Friday, April 19, 2013

The Gosnell trial in real life - notes from our Vice President

DRTL vice president, David Williams, attended the Gosnell trial last week, as you read here.  He attended for a second time yesterday.  These are his notes:

Well, I am back on the “slow train to Philly” but at least now I know what to expect.  I made the 8:51 departure and hope to be in the courtroom by 10 AM.  It is Thursday, April 18. I read in the paper this morning that the prosecution will call one or two more witnesses and then rest its case.  So, I am anticipating a short day, with the normal three day weekend this trial has been taking, on the horizon.  I have missed a lot of compelling testimony since I am only able to make weekly trips.

10:08: I arrive and Court is already in session. There are many more representatives of the press today.  I count 36 people who have come to watch the proceedings and estimate about half are reporters or court artists.  Reuters, Fox News, The Wilmington News Journal and some young ladies from are among the group.  There are still 16 jurors in the box.

The Defense is wrapping up a cross examination of Lisa Dungee, a client of Eileen O'Neill, who is being tried with Gosnell but for lesser charges.

10:47: The Judge explains that a witness for the Defense will be called next out of order since she is to undergo back surgery tomorrow.

The witness, Natalie Tursi, testifies that she “has been a good friend of Eileen O'Neill for 6 or 7 years and had met her through Eileen’s brother, another good friend.  Tursi states that on March 9, 2010 she arrives at O’Neill’s house where four agents (detectives) are already on the scene.  She recalls one agent, Huff, questioning O'Neill at first in a conversational manner but then his tone becomes more aggressive. She says that Eileen O'Neill, seemed nervous and apprehensive and asked, “am I under investigation?”.  Tursi went on to say that Detective Huff stated, “Do you want to practice medicine, get your license, you’ll be a witness.”

Cross examination of Natalie Tursi by the prosecution: You state that you met O'Neill through her brother, how did that come about.
Tursi: We were boyfriend and girlfriend.
D.A.: Aren’t you in fact living with this brother, Paul White in Wilmington, Delaware?
Tursi: Well yes but we are no longer boyfriend and girlfriend.

Tursi goes on to testify, with what appears to be a delighted smirk on her face, that she had previously testified for O'Neill who was trying to get her medical license in Delaware.  She also stated that while O’Neill had book smarts she didn’t have a lot of common sense (an apparent defense of why O’Neill did not ask for a lawyer).

The D.A. goes on to establish that Tursi had received a text from O'Neill while on the way to her house that said: the FBI is here.
The D.A. seems to be implying that Tursi is a biased witness, a gossip and a bit of a busy body.

11:25: Kareema Cross takes the stand for the prosecution.
The D.A. establishes that she was arrested by the Feds and pled guilty to conspire to distribute controlled substances.  Her sentence of probation is contingent on her cooperation in this case.  After completing a nine month course to become a medical assistant, Kareema Cross was trained to staff the front desk, take vital signs and do blood work. She started working for Kermit Gosnell for 10 dollars an hour in August 2005 performing these tasks.  Her employment lasted until December 2009.

Some months later after receiving “a couple of minutes” training Kareema started doing ultra sounds and assisting in procedures, helping with abortions.  While initially working from 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM, at times she would work until 3:30 the next morning, 19 hour shifts. Although never certified Ms. Cross began injecting patients with medications. She testified that she and other uncertified staff would sedate patients and leave them in an upstairs room with no monitoring machines and sporadic visits. 
The mothers would be given cytotec to dilate the cervix to ease the passage of a baby during the abortion.  This drug would often cause the baby to precipitate (a euphemism for “to be born”). 

Kareema Cross testified that she saw one baby that precipitated in the toilet and was still alive.  She described the baby as swimming in the toilet, attempting to get out.  A coworker came in and slit the baby’s neck in front of it’s mother. When Gosnell arrived he measured the baby’s feet and said it was 24.5 weeks old.

D.A.: Did you ever see babies that precipitated breathing?

Cross: Yes, over 10 times. I saw one baby, his chest going up and down, Linda pulled his hand up and the baby moved his arm back by himself.  He was breathing for 10 to 20 minutes before Linda Williams snipped the back of the his neck.  

Cross: If I did an ultra sound and determined the baby was over 24 weeks along I would call Kermit Gosnell who would redo the ultra sound and proclaim it to be 24.5 weeks.

Cross: The women would come from all over, Virginia....  Gosnell said he had connections.  Sometimes patients would stay overnight in the empty facility the day before the abortion. 

D.A.: Do you remember Shaquana Abrams?

Kareema Cross: Yes, she had the largest baby I ever saw.  He precipitated while she was asleep.  Gosnell put the baby in a shoe container (called that because of it’s similar size). “The baby was breathing and it’s arms and legs were hanging over the sides of the box, then he came together. He fit himself into the box.”  At this point Kareema demonstrates how the baby closed his arms to fit into the box.  “Gosnell cut the baby’s neck.  He was left in the box overnight in the office until the janitor complained the next day.”  Gosnell used his joke that “the baby could have walked to the bus stop.”

Cross: Kermit Gosnell treated white patients and those that appeared to have money differently.  He talked to them, spent time with them.

Cross: I was pregnant in 2009 and Gosnell tried to talk me into an abortion. “You are going to school.  How can you work here being pregnant?” Kareema gave birth to that child but had an abortion another time “at another clinic, his was too filthy.”

12:35: Lunch break

During the break Andree Seu Peterson of “World Magazine” told me that on the Monday following the release of the “empty press seats” photo the judge admonished the media for abusing their cell phone privilege.  No photos are allowed in the courtroom.

This photo and the subsequent follow up by the photographer J.D. Mullane was the main cause of shaming the mainstream press into covering the trial.

My notes today include my observation that some on the jury laugh and smile.  I don’t know if it is nerves or a disregard for what they are seeing unfold. 

I also find it interesting that some of the most horrific things Kermit Gosnell has done are perfectly legal in our country. Killing the baby with drugs or suctioning out the contents of its brain while it is still in the mother’s womb is common practice in the abortion industry.

2:15: The Trial Resumes

Cross Examination by the Defense attorney McMahon: He repeats all of the introductory facts concerning Kareema Cross confusing some of them.  I notice his hacking and coughing that has plagued him throughout the trial is still an issue.

McMahon’s technique seems to be to discredit the witness.  He tries to paint her as unintelligent.  He sights her testimony before the grand jury and tries to establish discrepancies.  Objections are made by the prosecution and McMahon changes his tactics.

McMahon: You wouldn’t stay at a place that was killing babies, would you?

Kareema Cross: “I did stay”

I leave the Court Room at 3 PM for Suburban Station.

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