Kamala Harris-Initiated Criminal Case Against Planned Parenthood Video Journalists Heads to Trial

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

The criminal case against the undercover video journalists who exposed the fetal tissue trafficking activity of Planned Parenthood and its allies in the biomedical procurement industry is headed to trial.

Former California Attorney General Kamala Harris, now a U.S. senator and former 2020 presidential candidate, initiated the case against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of Center for Medical Progress. When Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate, her successor, current Attorney General Xavier Becerra, continued the case.

The undercover citizen journalists were charged with 15 felony counts, 14 counts of illegal recording of confidential conversations and one count of conspiracy. The case makes them the first undercover journalists to be criminally prosecuted in the history of the state of California.

On Friday, Judge Christopher Hite of San Francisco Superior Court announced nine of the felony charges had sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. Hite dropped the remaining six charges.

Daleiden said in a statement:

Former California Attorney General Kamala Harris concocted this bogus, biased prosecution with her Planned Parenthood backers against undercover video reporting, and now their case is falling apart as the facts about Planned Parenthood’s criminal organ trafficking are revealed in the courtroom. The remaining charges under the California video recording law—the first and only time it has ever been used against undercover news gatherers—will fall for the same reasons that five charges were dismissed today: these were public conversations easily overheard by third parties. The real criminals are the Planned Parenthood leadership who sold fetal body parts from late-term abortions and weaponized the justice system to try to cover it up.

Daleiden is represented by the Thomas More Society and Merritt by Liberty Counsel.

Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel Peter Breen, said he was “very pleased” by the judge’s decision to throw out five more charges.

“As to the remaining counts, we have strong defenses that we intend to vigorously pursue on appeal, until every last one of these specious felony charges are thrown out of court,” he added.

Breen continued that Daleiden used the same practices other undercover journalists have used to expose corruption.

“David Daleiden is being charged as a criminal for openly delivering information that the public has a right to know, information that the abortion lobby and its financially supported elected officials would rather keep hidden,” he said. “This prosecution by the State of California is an abuse of the justice system, and we are confident that, in the end, we will totally vindicate David.”

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver referred to the case as an “unprecedented political prosecution” that is “being dismissed, piece-by-piece.”

“No journalist has ever been charged for investigative reporting,” he asserted. “The attorney general is allowing politics to drive him rather than the rule of law. We are confident that Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong and we will continue to fight to exonerate her on all charges.”

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