Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline spent more than two years investigating a nationally known abortion provider, but he will likely leave office next month with little to show for it.
A judge on Wednesday refused to reinstate the 30 criminal charges Kline filed against Dr. George Tiller, and Kline's successor said Thursday that he will not keep the special prosecutor Kline appointed to the case.
Democrat Paul Morrison, who defeated Kline in November and takes office as attorney general on Jan. 8, would not completely rule out an investigation into Tiller.
But he told The Associated Press that any investigation will not involve Kline's special prosecutor. Kline had named Wichita attorney Don McKinney to the case on Wednesday, saying that doing so would keep politics out of the investigation. But McKinney, who had campaigned for Kline, is viewed as a strong anti-abortion activist.
"He is extraordinarily political and, in my opinion, would absolutely not present any kind of independent perspective," Morrison said Thursday.
A Kline spokesman said the attorney general was unavailable Thursday morning for comment.
Kline had waged a successful two-year legal battle to get patient records from Tiller and other abortion providers. He filed charges against Tiller on Dec. 21, accusing the doctor of illegally using the mental health concerns of patients to justify late-term abortions and of failing to properly report procedures to the state.
Sedgwick County District Judge Paul W. Clark dismissed the charges on Dec. 22, citing a jurisdiction problem, and then refused this week to reinstate them.
Tiller is among the few doctors in the U.S. who perform late-term abortions. His clinic was bombed in 1985, and a protester shot him in both arms eight years later. He also helped finance hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of advertising aimed at defeating Kline in 2002 and 2006.
After Kline lost, abortion rights supporters expected him to move against Tiller before leaving office.