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Woman in abortion case asks court to suppress medical records

Gary Grado//November 23, 2015

Woman in abortion case asks court to suppress medical records

Gary Grado//November 23, 2015

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A woman accused of faking cancer to receive a state-paid, mid-term abortion is trying to prevent prosecutors from using her doctors and the medical records against her.

Chalice Zeitner’s attorney, Adam Schwartz, has asked a court to suppress the information gathered from six doctors who treated her, asserting that she never gave the required consent for them to disclose her medical history.

Schwartz also asked Maricopa County Superior Court to declare Arizona’s statute pertaining to subpoenas unconstitutional, arguing that it gives prosecutors unchecked power to snoop into a person’s life.

“In no other setting may prosecutors unilaterally compel to production of privacy protected documents,” Schwartz wrote. “No judge reviews their application for the subpoena, and no grand jury must be convinced of the justness of their search and seizure.”

Schwartz wrote in a motion filed Nov. 10 the grand jury subpoena used to get records from the Mayo Clinic was faulty to begin with because the Attorney General’s Office didn’t follow the law and report the issuance of the subpoena to the grand jury foreman.

Attorney General spokeswoman Mia Garcia said the acquisition of the evidence was “entirely lawful.”

Zeitner stands accused of fraud, identity theft and theft charges in connection with tricking doctors into believing she needed a second-trimester abortion to allow her to go through cancer treatment. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System paid approximately $6,000 for the 2010 abortion.

Zeitner was 22 weeks pregnant when she produced a forged letter stating she was about to undergo intense cancer treatment. She returned to her obstetrician-gynecologist a few months later pregnant again, and the doctor determined through a Cesarean procedure she had never undergone surgery to remove cancer.

She’s also charged with a host of offenses in connection with another alleged fraud scheme and drunken driving.

The court is in the process of determining whether Zeitner is mentally competent to stand trial.

The Attorney General’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, has yet to respond to Schwartz’s motions, and a spokeswoman did not respond for comment for this story.

Schwartz wrote that the attorney general used a subpoena to order the Mayo Clinic to turn over Zeitner’s records.

Investigative records show she got the abortion in April 2010 and visited the Mayo Clinic four months later for head pains.

The Mayo doctor, Christopher Lipinski, noted in the records that Zeitner’s medical history was “bizarre,” and he also discovered she was pregnant again, according to investigative reports.

Lipinski also noted that Zeitner wouldn’t allow him to examine her surgical scars from her cancer surgery.

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