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Court Halts Criminal Proceedings Against Planned Parenthood Video Journalists

David Daleiden, right, one of the two anti-abortion activists indicted last week, leaves the courtroom with attorney's Peter Breen, left, and Terry Yates, center, after turning himself in to authorities Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Houston. Daleiden and Sandra Merritt are charged with tampering with a governmental record, a felony …
AP Photo/Bob Levey
DR. SUSAN BERRY

The California Supreme Court granted an emergency stay on Friday in the criminal proceedings against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) journalists who produced the undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s alleged practice of harvesting and selling the body parts of aborted babies for profit.

The court hearing in the case against Daleiden and Merritt – which was to have begun Monday in San Francisco Superior Court – has been suspended until further notice.

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye stopped preliminary hearings against the journalists until the court can review the contents of a motion filed by Liberty Counsel, which is representing Merritt against 15-count felony criminal charges. The motion seeks to recuse California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his office from prosecuting the criminal complaint.

Though both Becerra and his predecessor, Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris, have pledged publicly to “stand with Planned Parenthood,” and have accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the abortion vendor, the trial court had previously refused to dismiss the criminal charges against the journalists.

“We are pleased that the California Supreme Court is considering a closer look at the well documented bias and illegal collusion between Attorney General Becerra and his Planned Parenthood financiers,” said Horatio Mihet, vice president of legal affairs and chief litigation counsel at Liberty Counsel. “Sandra Merritt did not violate any law, and we are confident that the evidence will demonstrate that California’s first-ever prosecution of an undercover journalist for illegal recording is selective and discriminatory.”

Following Cantil-Sakauye’s stay of “all further proceedings,” California Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite also vacated the preliminary hearings against Daleiden and Merritt, reported the Thomas More Society, which represents Daleiden.

In a press statement, Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society president and chief counsel, welcomed the stay of the criminal proceedings, adding the appeal raises a “critical issue,” specifically, “whether a prosecutor may exercise his or her powers to enforce the criminal laws on a selective, politically discriminatory basis.”

In January, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals discredited the smear by Planned Parenthood and its allies in the abortion industry that the videos produced by CMP were “heavily edited” or “doctored.”

In December 2017, based on documents and referral from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Department of Justice reportedly launched a federal investigation into the allegations that Planned Parenthood and its allies in the biomedical procurement industry profited from the sale of the body parts of aborted babies.

Breitbart News reached out to the Justice Department Monday to confirm the existence of the investigation. Peter Carr, spokesman for the department, responded, “As a matter of policy, the department generally neither confirms nor denies whether a matter is under investigation.”

The case is California v. Daleiden, No. 250250517006621, in Superior Court of California, San Francisco County.

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