OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The Kansas Supreme Court came down hard on former Kansas Attorney General Phil Kline by indefinitely suspending him from practicing law in Kansas on Friday.
The court's decision found "clear and convincing evidence" of professional misconduct related to Kline's investigation into Planned Parenthood.
The Supreme Court’s ruling was unanimous - finding that Kline had violated 11 rules of professional conduct during his investigation of abortion clinics.
The head of the Johnson County Planned Parenthood called it a 10-year witch hunt. But back when his case was before the Supreme Court, Kline told FOX 4 that he denied any wrongdoing.
“The law is designed its purpose is to protect the weakest and most vulnerable. It`s been one of my greatest honors to engage in the practice of law and it would affect me deeply if I was unable to do so,” Kline said.
Kline is now living and teaching law in Virginia, we were not able to reach him for comment on Friday. The court was being asked to disbar Kline, but the judges rejected that, ruling instead on the suspension.
Kline can apply for reinstatement in three years.
Kline spent almost 10 years accusing Planned Parenthood and the late Dr. George Tiller of violating state abortion laws. He filed a 107 count criminal indictment, but that case was later dropped.
Kline was accused of misleading judges and mishandling evidence in his investigation. Planned Parenthood called the Supreme Court ruling 'vindication' and hopes this sends a message.
“If you`re going to pursue a political agenda that you do so staying within the rules of law and proper conduct. The ends do not justify the means when those means include misleading courts and the public,” Peter Brownlee, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and mid-Missouri, said.
Brownlee said he had hoped that the Supreme Court ruling would be the end of this fight, but Kline`s attorney said he`s exploring options to fight the ruling. Planned Parenthood calls that further evidence that Kline refuses to take responsibility for his actions.