HOUSTON, Texas — Lawyers representing an indicted activist connected with undercover expose videos of Planned Parenthood urged in motions filed on Thursday that at a “press conference, Mr. Josh Schaffer, counsel for Planned Parenthood, boasted that he ‘explicitly pushed prosecutors’ to charge Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt.”
The lawyers for David Daleiden filed motions to quash the indictments in Harris County, Texas on the grounds that: (1) prosecutors have systematically leaked grand jury proceedings to unauthorized persons and violated his constitutional rights; and (2) the grand jury was without proper authority to issue the indictments because the order holding them over to a new term lacked the legal requirements.
As reported by Breitbart Texas after a press conference in Houston on Thursday, lawyers for David Daleiden, the journalist who is connected with the Center for Medical Progress undercover videos, accused Harris County prosecutors of being in collusion with Planned Parenthood. After the press conference, Breitbart Texas spoke with lawyer Jared Woodfill who said, “We have clear evidence that the D.A. is colluding with Planned Parenthood.” The Office of the District Attorney in Harris County is led by Republican D.A. Devon Anderson.
Breitbart Texas has obtained the motions to quash the felony and misdemeanor indictments of Daleiden (attached below) which include allegations about the close connection between prosecutors and legal counsel for Planned Parenthood.
On page 3 of both motions to quash it states:
- Mr. Schaffer further stated that during the grand jury proceedings, he and prosecutors maintained a ‘dialogue . . . about the details of the case, and kept that going throughout.’
- Schaffer further stated that prosecutors confided in him that the grand jury’s focus had later ‘shifted’ to Daleiden,
- that the grand jury never took an up-or-down vote on a bill (a possible indictment) for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, the entity whose crimes they were charged to investigate, and
- that prosecutors did not call a single witness from PPGC before the grand jury.
The lawyers also assert that “The Josh Schaffer press conference, on behalf of PPGC (Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast), wherein Mr. Schaffer explicitly states he was kept abreast of the Grand Jury’s happenings by someone from the prosecutor’s office clearly proves the secrecy of these proceedings were severely compromised.”
The motions also complain that “throughout the investigation, prosecutors did not provide similar details about the grand jury proceedings to Mr. Daleiden’s counsel, which they presumably/customarily and ethically would have, if Mr. Daleiden had also been a target of the grand jury’s investigation during its original term.”
“To further demonstrate collusion with pro-abortion lawyers, an attorney for the National Abortion Foundation, Mr. Derek Foran, announced to the world via The New York Times that he had insider information and ‘learned about the indictments in Texas about a half-hour before they were publicly announced,'” the lawyers for Daleiden charge. Both motions charge that “it is well settled that no person may disclose the existence of an indictment as it is to be kept secret until the defendant is in custody or has been released on bond pending trial.”
They add, “the fact that the prosecutor held a press conference, stating the findings of the Grand Jury, and then publicly released copies of the indictments online the very same day–well before Mr. Daleiden had been brought in for the charges–give further evidence that the duty to keep the proceedings secret was breached.”
The lawyers also urge that on January 25, 2016 following Daleiden’s testimony before the grand jury on January 14, “the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced via press release that the ‘hold over’ grand jury returned indictments, not against PPGC, which it had been presumably been previously investigating, but against Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Sandra Merritt. In direct violation of Texas law, the indictments were immediately made available to the public for download on the internet.”
Immediate past president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association (HCLA), Houston lawyer Carmen Roe told Breitbart Texas, “It’s an unusual move for prosecutor’s to publicly announce an indictment on a felony charge when a defendant is not in custody or on bond. This type of premature announcement, particularly in a high profile case, can create safety concerns for the public and law enforcement.”
The motions filed on behalf of Daleiden in the felony and misdemeanor cases ask the criminal court judges to quash the charging instruments. They argue that “The grand jury acted without proper authority” and the indictment “is legally invalid because it was not rendered during the grand jury’s original term, and the grand jury failed to comply with, or otherwise exceeded the authority they were granted pursuant to the vague and ambiguous ‘hold over’ order” holding over the grand jury past its term. Counsel for Daleiden complains that “the prosecutor failed to specifically state or articulate any specific individual or case that the grand jury would be holding over to investigate.” They urge that the order is thus deficient because it lacks the specificity required by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
Daleiden’s lawyers charge that “the prosecutors have systematically leaked Grand Jury proceedings to unauthorized persons.” They argue, “There is no justifiable basis for this conduct and granting this Motion to Quash the Indictments is the only appropriate remedy.” They urge that “The cumulative effect of the above-listed actions violated Mr. Daleiden’s due process rights,” the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, and the due course of law provision of the Texas Constitution. They urge this has “caused him irreparable harm” and the “tainted grand jury indictment [should] be quashed.”
Terry Yates told Breitbart Texas, “As a whistelblower to the atrocities committed at Planned Parenthood, my client and Sandra Merritt are heroes, not criminals.” He added, “The powerful Planned Parenthood abortion money-making machine are coming back and hitting my client hard. In doing so, they are being not only vindictive, but are feverishly working to detract from their behavior at these baby-killing, baby-part selling clinics.”
Both Daleiden and Merritt are well-known for the series of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives and employees. Breitbart News’ reported last August that a video released by the Center for Medical Progress taken undercover at the Houston Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast clinic “shows a Planned Parenthood research director discussing the sale of whole intact aborted babies to a company that resells them to medical researchers.”
After it was released, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick immediately publicly condemned the video, the fifth in the CMP video series, and asked Harris County D.A. Devon Anderson to conduct an investigation, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
While there have been no indictments involving Planned Parenthood, Daleiden and Merritt were indicted for felony tampering with a government record. Daleiden was also indicted for the misdemeanor charge of offering to buy fetal tissue.
The motions filed today both state in a footnote that “the press release from the District Attorney’s Office asserted affirmatively that, ‘This grand jury cleared PPGC of breaking the law'” and references “Exhibit ‘E.'”