they would issue a statement once they learned the details.
The court clerk's office in Sedgwick County also said it did not have any information that it could discuss.