PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - There was an emotional legal setback today for the wife of the West Philadelphia abortion doctor charged with the murder of seven newborns and a woman patient (see related story).
Pearl Gosnell, the wife of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, is charged with lesser but still serious offenses including conspiracy.
Pearl Gosnell, 50, entered court today hoping for lower bail and freedom, and a chance to return to taking care of her 13-year-old daughter. But she left without an attorney, and still in custody.
Her attorney, Mary Maran, has been removed by the court because of a potential conflict of interest: Maran is a sometime professional associate of Kermit Gosnell’s attorney, Jack McMahon.
Judge Benjamin Lerner ruled that the risk of unfairness to Pearl Gosnell was just too great to allow Maran and McMahon to each represent one of the Gosnells, who may eventually end up on opposite sides of some legal issues.
“This protects Pearl Gosnell,” says Philadelphia prosecutor Christine Wechsler. “The judge is going to give her a new lawyer so she can make her own decisions independent of her husband and the other attorney. She can decide whether or not she is going to go to trial, whether she is going to plead guilty, if she is going to tesify against the doctor, if she would cooperate with the Commonwealth in this prosecution.”
Pearl Gosnell, who wanted to keep Maran as her attorney, cried at the judge’s ruling. Maran says Mrs. Gosnell is “devastated” after having spent so many hours with her working on her defense.
Judge Lerner is appointing a new attorney and bail will be considered later this month.
Reported by Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio 1060.