Trial under way for Kermit Gosnell, Philadelphia abortion doctor charged with murder

Defendant could receive death penalty if convicted

PHILADELPHIA - A lawyer for a Philadelphia abortion provider on trial for allegedly killing live babies and a woman patient called the murder case "an elitist, racist prosecution."

Defense lawyer Jack McMahon also accused city officials of "a prosecutorial lynching" of his client, who is black.

The fiery McMahon made the remarks in opening statements Monday in the capital murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Seven of the 12 jurors are black.

Prosecutors opened the murder trial by telling jurors Gosnell routinely performed late-term abortions by forcing women into labor and then killing their babies.

Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said Gosnell preyed, 72, on desperate women who were often beyond the legal limit for abortions.

And Pescatore said the unlicensed, untrained employees who helped carry out the gruesome procedures were equally desperate because they needed work.

She said investigators found $250,000 in cash at Gosnell's home in 2010, proof of the money he made from the abortion and pain clinic.

Pescatore said it was "standard practice" at his clinic was to "slay babies." But McMahon said city officials are applying "Mayo Clinic" standards to Gosnell's inner-city clinic in West Philadelphia.

Gosnell faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of seven infants allegedly born alive at his clinic.

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