California Attorney General Xavier Becerra vowed to reinstate charges against investigators for the Center for Medical Progress, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, after a judge knocked out 14 of the charges filed against them last month. Becerra had just 10 days to refile after Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite ruled that the charges were too vague and that the state must “specify each of the 14 recordings that were allegedly made without consent.”
Becerra wasted no time making good on his promise. Today, he filed new, more specific, charges against Daleiden and Merritt. The original charges, filed in March, alleged that Daleiden and Merritt violated a California law that prohibits recording confidential conversations without consent. “The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society,” Becerra said. “We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”
Planned Parenthood, unsurprisingly, celebrated the charges — but as Daleiden pointed out, this tactic against him had been tried in Texas already, and failed. “They tried the same collusion with corrupt officials in Houston, Texas, and failed: both the charges and the DA were thrown out,” Daleiden said in a statement. Becerra, however, was undaunted and seems perennially determined to attack Daleiden and Merritt.
The new charges include numeral identifications for each video, along with the names of each person whose conversation was recorded, although those names are to remain confidential for now. Daleiden and Merritt will be arraigned on July 17.
The Center for Medical Progress responded to California’s charges on Facebook, pointing out that undercover recordings are commonly used by journalists and that they are only being targeted because the abortion industry was caught breaking the law.
In addition to the 14 charges filed against Daleiden and Merritt, Judge William Orrick will be holding a hearing on July 11, deciding whether to hold them both in contempt for releasing a new video in May (see below).
Judge Orrick is holding this hearing even though Judge Hite has already struck down the contempt request. CMP earlier reported that Judge Hite “denied the AG’s request for contempt sanctions against David’s defense counsel, and agreed Judge Orrick’s federal gag order in the civil lawsuit should not prevent defendants from using the videos in our defense.” Judge Orrick is an Obama donor who has connections to Planned Parenthood.
California’s new charges, filed by AG Becerra, are not just an effort to target pro-life activists and protect the abortion industry; they are a blatant attack on free speech. If Daleiden and Merritt are convicted, such a conviction could have a chilling effect on journalists throughout California and perhaps the nation. Breitbart’s Dr. Susan Berry has more on this continuing legal saga between Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and the Center for Medical Progress.