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No Preliminary Murder Hearing For West Philly Abortion Doctor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A Philadelphia judge has agreed with prosecutors on how to proceed in the case involving West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell and others allegedly involved in running a barbaric abortion clinic: they will bypass the preliminary hearing.

Prosecutor Christine Weschler argued that it would take weeks if not months to hold the hearing for Dr. Gosnell (above), his wife, Pearl, and eight other co-defendants who had various roles at the clinic.

"We've already established a prima facie case," she explained to reporters afterward.  "The work of the grand jury established that already."

Some defense lawyers sought the hearing because they wanted to cross-examine witnesses.  But Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes pointed out they'll get key evidence (called "discovery") within ten days, to better prepare their defense.

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Also, Gosnell has retained a defense lawyer after arguing unsuccessfully last week that he could not afford one and wanted a public defender (see related story). Gosnell has hired well-known criminal defense attorney Jack McMahon.

"It's totally unfair for him to be tried and convicted by everyone, including the papers, radio, and TV when in fact he hasn't had a single hearing on this," McMahon said to reporters this afternoon.

Gosnell and four others are charged with murder (see related story).  The others face lesser counts, and some of their lawyers will attempt to get them tried separately.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060; Walt Hunter, CBS 3 Eyewitness News.

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