Lawyers Prepare For Penalty Phase Of Gosnell Trial
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By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The jury in the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell is now taking a week off, as lawyers for both sides prepare for the penalty phase.
Yesterday, the courtroom quickly came to attention, once word broke that after two-weeks of deliberations, jurors had made up their minds.
Jurors, who deliberated for two-weeks, had come back late Monday morning with word that they were hung on two charges, but returned 4 hours later with the verdicts.
The foreman, a thirty-ish man with a beard carrying two clipboards, rose, and then read verdict sheets – first against co-defendant Eileen O’Neill – who was convicted of conspiracy and two of six counts of theft by deception for billing as a doctor, when she was unlicensed.
James Berardinelli represented O’Neill, “My client was acquitted of corruption organization, the main charge against her.”
Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s calm exterior turned to a furrowed brow as the guilty verdicts were read; defense lawyer Jack McMahon crossed his arms and shook his head.
All told, the 14-page verdict sheet on Dr. Gosnell contained 261-counts.
Defense lawyer Jack McMahon who represented Gosnell said, “Five different murders was a not guilty. Obviously, they paid attention. They didn’t just come down knee jerk and find him guilty of everything.”
Jurors found Gosnell not guilty in the death of the so-called whining baby – Baby E, and not guilty of third degree murder in the death of a patient. The judge previously dismissed three murder counts.
McMahon said it was a difficult, emotional case, “You have the baby factor, which is a big problem. The media has been overwhelmingly against him.”
But, he said those issues were just a byproduct of the trial. “The jury listened to the evidence. We presented an aggressive defense.”
Prosecutors Ed Cameron and Joanne Pescatore shook hands and hugged police crime scene investigators after the verdicts.
Gosnell did not take the stand during the six week long trial. McMahon was asked if he regrets not putting witnesses on the stand, including the defendant.
“I’ll be willing to talk about that later,” McMahon said. “But, right now, that’s not a proper thing to talk about at this juncture, since there’s still a jury potentially litigating some of the issues in this case.”
McMahon said he doesn’t know if he will put Gosnell on the stand next week for the penalty phase.