No public defender for doctor in abortion case

Dr. Kermit Gosnell

February 4, 2011 11:28:45 AM PST
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the man accused in the murders of seven newborn infants and a woman at a clinic that allegedly provided illegal late-term abortions, was back in court on Friday.

The judge in the case ordered Gosnell, and his wife, to be brought from jail to explain why they had not yet retained legal representation.

The couple faces a hearing on Wednesday on a motion to expedite the case against them.

The couple told the judge they were "close to destitute" and could not afford lawyers. The judge dismissed that argument, saying Gosnell still had assets he could liquidate.

Gosnell then said he did not want to liquidate properties because he had to provide for his teen daughter. The judge countered by pointing out that Gosnell had other, grown, children who could provide for the girl.

The judge went on the stress the importance of getting an attorney, noting the District Attorney's office is deciding whether to seek the death penalty.

Gosnell's previous attorney only agreed to represent him during the grand jury probe.

Along with the Gosnells, eight other employees of their clinic in the 3800 block of Lancaster Avenue in West Philadelphia were arrested last month.