Writing from the Pennsylvania prison where he is serving three consecutive life terms, former West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and the Daily News.
The 14-page typed document, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, contends that public comments by Williams and Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron, and two 2015 articles in the Daily News, "compromised [Gosnell's] rights as a defendant for due process of law and a fair trial."
"Slander, libel and defamation should not be allowable even after a conviction. . . . A person's integrity and good name need be respected by ethical conduct until the process of appeal and sentence correction has been exhausted," Gosnell wrote.
"Fair trial" appears to refer to a motion he filed in December in federal court to vacate or correct an illegal sentence.
The motion, which is pending, involves a 30-year federal prison term imposed in December 2013 after he pleaded guilty to charges that he ran a "pill mill" in which he sold dangerous narcotics under the guise of a "pain management clinic."
The federal prison term is concurrent to three consecutive life terms that Gosnell, 75, received in May 2013 for his Philadelphia Common Pleas Court conviction for the murder of three babies who a jury found were born alive during illegal late-term abortions.
Gosnell is in the state prison in Huntingdon, near State College.
Williams' office had no immediate comment on the lawsuit. Daily News editor Michael Days had no comment.
Gosnell's lawsuit accuses the Daily News of falsely "maliciously sensationalizing" his case.
"The demeaning and monsterization has included front-page headlines, articles, editorials and even cartoons," Gosnell wrote. "Irreparable harm has been effected upon [Gosnell] and his family for which rectification and compensation is warranted."
The lawsuit specifically names as defendants former Daily News reporter Dana DiFilippo and Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky.
The suit cites an April 18, 2015, column by Polaneczky on neighbor complaints about Gosnell's deteriorating Mantua home. It also cites a June 11, 2015, news article by DiFilippo - now employed at WHYY NewsWorks - about a memorial service by antiabortion activists for fetal remains found in Gosnell's Women's Medical Society clinic at 3801 Lancaster Ave.
Gosnell contends that Williams and Cameron, a city prosecutor who handled Gosnell's trial, sensationalized and misrepresented abortion law in filing criminal charges against him.
Supplemented with pages of trial transcripts, Gosnell's suit seems to be trying to re-litigate issues raised at trial.
Gosnell never appealed his federal or state convictions. In the federal case, Gosnell agreed to waive his appeal rights as part of his guilty plea. In the state case, after the jury's verdict, Gosnell agreed to waive his appeal rights if the prosecution agreed not to seek the death penalty.