Archive for Friday, December 14, 2007

Kline hiring a special prosecutor in AG case

December 14, 2007


In a startling turn of events, Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline was given permission Thursday to hire a special prosecutor. It is widely believed the target of the investigation will be Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison.

Morrison, a Democrat, defeated Kline, a Republican, last year in a bruising political battle for the attorney general's office.

Now, Morrison is caught up in a sex and legal ethics scandal, which includes allegations that Morrison tried to get information about Kline's work as Johnson County district attorney.

"The crimes that we are investigating and that I will refer out involve phone harassment and potential blackmail and other potential crimes," Kline told Johnson County commissioners.

Kline said it is necessary to seek outside help in the matter because staff members in his office may be witnesses in the investigation.

The commissioners approved $25,000 to hire a special prosecutor.

A county official, with knowledge of the situation and who asked not to be named, said Morrison is the target of the investigation, according to The Associated Press.

However, Brian Burgess, spokesman for the district attorney's office, said, "We are not commenting on who it involves at this point."

Kline's action prompted a statement from Morrison, saying, "I take full responsibility for my personal failings and once again apologize to all of the people across Kansas that I have let down.

"There is no doubt, however, that all accusations of official or criminal wrongdoing are false and part of a political assault against me waged for partisan gain."

Morrison has been embroiled in a fight for his political life this week.

On Sunday, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Linda Carter, Morrison's former director of administration when he served as Johnson County district attorney, had accused him of sexual harassment and attorney misconduct. Carter has filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the newspaper said.

Carter said she and Morrison had a two-year affair, the paper reported. Both she and Morrison are married.

And, she said, Morrison sought information through her about Kline's actions in a lawsuit involving Planned Parenthood of Overland Park. She also said Morrison tried unsuccessfully to get her to write letters on behalf of attorneys who sued Kline after he fired them when he became district attorney.

Morrison has admitted to having an affair with Carter, but he has denied allegations of professional misconduct.

After his defeat for reelection to be attorney general in 2006, Kline successfully got Morrison's old job as Johnson County district attorney in an election of county Republican officials. The GOP got to make the selection for the remainder of Morrison's term because Morrison was a Republican, who switched to the Democratic Party to face Kline.

Morrison has asked the Kansas Administrator's Office to investigate whether he violated attorney's code of ethics.

Morrison has retained Overland Park attorney Nick Badgerow, who represented Kansas Supreme Court Justice Lawton Nuss last year before the Commission on Judicial Qualifications. It admonished Nuss for having a lunchtime conversation on school finance with two senators when the Legislature was under a court mandate to spend more money on education.

Also last year, Badgerow represented Gov. Kathleen Sebelius when then-Attorney General Kline filed a lawsuit to force the state to stop financing abortions for Medicaid recipients. That lawsuit was dismissed by a district court judge.

Morrison spokeswoman Ashley Anstaett said Badgerow was hired "to deal with the state investigation and the EEOC matter." She declined to say whether Morrison and Badgerow have met, citing attorney-client privilege.

"The matter needs to be resolved in the appropriate forums," said Badgerow, who declined to discuss specifics.


domino 10 years, 4 months ago

Explain to me how you have a 2 year affair with someone then turn around and accuse them of sexual harrassment? It just doesn't ring true to me! Did Morrison break it off with her and this is her way to get back at him? Seems to me that Kline is once again on a witch hunt and, since being defeated by Morrison, has placed the AG on his "hit list" with Tiller and whoever else doesn't agree with his personal views.

Just have a real problem with Kline (always have!) but it really got to me when I found out he "required" all the people in his office to attend his swearing in ceremony or whatever you call it when he became Johnson County DA. Apparently they were told it didn't matter if they were scheduled to be in court or up to their ears in a case, it was either attend or pack your stuff and get out. Sounds like a major ego trip to me. Glad I don't live in Johnson Co.!

dozer 10 years, 4 months ago

The KC Star has an article today that says Carter gave a statement to the EEOC which is sealed and also gave a signed statement to the Topeka CJ. If that is true, one should ask why give a statement to a newspaper? Seems the obvious conclusion is that Carter has a score to settle and trashing in the paper is the way she wants it done. Speaks volumes on her motive.

BigDog 10 years, 4 months ago


It isn't about the sexual harassment that is brining Morrison down. The sex stuff sells and grabs attention Read the recent article in the Topeka paper. There are allegations of tampering with legal cases

ksdivakat 10 years, 4 months ago

And why are we defending him in what he did?? Bottom line.....he was screwing his secretary and lied about it to get elected! And somehow thats klines fault?? Im no kline fan, but it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure this one out!

Richard Boyd 10 years, 4 months ago

Please Phil, we do not "want you back" in any way shape or form. For me you transformed from a politician (eligible for election) to "religious promoter" thus unfit for AG, the minute you gave the sermon at the "Northridge" church up our way. Hint: family values are great for campaigning, AG's uphold laws and prosecute criminals... religious crusades, that is abuse of power for some religious causes are quite another. I hope the "collection plate" that day was worth it, because I for one will never cast a vote for you again.

While it was proper for Morrison to quit under the circukmstances, we do not need another Phil Kline.

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