Kline's Written Response to Questions
Kline is accused of lying when he said all the abortion records at all times were under “lock and key.”
Hazlett claims Kline violated Rule 8.1 when he wrote that during the transition records had been “kept under lock and key,” when they had actually been transported from Kline’s office to a secure location off-site for a period of time during the transition.
To prove a violation of Rule 8.1 , Hazlett must show that Kline knew he was making a false statement, and that the statement was objectively material.
The statements at issue here were part of 69 pages of responses Kline gave Hazlett, detailing information relating to the receipt, maintenance and status of redacted medical records.
In January of 2008, Kline and Morrison switched offices. Kline became the District Attorney of Johnson County and Morrison, the former District Attorney of Johnson County, became Attorney General.
For Kline’s staff, security of the redacted medical records during the transition was of the utmost importance.
Kline had delegated the management of the records to Chief Investigator Tom Williams . Williams had more than 27 years of law enforcement experience, including years as lead investigator of the FBI’s Kansas City Field Office Public Corruption Unit.
Williams was concerned the records would not be safe at the new office with Morrison’s staff, so he decided to keep them in an investigator’s apartment during the transition. Williams had the records brought into the office after he was settled into his new position and he was confident of the office security.
Kline’s “Lock and Key” Statement
In one paragraph of Kline’s extensive written statements, Kline indicated that the redacted medical records were continuously under “lock and key.” Kline did not know that Williams had ordered the records be maintained at an apartment for a limited amount of time. The records were securely locked at the apartment.
Mr. Hazlett new about this fact five months prior to Kline’s written statement. Accordingly, when Hazlett received Kline’s letter he knew that Kline was mistaken .
In the Spring of 2008, the fact the redacted records were kept in an investigator’s apartment became public knowledge and was widely reported in many newspapers. Kline never denied the fact once he learned its truth.
Hazlett did not file his complaint against Kline until January of 2010, more than two and a half years after Hazlett learned the records were in an investigator’s apartment and more than 18 months after the fact was made public.
Yet, Hazlett now claims Kline should lose his law license for his failure to inform Hazlett about a fact which he did not know - and Hazlett already knew.
Evidently, the fact was not material or Hazlett would have done something about it.
It is common for investigators to take working copies of records with them outside the office. In this circumstance, the records were removed for their own security. Hazlett does not claim that it was improper or unethical for the documents to be kept locked up at an investigator’s apartment until a secure location could be verified at the DA office.
Williams knew the hostility Morrison and his staff had toward Kline’s investigation of Planned Parenthood. His concerns are supported by testimony of Ms. Linda Carter , a former Morrison employee, as well as findings made by Judge King .
Of the highest importance, years of investigation have revealed that no one except legitimate law enforcement personnel and expert witnesses ever saw the records . There is no evidence of breach of privacy or unauthorized access.
Kline’s Cooperation with Hazlett’s Investigation
Over the course of this five-year investigation, Kline wrote pages of detailed responses questions, offered sworn testimony in court, and worked with Hazlett’s investigators in full cooperation as required by Rule 8.1 .
Hazlett’s investigator, Lucky DeFries, testified to Kline’s full cooperation.
- Q: Throughout this time you had occasional contact with Mr. Kline?
- A: We did.
- Q. And in your contact with Mr. Kline did he show himself to be cooperative with you?
- A. Absolutely.
- Q. Did he seem forthright in his responses to you?
- A. To the best of my knowledge. He, you know, made sure we had access. He provided me with his cell phone number and indicated that it might be easier to get him on that number than others. And so to the best of my recollection he – he was always making himself available and very cooperative.
DeFries Testimony, 1776:11-22.
Ms. Marybeth Murdrick , another investigator hired by Mr. Hazlett echoed Mr. DeFries’ testimony.
Hazlett Said HE Believes This Claim Must Fail
Hazlett admits that he cannot prevail in a claim that Kline violated the Rules on this issue unless Hazlett suffered under a “misapprehension ” on whether the documents were ever kept in an investigator’s apartment.
Yet, in response to a demand by Kline’s attorney that Hazlett dismiss this claim, Hazlett wrote :
- “We have never taken the position that we were under any misapprehension due to Mr. Kline’s response as to the location of the [redacted] medical records at … [the] apartment. Our misapprehension occurred due to Kline’s response which was contrary to evidence in our possession.”
In other words, Hazlett admits he did not suffer under a misapprehension of the location of the records, he knew where they were, admits Kline didn’t know, and still claims Kline should be disbarred for not informing Hazlett about it.
Application of the Rules
The Rules of Ethics do not punish every single factual misstatement that may be made. Generally, the Rules require misstatements to be intentional falsehoods and/or material to a proceeding. Otherwise, simple ambiguity, differing interpretations and even typographical errors could constitute ethical violations.
This is especially true in a multi-year continuous investigation.
As an attorney, Mr. Hazlett is also under a duty to reveal all material information and fact. Yet, Hazlett never informed Kline’s counsel or the Kansas Supreme Court that he learned of this fact months before Kline’s September 2007 letter .
Hazlett claims Kline should lose his law license because Kline did not inform him of an immaterial fact which Hazlett already knew and which Kline did not know.
This claim is bogus.