Gag Orders, Jail Cell Searches in Abortion Case

Pearl Gosnell protests her cell being searched, while judge gags lawyers in the case

A lawyer for Pearl Gosnell, wife of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, says her jail cell was illegally searched without a warrant.

Pearl Gosnell is charged with helping her husband provide illegal abortions at their West Philadelphia clinic Women’s Medical Society. Dr. Kermit Gosnell is charged with the murder of seven babies and a 41-year-old woman.

Defense lawyer Michael Medway says prosecutors used only a subpoena to search her cell last week for letters to her husband, photographs and other personal items.

Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner says he's concerned prosecutors did not first get a court-ordered search warrant.

Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore says city prosecutors routinely issue subpoenas to search jail cells.

One issue in the cell-tossing dispute that must also be sorted out: Does a previous order barring all 10 defendants in the Gosnell case from talking to one another or witnesses apply to Pearl and Kermit Gosnell, being that it’s communication between a husband and wife?

Lerner plans a hearing on the issue.

In the mean time, Lerner also imposed a gag order on all the lawyers involved in the Gosnell case, telling them they may not talk to reporters at least until the case goes to trial, according to the Inquirer.

"What happens in open court is one thing, but I don't want the case tried outside the courtroom," Lerner said, according to the Inquirer.

Kermit Gosnell, 70, who allegedly performed late-term abortions in which he induced labor and then cut the spinal cords of the live babies born with surgical scissors, is being held without bail.

Pearl Gosnell is awaiting release to house arrest.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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