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Department of Justice Attorneys Uncover Suspected Criminal Activity by Abortion Provider While Litigating Case Now Before SCOTUS; Provider Tries to Hide Evidence from SCOTUS and Prosecutors

Upholding their obligations and duties at the Louisiana DOJ to refer alleged criminal activity for investigation and prosecution, attorneys today filed a writ of mandamus with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting the unsealing of information so that a criminal referral can move forward against a staff member at a Shreveport abortion provider.

BATON ROUGE, LA - The attempt by June Medical Services (d/b/a Hope Medical Group) to hide evidence of criminal and professional misconduct discovered in pending litigation is leading attorneys for the Louisiana Department of Justice to ask a federal appeals court to intervene and permit reporting to appropriate authorities. The potential criminal conduct was discovered during the LADOJ's work defending State laws regulating abortion providers. A companion case regarding whether Hope Medical Group can adequately represent its patients is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I am deeply concerned about the basic health and safety of Louisiana women. And Hope's continued efforts to hide this information from the Supreme Court and to block reporting to proper authorities casts serious doubt on Hope and its abortion providers' claims that it represents the interests of Louisiana women. As DOJ officers, if we learn of potentially criminal activity during litigation, we have a legal obligation to report it to criminal investigators and licensing authorities," said Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill. "We also have a basic legal duty to protect the public from dangerous behavior when we learn of it. Shockingly, Hope Medical Group is refusing to unseal this evidence and permit us to carry out our legal duties."

The information that was uncovered would normally lead the LADOJ to make a criminal referral. However, the presiding federal judge has sealed a large number of important documents and information regarding the case. The LADOJ is asking the appeals court to vacate that order.

The district court litigation is captioned June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee, No. 16-444, and is one of three challenges filed by Hope Medical Group to abortion-related health and safety laws. The companion case in the Supreme Court is Gee v. June Medical Services, LLC, No. 18-1460, in which Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill is defending a State law (RS 40:1061.10) that requires an abortion clinic's medical staff to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital consistent with laws involving doctor licensing and ambulatory surgery center licensing requirements.