Criminal charges were filed Thursday against a state trooper accused of detaining a couple after he stopped them for speeding and learned they were on their way to an abortion clinic.

Four counts of unlawful imprisonment and official misconduct were filed against trooper Lane W. Jackstadt in King County Superior Court."We have carefully reviewed the facts and have concluded that criminal charges are warranted," Attorney General Christine Gregoire said. "The issue in this case is whether Mr. Jackstadt abused his power as an officer of the state patrol."

Under state sentencing guidelines, he could face up to eight months in prison if convicted, the attorney general's office said.

Jackstadt stopped Deanna Thomas, 18, and Justin Coper, 20, for speeding July 27. The couple contend that when he found out they were on their way to a clinic for an abortion appointment, he detained them against their will for about 45 minutes and then led them to a counseling session at a church camp.

The woman later had an abortion anyway.

Jackstadt's lawyer, Thomas Olmstead, said his client was being singled out for his views opposing abortion and was a "political prisoner." He maintains Jackstadt broke no laws and the incident had been misrepresented, though he would not say in what way.

"Every police officer who has ever made a mistake will now be looking over their shoulder to see if they will be charged with a felony," Olmstead said.