Judge waives preliminary hearing in Gosnell case

    A Philadelphia Common Pleas judge Wednesday said there will be no preliminary hearing in the case of West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell and nine co-defendants.

    He has been charged in the deaths of a patient and seven babies.

    Despite objections from some of the defendant’s attorneys, the judge said the 261-page grand jury report provides enough evidence to head straight to the discovery phase.

    “They sat for months and days and weeks, going through 62 witnesses, numerous experts,” Assistant District Attorney Christine Wechsler said. “The judge was basically saying that it’s not necessary to go on and put on a preliminary hearing that’s more of a waste of their time.”

    The prosecution now has 10 days to turn over transcripts from grand jury testimony to defense lawyers so they can start building their cases.

    Gosnell and his wife, Pearl, appeared before Common Pleas Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes with newly hired lawyers. Last week, she ordered the pair to hire their own counsel, saying they didn’t qualify for the public defenders they’d requested.

    The grand jury report has painted a grisly picture of Gosnell and the abortion clinic he ran, but his attorney Jack McMahon stresses a grand jury is not the same thing as a trial.

    “Just because the government says something is true doesn’t make it true,” McMahon said. “For you to sit there and say everybody’s made him the butcher … without any trial, without anything being exposed to the public, that’s not right that’s not the way it should work.”

    Pearl Gosnell’s lawyer said she will file a motion to try her case separately from Kermit Gosnell.

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