By Travis Perry │ Kansas Watchdog
OSAWATOMIE — Former Republican Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline has been indefinitely suspended from practicing law following a unanimous decision released by the Kansas Supreme Court on Friday.
Court spokeswoman Helen Pedigo said in a statement that the court “found clear and convincing evidence to conclude Kline committed 11 violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct during the time he held those public offices.”
Kline previously served as the Johnson County district attorney, and most notably as Kansas attorney general from 2003-2007. The disciplinary action against Kline came from his investigation of abortion clinics while serving as AG, and the handling of a grand jury proceeding while serving Johnson County.
The court found Kline committed professional misconduct as Attorney General when he ordered staff members to attach sealed documents to a publicly filed brief in violation of a Supreme Court protective order, and later directed his staff to file a pleading with the court containing misleading information.
The court also found that while Kline was Johnson County District Attorney, he gave false testimony to a district court judge investigating his office’s possession of patient medical records obtained in a criminal investigation of abortion providers and made false and misleading statements to the Supreme Court regarding his handling of those records. It also determined Kline failed to properly advise a grand jury about the applicable law in its investigation into statutorily mandated reporting by abortion providers for suspected sexual abuse of minors, and filed unauthorized motions to enforce the grand jury’s subpoena to an abortion provider against the grand jury’s express direction and wishes.
Finally, the court held that Kline failed to correct a misstatement he made in a letter to the Disciplinary Administrator’s Office regarding the storage of patient medical files subject to a court protective order.
The court also struck down other claims that Kline violated conduct rules, such as allegations the former AG misled a state agency about his criminal investigation of abortion providers, as well as so-called inappropriate statements made during a November 2006 episode of The O’Reilly Factor.
Kline must wait three years to apply for reinstatement of his law license, and any application is subject to review by the state Supreme Court.
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