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Kline ethics case: Who gave CD with documents from A.G.’s office to Dr. Tiller’s Attorney?

By   /   February 25, 2011  /   2 Comments

Stock photo of Attorney Discipline Hearing Room (recordings of any kind and twitter are not allowed in hearing room)

TOPEKA.  [Updated 2/25]  At Phill Kline‘s attorney ethics hearing on Thursday computer forensics of a compact disk were part of the  discussion during the afternoon session.

An unknown person left a CD with files of documents on a hearing room table in Wichita for Dr. George Tiller’s attorney to find.  The documents were from the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.

Tiller’s attorney Dan Monnat called Jared Reed, a former special agent for the consumer protection division under former Attorney General Phill Kline, for a meeting to ask questions about a particular spreadsheet that Reed had authored, which was found on that CD.

Reed’s spreadsheet appeared to be a report about adult women, 16 or more years old, who had received abortions while carrying potentially viable fetuses.

Reed identified “potential” matches in that spreadsheet between abortion reports without names  filed with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and information obtained from La Quinta Inn in Wichita about patients or guardians, who may have visited Dr. Tiller’s clinic. Reed admitted there was “no way to 100% confirm” matches between those two lists.

Reed said from 2003 KDHE data he had identified 128 women, age 21-26, who had received abortions on fetuses with gestational age of 22 weeks or more.

This spreadsheet was controversial because it contained “contact information” that sometimes was a name or a phone number of someone receiving an abortion at Dr. Tiller’s clinic.

Reed testified he had prepared a similar “potential” match list for those under 16 receiving abortions who may be victims of abuse, and a list of those who had an abortion of a fetus with gestational age greater than 22 weeks in violation of state law.  In one exhibit Reed said from KDHE abortion records he identified 204 girls 15 years old or younger, 483 receiving abortions with gestational age of 22 weeks or older, with 29 being on both lists.

Reed said he met Monnat in Topeka on Dec. 26, 2008 for about two hours in a conference room at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.  Reed said others at the meeting included an investigator hired by Monnat.

At some point Monnat delivered the CD with that spreadsheet and other files to the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator.  Disciplinary Administrator Stanton Hazlett declined to answer any questions about the CD or about the ethics case against Kline.

Disagreement on whether assigned task

According to statements made at the hearing on Thursday, Kline’s lead investigator Tom Williams testified on Wednesday that he had not directed Reed to create the spreadsheet of “matches” for woman 16 or more years old.

But in his testimony Reed said he had been requested to prepare the report by Williams, whom he described as his mentor.

Reed said he recalled Williams only making the statement that he had not assigned the task to him after they both had left the AG’s office under Kline.

Inconsistency in Report

But Reed’s spreadsheet with potential names of women 16 or over receiving abortions appeared not to have followed the same process of other documents.

Reed could not explain why that document had no attached investigator report as similar documents, nor why he had not initialized all the pages like with other documents.

Mark Stafford, one of Kline’s attorneys, asked Reed about the process by which he interacted with lead investigator Tom Williams in reviewing reports.

Reed admitted the report with adult women names had obvious errors on it that would have been caught in a review with Williams.

Reed said it “could be a subjective opinion” that the document in question was not a final copy.

Computer Forensics of CD

Stafford asked Reed a number of questions about the contents of the CD received anonymously by Monnat and the directory structure of the network drive in the Attorney General’s office. Reed said they both contained some of the same files, but the directory structures may not be the same.

Reed said he was not the source of the CD and he had not given it to Monnat.

Scrutiny of the forensics report about the CD is not possible since it was submitted into evidence under seal.

Ethics Violation to Obtain CD and Files from Attorney General’s Office?

Hazlett, Stafford and Reed all declined to comment on whether copying files with documents from the Attorney General’s network drive and giving them to another person on a CD might itself constitute an ethics violation.

Stafford said he did not know when Monnat received the CD anonymously.

[Updated 2/25]  Phill Kline comments about the leaked CD at the end of the hearing on Friday when Dan Monnat was called to testify:

Document Storage

Part of Reed’s testimony addressed issues related to the the transfer of redacted medical records without patient names from the Attorney General’s Office to the Johnson County District Attorney’s office under the supervision of Judge Richard Anderson.

Attorney ethics hearings are held in the "Insurance Building" near the Kansas Capitol

After Morrison was elected Attorney General in 2006 he “switched” jobs with Phill Kline when Kline was elected by precinct committees to become the Johnson County District Attorney

Reed described the relationship between the Kline and Morrison administrations as one of “hostility”, “animosity”, “hatred”  both in Olathe and Topeka.  [Earlier, Eric Rucker testified the Kline administration had tried to organize the transfer of  the Attorney General’s Office to Morrison the same way former AG Carla Stovall had.]

During the transition Williams had directed and helped Reed to make copies of the redacted medical records and store them at Reed’s apartment in Topeka because of security problems in Johnson County due to the tension between Kline and Morrison administrations.

At a point when security had been established in Johnson County, Reed was instructed to transfer the documents from his apartment to JoCo.

Reed described hearing “water cooler talk” that the new Attorney General Morrison might prosecute anyone involved in the abortion investigation with criminal charges of misconduct.

At some point Reed sought legal counsel and filed a deposition with Morrison of what he had done in return for immunity from any prosecution.

Reed said Kline was not immediately aware of the deposition but was summoned to discuss it with Kline at a later date when Kline learned about it.

Reed said Kline concluded the discussion by angrily throwing the copy of the deposition across the room.

Reed said he feared being fired but never was.  He said Kline was cordial in all future meetings.

Reed offered his opinion that Kline might go above the law in his abortion investigations but he had no factual basis for that opinion.

Eric Rucker’s Testimony

Eric Rucker at his hearing in May 2010

Rucker concluded his testimony Thursday afternoon.

In a response to Kline attorney Stafford, Rucker said that it was not accurate to describe Kline’s investigation as only an “abortion investigation.”  Rucker said it was more complex than that and included:

  • possible false writings
  • failure to report illegal late term abortions
  • possible illegal records maintenance
  • inappropriate and possibly illegal failure to report activities
  • investigating possible child abuse of girls under 16 both in Kansas and out-of-state
  • law enforcement investigating rape, incest, child molestation

Much of the discussion paralleled matters from his ethics hearing in May.

Stafford recounted a question Rucker had asked him some months before.

Rucker had asked, “What state agency do I go to get my reputation back?”

Stafford asked Rucker if he had found that state agency yet.  Rucker simply respond, “no.”

Kline’s Lunch Time Comments

During a break for lunch, former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline reflected on his ethics hearing:

Phill Kline: “What Kansans should focus on is protecting children and enforcing the law”


Contact: Earl F Glynn, earl@kansaswatchdog.org, KansasWatchdog.org

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