Legal Ethics

Ex-Kansas AG Kline Tells Judges His Office 'Endeavored Forthright' in Abortion-Provider Probes

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Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline told judges hearing his disciplinary case on Thursday that he never intentionally lied during his investigation of abortion providers.

Kline is accused of misleading others, or allowing his subordinates to mislead others, including grand jurors, report the Lynchburg News & Advance, the Topeka Capital-Journal and the Associated Press. He is also accused of making a false statement to the office investigating the misconduct claims. The ethics charges stem from Kline’s investigations of abortion providers as Kansas attorney general and Johnson County district attorney.

“I will say that my office acted with integrity and with full compliance with ethical rules and the rules of law, and endeavored forthright in every instance,” Kline told the judges, according to an account by LifeSiteNews. Kline and his lawyer, Tom Condit, said disciplinary authorities had taken Kline’s statements out of context to build their case.

Condit suggested the ethics case wasn’t about the way Kline practiced law, the stories say. “I always smile when I hear judges, prosecutors and attorneys saying about a case, ‘This isn’t about abortion,’ ” Condit said. “Let me tell you, folks, it’s always about abortion.”

Because five justices of the Kansas Supreme Court recused themselves, the case was heard by two remaining justices and five lower court judges. The justices recused themselves because some of the alleged misconduct occurred either in the justices’ presence or in proceedings filed with the court.

Kline is a visiting assistant professor at Liberty University School of Law. Dean Mathew Staver told the News & Advance that Kline is a well-liked professor who clearly loves teaching, and the case won’t affect his position at the school.

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