Sirens & Gavels

Man in abortion-clinic threat to plead guilty

A Spokane man accused of threatening to kill family members of a Colorado abortion doctor is scheduled to plead guilty to federal charges.

Donald Hertz, 70, is scheduled to enter the plea on April 5. He was too ill to attend a plea hearing that had been scheduled today in Denver, according to court documents.

Hertz is required to attend the court hearings in person after a judge denied his request to transfer to the case to Eastern Washington District Court. His doctors have written letters saying that travel and Colorado's high elevation could be hazardous to Hertz's ongoing medical issues.

Hertz was charged in August for a phone call authorities say he made on June 23 to the Boulder Abortion Clinic that threatened members of Dr. Warren Hern's family. Hern is a friend of slain abortion doctor George Tiller.

Two days before Hertz allegedly made the threats, The Spokesman-Review ran a front page story detailing Hern's late-term abortion practice and the increase in business he's seen since Tiller's murder.

Hertz is charged with making an interstate threat and violating a 1994 law that protects access to reproductive health services. He faces up to six years in prison.

Past coverage:

Spokane man accused of threatening Colorado abortion doctor




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