Summary of Claims
Kline is accused of misleading the Kansas state agency responsible for maintaining reports of child rape.
The underlying implication is that Mr. Kline had an ethical duty to reveal details of his investigation to a potential witness of his investigation. Prosecutors have never had this duty, as imposing such a duty would give criminals notice they were being investigated. Mr. Kline’s office did explain to SRS that his office was investigating the failure to report child rape in Kansas.
Kline is accused of seeking the names of adult patients.
As Attorney General, Mr. Kline had the authority to obtain medical records as part of any investigation, so calling this an ethical violation is bizarre. Additionally, Mr. Kline never sought adult patient names, because he never needed them. When Mr. Kline learned a certain hotel offered a discount to Dr. Tiller’s abortion patients, he legally sought hotel records looking for children who may have been patients. Since children do not register at hotels in their own names, it was necessary to identify the adult travelling companion. Ultimately no children were positively identified by this method. The objective of Mr. Kline’s investigation was always to identify the child victims so they could be protected.
Kline is accused of attaching a sealed document to a public brief in disregard of women’s privacy.
During the investigation, Planned Parenthood sued Mr. Kline, claiming he was seeking private medical records containing the identities of 90 women and children. Prosecutors regularly seek medical records during investigations, and they regularly include names. Mr. Kline did not need the adult women’s names, so he took an extra step to protect women’s privacy. He arranged for names to be removed from the records before he received them. When Mr. Kline challenged Planned Parenthood’s claim against him, he provided a transcript from a previous hearing that showed he had arranged with Judge Richard D. Anderson to have all names redacted from the records. Mr. Kline ensured that all identifying information was removed from the transcript before he attached it to his brief, so it contained only legal argument.
Kline is accused of intentionally deceiving the Kansas Supreme Court in his Motion to Clarify.
When one of Kline’s investigators was questioned by the Kansas Supreme Court about how records were sought, Justice Carol Beier asked an unexpected question. The investigator was bound not to answer, because a lower court had sealed the information. Justice Beier did not understand the investigator’s hesitation and persisted with her questioning until the investigator gave a weak answer. After that hearing, Mr. Kline wanted to clear up the confusion, and so he filed a Motion to Clarify explaining the lower court’s seal and the accurate response to Justice Beier’s question. The Court reacted to his motion by claiming he was trying to deceive.
Kline is accused of revealing prejudicial case information while a guest on the O’Reilly Factor.
The Kansas Rules allow for attorneys to comment on cases to the media with some restrictions for the purpose of protecting both the parties and the integrity of a judicial proceeding. Mr. Kline was careful in his comments, first assuring the concerned public that their private medical records were still private, and then updating the audience on the status of the investigation and highlighting information that was already available to the public. His investigation at the time was of great national interest and importance, and his comments were appropriate.
Kline is accused of deceiving Judge Anderson about records in his possession.
When the new Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison and Mr. Kline were switching offices, Mr. Kline prepared to take his investigation with him to Johnson County. As part of the transition, Judge Richard D. Anderson asked that Kline’s office file a Status and Disposition Report listing the copies Mr. Kline was taking with him. A member of Kline’s staff received and fulfilled the judge’s request before all the copies were made, and so some of the records were not listed in the report. Judge Anderson learned of the omission much later when Mr. Kline showed him the missing records as part of their discussion of the investigation. Judge Anderson was surprised that Mr. Kline had the records, but said Kline had the authority to have them. The Judge did not say he was deceived, and he said there was no prejudice or harm caused. At that time, there also was no ethical requirement to update the report – that rule was added in 2007 after these events.
Kline is accused of lying to the court when discussing record summaries in his possession.
Planned Parenthood and Attorney General Paul Morrison again sued Mr. Kline because of his investigation. The Kansas Supreme Court called Mr. Kline in to a secret trial before Judge David King, and Mr. Kline was asked to testify. During this secret trial, the attorney representing Planned Parenthood asked Mr. Kline if he had summaries of the abortion records of Dr. George Tiller, who was not a party to the case. Mr. Kline did have 63 summaries, but they related to a separate investigation the Kansas Supreme Court had sealed. Mr. Kline responded to the question by mentioning three summaries that related to the Planned Parenthood investigation, and then invoked Executive Privilege to safeguard the rest. Judge King immediately stopped the proceeding and met with Mr. Kline privately to discuss his request for Executive Privilege. After their meeting, Judge King agreed Mr. Kline was right in refusing to fully answer the question, and Mr. Kline did not have to answer any further questions regarding the Tiller summaries.
Kline is accused of lying when he said all the records at all times were under “lock and key.”
Mr. Morrison was hostile toward Mr. Kline and his investigation of Planned Parenthood, and so during their office swap in January 2008 Mr. Kline’s staff did not think the files would be safe stored in the Johnson County District Attorney’s office. As an alternative, for a brief period of time Kline’s staff kept the records locked at an investigator’s apartment. Mr. Kline did not know his staff had made that arrangement, and so he did not mention it in his extensive response to Mr. Hazlett’s questions regarding the safekeeping of the records. Kline’s understanding was that they records were always secured, and that was true.
Kline is accused of intentionally deceiving the Grand Jury regarding relevant case law.
When a Grand Jury was called to decide a number of issues relating to Mr. Kline’s investigation of Planned Parenthood, Kline and some members of his staff answered questions and provided relevant statutes and case law for the Grand Jury to consider. When Mr. Kline was educating the Grand Jury on their first day of work, he shared the applicable law regarding mandatory reporting of statutory rape. He didn’t mention the controlling case name, Aid for Women v. Foulston, but he did correctly state the holding of the case, including the limitation that excluded mandatory reporting of “age-mate” sexual activity. Juror No. 9 had personal animus toward Mr. Kline for his stance on abortion, and claimed Mr. Kline intentionally and deceitfully hid information from the Grand Jury. Juror No. 9 also attempted a settlement with Planned Parenthood without the rest of the jurors. Juror No. 9 was the only juror permitted to testify during Mr. Kline’s ethics hearing; the other jurors were silenced.
Kline is accused of filing a motion without the permission of the Grand Jury.
Mr. Kline did not need the permission of the Grand Jury to file his motion to enforce a subpoena. At one hearing, the Grand Jury made a “general request” to be “advised” if anything was filed in their name. Mr. Kline’s motion was filed in his office’s name. When the Grand Jury made the request, it acknowledged it did not have the authority to demand what it asked.