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Kermit Gosnell defense rests without calling any witnesses (+video)

In a Philadelphia courtroom Wednesday, Kermit Gosnell's attorney declined to call any witnesses. Gosnell is charged with murder in the deaths of infants during late-term abortion.

By Staff writer / April 24, 2013

In this 2010 photo, Kermit Gosnell is seen during an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News at his attorney's office in Philadelphia. He is charged with murder in the deaths of infants who died during late-term abortion.

Yong Kim/Philadelphia Daily News/AP


The sensational and sometimes grisly trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell reached an important point Wednesday when Dr. Gosnell’s defense team declined to call any witnesses – including the defendant himself.

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Brad Knickerbocker is a staff writer and editor based in Ashland, Oregon.

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Closing arguments in the trial, now in its sixth week, are scheduled to be heard next Monday, after which the controversial case goes to the jury.

Gosnell faces the death penalty if he is convicted in the deaths of four newborns. Prosecutors allege that the infants were born alive and viable during late-term abortions. Gosnell is also charged in the 2009 overdose death of a Nepalese refugee who overdosed on sedatives while awaiting an abortion.

Gosnell is also charged with racketeering, performing illegal abortions, and failing to counsel women 24 hours before a procedure.

Gosnell had been charged in the deaths of seven children, but on Tuesday Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart ruled that prosecutors over the past month failed to make a case on three of the seven first-degree murder counts, involving aborted babies known as Baby B, Baby C, and Baby G.

Former employees called by the prosecution testified that Gosnell relied on untrained, unlicensed staff to sedate and monitor women as they waited for abortions – many of them beyond the 24-week limit under Pennsylvania law. Three workers have pleaded guilty to third-degree murder charges, admitting they helped medicate the adult victim or had a hand in killing infants born alive.

They told jurors that Gosnell had taught them the technique, and said they trusted that it was legal. At least one, though, admits she grew so concerned about conditions at the clinic that she took pictures of the outdated equipment, messy rooms, and stacked specimen jars containing the remains of aborted babies.

Defense attorney Jack McMahon has maintained that none of the infants was killed, reports CNN. Rather, he said, they were already deceased as a result of Gosnell previously administering the drug digoxin, which can cause abortion.


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