PHILADELPHIA (AP) — In a somewhat unusual move, Philadelphia prosecutors are expected to seek mercy this week for three women being sentenced for murder for their work at an abortion clinic whose operator was found guilty of killing babies born alive.

Prosecutors admit the women were desperate, and each has given testimony that helped send clinic owner Dr. Kermit Gosnell to prison for life.

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His former underlings include medical assistants Lynda Williams, Sherry West and Adrienne Moton. They are due in court Wednesday to be sentenced for third-degree murder in the deaths of babies or an oversedated patient.

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Defense lawyers call the women naive, untrained and uneducated. West’s lawyer, Michael Wallace, says Gosnell had a “Svengali control” over the women.

Wallace says if it were up to him, his client would get probation.

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