Inconsistencies with Kent’s 1981 court testimony

This is a brief analysis of a 1981 Courier-Post article highlighting some of the major inconsistencies between what attorney Edward Kent stated during his testimony, and what actually took place during Michelle’s adoption process.

This post briefly discusses these troubling issues, which are obvious in this one article alone, and questions why the State of New Jersey did not do more to review the adoptions Kent arranged once they discovered what he had done. Much of the information in this article, which was taken directly from Kent’s sworn testimony, contradicts Hollie’s experiences, and also some of the details provided to Michelle by her adoptive father in 2017.

This post also discusses testimony provided by another biological mother involved in the case (not Hollie) whom Edward Kent offered money to if she would lie to investigators about his involvement. Though we currently do not have evidence, it seems very possible this woman was manipulated by Kent, or someone on his behalf, into withholding information during her testimony. Again, we currently do not have any evidence to prove this, but her testimony about forgetting virtually everything about the adoption of her baby is very troubling and honestly difficult to believe. 

Here is the original article text: Our brief analysis is provided below in italics below the bold red sections.

CAMDEN — A woman who was to have been the state’s chief witness against a Willingboro lawyer charged with acting as an illegal intermediary in a series of adoptions was able to recall only sketchy information about the case yesterday. When first called by Deputy Attorney General Nancy Singer, the woman said she couldn’t remember anything about her pregnancy in 1977, her meeting with attorney Edward Kent or the couple who adopted her baby.

It is extremely difficult to believe this woman was unable to remember anything about her pregnancy, or the adoption of her baby, just a few years earlier, despite previously providing hours of testimony for the grand jury. While this understandably could have have been a very traumatic experience for her, even under the worst circumstances it seems more likely that a woman would remember some details about placing her child for adoption. It’s more believable that she was scared and/or being influenced in some way by Edward Kent, or someone on his behalf, into withholding information — especially since he previously attempted to bribe her to lie to investigators. Again, we have no evidence at this time to support these claims except for what we’ve already established that proves Kent’s willingness to lie, and his disregard for the law that he took a professional oath to uphold.

Here is a quote from a 1978 Courier-Post article discussing his attempt to bribe her[read full article]
“The indictment also charges that when Kent learned that the Camden County prosecutor’s office was investigating circumstances surrounding the placement of the children, he tried to convince one of the mothers to mislead investigators and withhold information. It further charges that Kent offered to pay the mother if she lied to investigators.”

When pressed by Superior Court Judge Peter J. Coruzzi, the witness remembered coming to the Camden Courthouse in February 1978 to testify in connection with an investigation of three adoptions. But she couldn’t recall whether she lied during that testimony. She gave birth to a baby May 1, 1977, and turned it over five days later to a woman she could not identify. At the time, she was living in Burlington Township. Despite strong objections from defense attorney Carl Poplar, Singer read portions of her grand jury testimony into the record. The case is being heard without a jury.

It is strange that Kent’s attorney objected to the testimony of one of the biological mothers if Kent actually acted in “limited capacity” as he claimed. If that were the case, her testimony should have been welcomed by the defense because it would have supported claims that he was not as involved in the adoptions as he was being charged with. It is very unfortunate that the court didn’t press harder to not only ensure justice was served for Kent, but especially for the biological mothers and babies involved in this case. Based on the obvious issues with the adoptions Kent arranged, plus the complete lack of any pre-placement screenings, a separate investigation should have been initiated by the State of New Jersey (DYFS, now DCF) to ensure these children were placed with families actually fit to adopt, and to verify all of the information that was previously obtained from the adoptive parents, birth mothers, and others involved with the adoptions. This never happened.

Six days of pre-trial motions were needed to compile transcripts of tape recorded conversations between Kent and yesterday’s witness. Poplar is expected to ask the court to exclude some of these tapes from evidence. Kent, 55, is charged with obstruction of justice and three counts of acting as an intermediary in the adoptions. Poplar said his client, who specializes in matrimonial matters, did tell pregnant women who did not want to keep their children after birth that he would pass on their names to couples seeking to adopt children. Poplar said Kent told both the natural and adoptive parents that he could not make any arrangements for the adoption. He said Kent’s involvement ended at that point. 

We cannot express enough how FALSE all of this is. Our family never reached out to Edward Kent — the Ob/Gyn did — because they were friends & had a pre-existing arrangement for these types of situations. Though we currently do not have much proof, we believe there was a substantial financial motive for both, far beyond the amounts Kent stated in court. In the adoption records we’ve been able to obtain, articles, and from conversations Michelle had with her adoptive father, we’ve learned there was an initial retainer fee paid to Edward Kent by the adoptive parents. However, based on what Michelle’s adoptive father told her in 2017, this was not the only money they paid to Kent, despite what was stated in court. At the time of Michelle’s placement, there was also an adoption fee required, along with all court and legal fees. The adoptive parents were also required to pay for Hollie’s medical and hospital expenses. The Ob/Gyn, who somehow avoided being dragged into this case, also had a strong potential financial motive in the form of insurance fraud. Hollie had excellent health insurance throughout the pregnancy, yet the adoptive parents were still required to pay for her medical and hospital expenses. We believe, despite this payment by the adoptive parents, the Ob/Gyn billed insurance for her care anyway, and possibly pocketed the difference. Kent likely would have just kept the payment he received from the adoptive parents for Hollie’s supposed medical expenses. We are hoping to find evidence of the insurance fraud aspect of these adoptions in the coming months. Thankfully health insurance companies keep meticulous financial records so we’re hopeful… (stay tuned!) After Michelle’s birth, the Ob/Gyn contacted Kent directly, who then began the process with the adoptive parents. Despite his testimony, Kent was actively involved in the entire process from start to finish and was heavily involved with Hollie — even visiting her in the hospital to fill out paperwork when her parents were not present (she was a minor at the time.) He had Hollie complete the birth certificate application form, and afterward, he took it from her and either he (or someone on his behalf) fraudulently altered the form to eliminate Michelle’s intended name, and sanitize any other information on the form that would make it seem that Michelle was actually ‘wanted’ by her family. As a result, her name was then officially listed on the original birth certificate as “Baby Girl” making it appear that she was unwanted, unloved — and ultimately, easier to get the adoption approved. He lied about all of this during his court testimony. 

Yesterday’s witness said she met Kent only once prior to the birth of her child and that she called him to set up the meeting. She did not speak to him again until requested to do so by members of the Camden County prosecutor’s staff, who were investigating allegations that the lawyer participated in several adoptions. 

Again, this is very difficult to believe considering Kent’s very heavy involvement with Hollie after Michelle’s birth. This sounds like something Kent instructed her to say. Again, our family did not initiate contact with Kent, and all contact with Kent after Michelle’s birth was initiated directly by Hollie’s Ob/Gyn.

The adoptions occurred between December 1976 and May 1977. 

During pre-trial motions in the case last week, reporters agreed to withhold the names of the women who gave up their children for adoption and the couples who adopted the babies.


View Original Article: Click here to view a JPG of the original newspaper article

You can read more of the articles about this case here.