All Fined in 1st Set of Abortion Protest Trials

The first group of people to go to trial after their arrests during mass abortion protests have been convicted of trespassing and fined $150 each.

The seven defendants were convicted Tuesday by Municipal Court Commissioner James. L. Duchnick, who said the beliefs of protesters do not allow them to break the law.

Although the defendants "acted in good faith" during the demonstration April 29 at the Midway Medical Center, they also acted in "bad form and poor taste in the sense of their social relationship," Duchnick said. He ordered that the fines be paid within one month.

Duchnick said the defendants admitted committing "acts of physical interference and intimidation" when they testified during the 3 1/2-day trial.

An eighth defendant, Marie K. McClellan, pleaded no contest Wednesday and Duchnick ordered her to perform one day of community service.

Meanwhile, the trial of seven people facing misdemeanor conspiracy charges was delayed Wednesday because their defense attorney appears on a videotape that will be submitted as prosecution evidence.

Because Los Angeles attorney Gregory John Anthony is seen on a police videotape talking to demonstrators, he is a potential witness, according to Deputy City Atty. Peter Hughes, who is prosecuting the alleged conspirators. An attorney cannot testify in a trial he is litigating, Hughes said.

Anthony said his appearance in the tape is "irrelevant."

Furthermore, prosecutors told Municipal Judge John M. Thompson that Anthony was involved in a potential conflict of interest because he is representing more than one client who is accused of the same crime.

Thompson ruled that Anthony must produce a written waiver from each defendant acknowledging the potential conflict. Of the three defendants in court Wednesday, two consented to keep Anthony as their attorney.

"The bottom line is (that) we should have had that information a month ago," Hughes said, lamenting the latest in a series of delays in the trial.

Earlier, Thompson, who had ordered Anthony to contact all of his clients, said: "I'm frankly tired of sitting around."

The trial of at least two defendants, Constance Youngkin and Frank B. Smith, is scheduled to begin Thursday with jury selection.

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