The preliminary hearing in the criminal case against the video journalists who exposed the alleged participation of Planned Parenthood in the sale of aborted baby body parts for profit began Tuesday.
David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of Center for Medical Progress (CMP) are the journalists who went undercover to expose the fetal tissue trafficking practices of Planned Parenthood and its partners in the abortion and medical procurement industries.
The two journalists are defending themselves against felony charges brought by former California Attorney General Kamala Harris, now a U.S. senator and 2020 Democrat presidential candidate, and her successor, Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
— CMP (@CtrMedProgress) September 3, 2019
According to the Thomas More Society (TMS), Planned Parenthood claims Daleiden’s investigative video work is a “fraudulent scheme to ‘tar and cripple’ Planned Parenthood.”
The abortion business also asserts Daleiden and his colleagues “committed an invasion of privacy and fraudulently represented themselves as a business partner in the aborted baby body parts industry,” said TMS.
In addition, Planned Parenthood claims CMP intentionally recorded confidential communications in violation of California law, even though the conversations occurred in settings in which there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.
Liberty Counsel noted that while the court dismissed several of Planned Parenthood’s trespass claims against Merritt, it still said Merritt and others are liable for trespassing as a matter of law. A jury is to decide, then, whether the alleged trespassing caused recoverable damages, though Liberty Counsel stated that ruling is “flawed,” since the CMP investigators were invited onto the properties by Planned Parenthood.
Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel said:
Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit is nothing but an attempt to bully and silence the truth about its grisly abortion practice,” said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The Supreme Court has ruled that RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations] cannot be used to silence free speech and that is precisely what Planned Parenthood is seeking to accomplish. Planned Parenthood will not succeed.
National pro-life leader Kristan Hawkins said today’s hearings will serve to give Americans another close look at Planned Parenthood’s participation in the fetal tissue trafficking industry.
“As abortionists take the stand this week, people will have no excuses for ignorance of Planned Parenthood’s use of infant baby body parts, which they collected and sold after illegally-altered abortion methods,” said Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.
Harris’s political career has been entwined with abortion giant Planned Parenthood from its inception.
In 2016, when she was still California’s attorney general and a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Hawkins and her organization protested what they saw as Harris’s abuse of power.
The former attorney general had received thousands of dollars in contributions from Planned Parenthood for her re-election campaign – and then her Senate campaign – and subsequently her office seized Daleiden’s personal property.
“I was proud to stand with the pro-life generation today and call for the resignation of California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a corrupt politician bought and paid for by Planned Parenthood and their allies,” said Hawkins in a statement to Breitbart News at the time.
“It wasn’t until AG Harris was called out in the media for her lack of urgency when it came to investigating David Daleiden that she sent a small army of agents to raid David’s one-bedroom apartment,” she added.
Following the raid on Daleiden’s apartment, the video journalist released the following statement:
Today, the California Attorney General’s office of Kamala Harris, who was elected with tens of thousands of dollars from taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood, seized all video footage showing Planned Parenthood’s criminal trade in aborted baby parts, in addition to my personal information. Ironically, while seizing my First Amendment work product, they ignored documents showing the illicit scheme between StemExpress and Planned Parenthood. This is no surprise–Planned Parenthood’s bought-and-paid-for AG has steadfastly refused to enforce the law against the baby body parts traffickers in our state, or even investigate them–while at the same time doing their bidding to harass and intimidate citizen journalists. We will pursue all remedies to vindicate our First Amendment rights.
In September 2016, emails obtained by the Washington Times showed that Harris’s office collaborated with Planned Parenthood to produce legislation that targeted Daleiden.
The emails, according to the Times, were accessed through a public records request, and revealed conversations between officials of Harris’s office and Planned Parenthood regarding legislation that would criminalize undercover journalists for publishing and distributing recordings of private communications with abortion providers.
According to the Times:
The documents are another indication of Ms. Harris‘ close relationship with Planned Parenthood and call into question the impartiality of her ongoing investigation of Mr. Daleiden, legal experts said.
The emails show Beth Parker, chief legal counsel for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, sending multiple drafts of AB 1671 to Jill Habig, who was at the time special counsel to the attorney general.
“Attached is the language for AB 1671, proposed amendments to Penal Code section 632,” Ms. Parker wrote in an email marked March 8. “I look forward to your thoughts about this.”
Ms. Parker sent a revised draft of the legislation to Ms. Habig on March 16. “Here’s the rewrite of the video tape bill,” she wrote. “Let me know what you think.”
Habig later became deputy manager of Harris’s U.S. Senate campaign, the website of which featured a petition asking voters to support and protect Planned Parenthood’s federal funding.
Former Los Angeles district attorney Steve Cooley – who later represented Daleiden – referred to Harris’s level of involvement in the Planned Parenthood legislation to punish undercover journalists as “extraordinary.”
“It is common to work on legislation pending before the California state legislature — the attorney general’s office does occasionally weigh in,” Cooley said, according to the Times. “It is extraordinary to collaborate with a particular entity on what is clearly legislation of specific benefit to them.”
The case is The People of the State of California v. Daleiden, at the Superior Court of the State of California, San Francisco.