Kline ethics hearing postponed until fall

A hearing on a legal ethics complaint filed against former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline has been postponed until Nov. 15.

The hearing had been scheduled for next month. The Supreme Court announced the change Thursday, saying Kline’s team of attorneys wasn’t available until fall.

Kline, who served as Johnson County DA after he left the AG’s office, faces allegations that he disobeyed the Kansas Supreme Court, misled judges and withheld information from a grand jury.

In a formal response released Thursday, Kline denied any wrongdoing. Kline now teaches law at a university in Virginia.

The complaint was filed by the state’s judicial disciplinary administrator. A judicial ethics panel will review the case to determine whether Kline violated professional ethics and should be disciplined. However, it would be up to the Kansas Supreme Court to decide any punishment, which could include public censure or disbarment.

The allegations arose from Kline’s dogged pursuit of Planned Parenthood and the late Wichita abortion provider George Tiller. Kline’s investigation began shortly after he became attorney general in 2003, and continued when he became district attorney in 2007. Kline accused Planned Parenthood and Tiller of violating state abortion law and covering for pedophiles by not reporting pregnancies of underage girls.

According to the complaint, Kline and/or his deputies misinformed the Supreme Court that their investigation wasn’t seeking the identities of specific women who received abortions; Ignored warnings by the Supreme Court not to talk about the case by discussing it on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show; mishandled redacted medical files; and selectively presented information to a Johnson County grand jury investigating Planned Parenthood.