Remaining felony charges against the pro-life duo behind last year’s Planned Parenthood leak were just dropped by the state of Texas. This came as a surprise to many pro-choice supporters who thought the pair would be convicted for what they believed to be a crime.
Last year, filmmakers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt released a film against Planned Parenthood which accused the institution of selling fetal tissue for profit. They were charged with second-degree tampering with a governmental record for the film.
The charges were based on the claim that the two used fake identification cards while making the video, and that Daleiden had attempted to purchase human organs.
The attorneys for the pair had spent much of the case claiming they should never have been indicted for the charge that could have landed them up to 20 years in prison. The duo’s attorneys also claimed that the District Attorney did not follow legal procedure throughout the court process.
On June 14th, the misdemeanor charge against Daleiden for attempting to purchase human organs was dropped. According to the judge, there was no reference in the prosecution to an exception laid out in the law prohibiting purchase and sale of human organs:
“The indictment’s failure to negate this exception renders it void.”
Those mentioned in the exception include those purchasing for usual clinical service and reimbursement for transportation for donation or legal and medical expenses.
With the indictment rendered void, there is no official ruling on Daleiden in terms of these exceptions.
But now, the District Judge Brock Thomas has dismissed the charges against Daleiden and Merritt after the Harris County prosecutor’s office requested the charges dropped.
After the misdemeanor charge against Daleiden was dropped last month, his spokesperson released this statement:
“The dismissal of the bogus, politically motivated charges against CMP project lead David Daleiden and investigator Sandra Merritt is a resounding vindication of the First Amendment rights of all citizen journalists, and also a clear warning to any – of Planned Parenthood’s political cronies who would attack whistleblowers to protect Planned Parenthood from scrutiny. Planned Parenthood tried to collude with public official to manipulate the legal process to their own benefit, and they failed. A year after the release of the undercover videos, the ongoing nationwide investigation of Planned Parenthood by the House Select Investigative Panel makes clear that Planned Parenthood is the guilty party in the harvesting and trafficking of baby parts for profit.”
When Daleiden and Merritt made the Planned Parenthood videos last year, they thought it may result in an indictment of Planned Parenthood for illegal selling of baby parts. Instead, however, they were indicted.
All the details aren’t clear on this case yet, but it looks like charges were dropped on technicalities and we may not see an honest judicial review of this case.