A Harris County grand jury has indicted two Center for Medical Progress investigators — specifically, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt – while declining to indict Planned Parenthood. This comes after the Center for Medical Progress released an investigation last year into the sales of aborted baby organs at Planned Parenthood…
Secret videographers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were both indicted on charges of tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony that carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. Daleiden received an additional misdemeanor indictment under the law prohibiting the purchase and sale of human organs.
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced the surprising indictments Monday after a two-month investigation.
“We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” said Anderson, a Republican. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”
A grand jury is formed of ordinary citizens that are presented evidence and testimony from the prosecutor alone to form their theory of a case without any input from the defense.
From that information, the jury determines if there is enough probable cause to move the case forward in the judicial process. The grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence. The indictment itself is a public document but it has not been made available online at the time of publication.
Absolutely no information has been released regarding what government records Daleiden and Merritt allegedly tampered with. The Center for Medical Progress responded, pointing out their free speech rights, as well as reminding all of us that Planned Parenthood was breaking the law by selling the body parts of aborted babies:
Daleiden drove that point home further in a USA Today op-ed:
Six months after these revelations broke, Planned Parenthood still cannot deny that the shocking and indicting words on the videos were spoken by its own senior level leadership. Not a single Planned Parenthood executive caught on camera has come forward to deny that it is her voice, image or statements being depicted: Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, advises how doctors know “I’m not gonna crush that part” when it is harvested for sale at Planned Parenthood affiliates where “if they can do a little better than break even” are “happy to do that.” Then-President of Planned Parenthood’s medical director council, Dr. Mary Gatter, suggests “a less crunchy technique to get more whole specimens” and laughing, “I want a Lamborghini.” It is telling that in Planned Parenthood’s new anti-First Amendment lawsuit, it is suing me for everything but defamation.
The videos show Planned Parenthood’s senior leadership partaking in a widespread and organized violation of state and federal laws forbidding partial-birth abortions and profiteering from the sale of fetal organs and tissues, which is why multiple state and federal investigations, including a select committee in Congress, continue to investigate Planned Parenthood’s abortion practice and financial interests in harvesting body parts. Contrary to the liberal shibboleth that the videos were “edited” (by which they mean to insinuate, “doctored”), the Center for Medical Progress has been far more transparent than any major news network in making the unedited conversations available to the public, and forensic analysis verifies their utility as evidence.
Governor Greg Abbott said in an official statement that the grand jury’s decision will not affect the state’s investigation into Planned Parenthood:
“The Health and Human Service Commission’s Inspector General and the Attorney General’s office have an ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood’s actions,” said Governor Abbott. “Nothing about today’s announcement in Harris County impacts the state’s ongoing investigation. The State of Texas will continue to protect life, and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue.”
Live Action President Lila Rose shared her thoughts on the indictment in a statement:
“David Daleiden and his team have done a tremendous public service by exposing the horrific crimes against humanity that Planned Parenthood hides behind closed doors. CMP’s investigation forced Planned Parenthood, a tax-funded billion dollar corporation, to admit it was harvesting and selling aborted baby parts.
“The district attorney’s office was asked months ago about recusing itself from this case because one of its prosecutors serves as a board member of the Planned Parenthood affiliate involved in the case. It is unacceptable that the office did not recuse itself to eliminate any and all questions of potential bias. A special prosecutor should be appointed now to review this entire investigation.”
Harris County District Attorney prosecutor Lauren Reeder is a Planned Parenthood director which has raised concerns about bias and personal political agenda within the District Attorney’s office. With questions about the independence, a number of pro-life leaders have called for the creation of an independent special prosecutor to handle the case.