June 24, 2016
The West Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted three years ago of murdering three babies filed a civil rights lawsuit Monday against Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and the Philadelphia Daily News.
Kermit Gosnell, who is serving three consecutive life prison sentences, alleges his rights to due process and a fair trial were violated by a series of "falsities, slander, libel and defamation" by the defendants, which also include Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron and a pair of Daily News reporters.
"It is further contended that Slander, Libel, and Defamation should not be allowable even after a conviction but that a person's integrity and good name need be respected by ethical conduct until the process of appeal and sentence correction has been exhausted," Gosnell wrote.
Gosnell, 75, who is incarcerated a state prison in Huntingdon, is representing himself in the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Gosnell contends Williams made false statements in regard to Gosnell's surgical methodology during a February 2009 press conference, using his own anti-abortion beliefs to drum up public support. Gosnell alleges Williams knew the legality of lethal fetal injection, but described the methodology as "horrible." He claims Williams misrepresented his methodology as "delivering a live birth and killing the baby."
Cameron used "obvious attempts to inflame public opinion instead of logic or medical evidence," using the words "baby" or "babies" more than 160 in his closing statement, Gosnell claims. That violated his rights to due process and a fair trial, he alleged.
"A woman seeking an abortion is plainly not seeking to give birth," Gosnell wrote.
The District Attorney's Office declined to comment.
Gosnell also claimed the Daily News used "malicious sensationalism without regard to truth or factual evidences," citing a series of headlines, articles and editorials. He specifically references the first paragraph of a July 11, 2015 article titled "Memorial for babies killed by Gosnell." He also lists a series of headlines describing his property as a "House of Horrors" as defamatory.
"It is generally accepted that a publication is 'defamatory' when it (intends) to injure reputation in the community and expose a person to hatred, ridicule, contempt," Gosnell wrote.
A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Media Network, which owns the he Daily News, declined to comment.
Gosnell was convicted in 2013 of first-degree murder for the deaths of three babies that prosecutors claimed were delivered alive and then killed. He was later pleaded guilty in federal court of running a pill mill out of the same clinic.