Tempers flare in Gosnell trial

    Tempers are flaring in the courtroom as the murder trial for West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell continues through its third week.

    The trial has been marked by frequent requests for sidebars so the defense and prosecution can discuss procedural points.

    Following one of those sidebars Wednesday, defense attorney Jack McMahon and assistant district attorney Edward Cameron traded personal jabs until Cameron’s co-counsel, assistant D.A. Joanne Pescatore, physically stepped between the two men. The jury had already left the courtroom.

    Last week, the AP reports, McMahon clashed with Philadelphia deputy medical examiner Dr. Gary Collins when he defended changing the cause of death for 41-year-old patient Karnamaya Mongar from accidential overdose to “homicide.”

    The bulk of Wednesday’s testimony focused on the November 2009 death of Mongar after an abortion at Gosnell’s 3801 Lancaster Ave. clinic.

    The jury heard from a clinic worker who typically answered phones and cleaned instruments, but who dispensed medication to Mongar prior to her death.

    A paramedic testified that the woman suffered a cardiac arrest at the facility and had no heart beat by the time first responders arrived. He said emergency workers could not get a stretcher into the medical clinic because of its narrow, crowded hallways.

    In cross-examination of a crime scene investigator, the defense Wednesday showed the jury photos of clean waiting rooms and medical equipment. Defense attorney McMahon implied that the prosecution had cherry-picked the oldest and dirtiest equipment and furniture to bring in to the courtroom to show jurors.

    Gosnell is charged with one count of third-degree murder for the death of Mongar, and seven counts of first-degree murder for babies allegedly born alive. The trial is expected to last three to five more weeks.

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