Abortion-trial jurors asked about Fox News report
A lawyer for a doctor who faces first-degree murder charges on allegations that he killed infants born alive during procedures at his Philadelphia abortion clinic called Fox News irresponsible for airing a documentary about the case.
The Washington Post
PHILADELPHIA — Jurors on Monday began their second week of deliberations in the capital-murder trial of abortion provider Kermit Gosnell, but not before inquiries about which programs they watched — or didn’t watch — over the weekend.
Gosnell’s attorney, Jack McMahon, arrived at court fuming over “See No Evil: The Kermit Gosnell Case,” an hourlong documentary that aired multiple times on Fox News in recent days.
McMahon called it “shameful” to run such a show, which drew in part on material from a 2011 grand-jury report into the conditions at Gosnell’s Philadelphia clinic, while a jury continued to weigh his fate.
“It’s outrageous,” McMahon told reporters who had gathered to await a verdict Monday. “I’ve never seen anything so irresponsible in journalism.”
After McMahon aired his complaints to Judge Jeffrey Minehart, the judge instructed jurors to notify his staff if any of them had seen or heard details of the show during the weekend.
There was no indication that any jurors, who have been instructed to avoid all media coverage of the trial, had watched the program.
In the afternoon, the panel was excused for the day without reaching a verdict.
Gosnell, a 72-year-old doctor who performed thousands of abortions over the years at his Women’s Medical Society on Lancaster Avenue, faces four first-degree murder charges on allegations that he killed infants born alive during procedures at his Philadelphia clinic.
Gosnell also faces charges in the death of a 41-year-old Virginia woman, Karnamaya Mongar, who died in 2009 after receiving an overdose of drugs during an abortion at the clinic.
During the six-week trial, which has drawn a national spotlight, prosecutors called numerous witnesses to testify that Gosnell routinely performed abortions beyond Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit, often injured women under his care and repeatedly “snipped” the spinal cords of babies born alive.
They have painted his clinic as a “house of horrors” where untrained and unsupervised staff members pumped patients full of dangerous medications and where Gosnell showed little regard for the low-income women who came through his doors.
Many of the witnesses were past employees who have pleaded guilty to various crimes and agreed to testify against their former boss. McMahon has maintained that no live births took place at the clinic because Gosnell terminated the pregnancies in utero.