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Lawyers Work to Seat George Tiller Trial Jury

Jury selection in the criminal trial of George Tiller entered its second day Tuesday, with both sides working to seat a panel with members willing to set aside their personal views about abortion.

One juror was dismissed early Tuesday after telling attorneys she signed a citizen petition demanding a grand jury investigation of Tiller and acknowledging her sister was a frequent abortion protester at his Wichita clinic.

Another was dismissed in the afternoon after he told attorneys he didn’t know whether he could overlook his anti-abortion beliefs.

Tiller is charged with 19 misdemeanors alleging that he failed to obtain a second opinion for late-term abortions from an independent physician, as required by Kansas law. If convicted, he could face a year in county jail or a fine of $2,500 for each charge.

The jury pool will be cut to six jurors and two alternates today. Opening statements and trial testimony will begin Monday.

Assistant Attorney General Barry Disney told prospective jurors that prosecutors and defense attorneys agree that Tiller performed the 19 late-term abortions and that he was required to obtain a second, independent opinion. Jurors need only decide whether Ann Kristin Neuhaus, the doctor who provided Tiller with second opinions, had a financial or legal relationship with him, Disney said.

Prosecutors contend Tiller broke the law because he had a financial relationship with Neuhaus, who has been granted immunity from prosecution and could testify.

Defense attorney Dan Monnat hinted at the defense strategy by saying Tiller has never “knowingly or intentionally” been financially affiliated with the doctor who provided second opinions.

All content © 2009 THE WICHITA EAGLE and may not be republished without permission.

BY ROXANA HEGEMAN
Associated Press