Wichita Jurors deciding the fate of one of the nation’s few providers of late-term abortions will be asked today to consider whether he essentially acted as the employer of another doctor who provided second opinions required under Kansas law.
Dr. George Tiller, 67, is on trial in Sedgwick County District Court on 19 misdemeanor charges stemming from some abortions he performed at his Wichita clinic in 2003.
He is accused of breaking a state law requiring that two Kansas physicians without legal or financial ties sign off on any late-term procedure.
However, Sedgwick County District Judge Clark Owens on Thursday ruled that prosecutors had not presented enough evidence to show that Tiller and Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus had a legal relationship.
Owens said jurors will be told in written instructions not to consider that part of the case when reaching their verdict.
Neuhaus provided second opinions on late-term abortions before Tiller performed them.
Prosecutor Barry Disney has described Neuhaus as a Tiller employee whose only income in 2003 came from patients she saw at his clinic.
Owens did reject another defense bid for acquittal, saying there was enough evidence for them to consider whether Tiller had an illegal financial relationship with Neuhaus, who consulted with patients at Tiller’s Wichita office.
Earlier in the day, the defense rested its case and jurors were sent home.
They were told to return this morning for closing arguments.