Ex-Kansas AG Kline criticizes grand jury

TOPEKA — Testimony in former Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline’s disciplinary hearing ended Thursday with Kline denying allegations that he misled a grand jury.

Testifying for roughly 4 1/2 hours, Kline sharpened his criticism of the Johnson County grand jury that was created by a citizens’ petition in 2007 to investigate Planned Parenthood in Overland Park.

He and his defense team have portrayed the grand jury as a fractured panel in which some members acted improperly by trying to cut their own deal with Planned Parenthood to get abortion records.

“You don’t show up at the bank robber’s door and ask, ‘Do you have a gun, a mask and a loot of cash?’ ” Kline said. “That’s not an investigation. That’s collaboration, and that’s not how the process should proceed.”

Kline said the agreement reached by the grand jury also might have affected a separate criminal case pending against Planned Parenthood since it stipulated that the records could be used only for the grand jury’s inquiry. He said he already had the same records, with some portions redacted.

The presiding grand juror filed one of the two ethics complaints that Kline is facing before the state disciplinary board for attorneys.

The grand juror, Stephanie Hensel, testified earlier this week that she believed Kline intentionally misled the grand jury as it investigated whether Planned Parenthood violated state law by not reporting instances of child sex abuse.

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