By Dave Andrusko
Notorious abortionist Steven Brigham waived extradition today and will return to Maryland from New Jersey, where he is currently being held on $3 million bail. Brigham is charged with five counts of first-degree murder and other charges.
The Baltimore Sun’s Peter Hermann writes that a second abortionist, Nicola Riley, charged with one count each of first-and second-degree murder, made a brief appearance in Salt Lake County District Court. Prosecutors there and in Cecil County, Maryland are discussing the next step, according to Hermann.
Riley could fight extradition or all sides could get together “to agree on a bail, for Riley to post it and voluntarily return to Maryland to face the charges,” Hermann reports. Salt Lake County Deputy District Attorney Jeff Hall said “Riley also could waive extradition and be ‘transported back to Maryland.’”
According to Hermann, “Elkton police have said that at least one of the murder charges for each defendant relates to a botched abortion performed in Elkton 16 months ago.” However the full scope of the investigation remains sealed as part of a grand jury investigation, “and won’t be revealed until the defendants are back in Maryland and arraigned in court,” according to Hermann. “Defense attorneys have said they have not been able to obtain a copy of the indictment.”
Thus the exact basis on which Brigham and Riley have been charged remains unclear. Maryland’s abortion law is among the most permissive in the country, so loose that when abortionist LeRoy Carhart was looking for a new place to abort babies late in pregnancy, he chose Maryland.
The Cecil County, Maryland grand jury began what turned out to be a 16-month criminal investigation following an August 2010, complaint from an 18-year-old New Jersey woman who had been critically injured during an abortion begun in New Jersey and completed in Maryland by Riley.
Four days later, in an August 17, 2010, raid on the Elkton, Maryland abortion clinic police “found 35 late-term fetuses in a freezer, several just a few weeks shy of full term,” according to Marie McCullough of the Philadelphia Inquirer. (Reuters reports that “Maryland prosecutors have declined to comment on how the murder charges are tied to the botched abortion or the frozen fetuses.” )
Although never licensed in Maryland, Brigham “routinely performed abortions in Elkton, as he admitted to New Jersey regulators at his October 2010 hearing,” McCullough wrote. “His claim that Maryland law allowed him to serve as an unlicensed ‘consultant’ to the clinic ‘medical director’– an 88-year-old disabled doctor hired by Brigham –was rejected by regulators in both states [New Jersey and Maryland].”
The botched 2010 abortion “led regulators to order Brigham to stop practicing medicine in Maryland without a license, and Riley’s Maryland license was suspended” in September, the Associated Press reported. “Brigham’s New Jersey license was also suspended, leaving him without a valid license in any state, and New Jersey authorities are pursuing revocation of his license there.”
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