Pro-life activist Sandra Merritt, who was instrumental in exposing Planned Parenthood’s role in the trafficking of aborted baby body parts in a series of videos released beginning in 2015, has filed a motion to dismiss 10 criminal charges against her.
Merritt’s motion to dismiss the ten charges, filed on April 13th, comes as the latest development in the state of California’s years-long effort to prosecute Merritt and co-defendant David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). In February, Merritt and Daleiden pleaded not guilty to ten felony counts, as Live Action News reported. Last year, Planned Parenthood-affiliated Judge William Orrick ordered Daleiden and CMP to pay $195,000 to the National Abortion Federation and an additional $870,000 in punitive damages to Planned Parenthood — a decision that Live Action founder and president Lila Rose blasted as “a sad day when the justice system is manipulated by the rich and powerful to protect the guilty and punish the innocent.”
“Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong in this politically-motivated collusion between Planned Parenthood and the Attorney General, and every criminal charge against her should be dropped. All of these criminal charges should be dismissed,” said Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman, Mat Staver, according to the group’s press release. Leading the state of California’s prosecution in recent years has been pro-abortion attorney general, Xavier Becerra, who has long been supported politically by Planned Parenthood.
A main feature of Merritt’s motion for dismissal is the fact that the co-defendants went to great lengths to comply with state laws prohibiting surreptitious recording. Merritt’s lawyers argue that Merritt and Daleiden complied with California Penal Code Section 632, which prohibits recording others but allows for exceptions for “communication made in a public gathering” or “any other circumstance in which the parties to the communication may reasonably expect that the communication may be overheard.”
As the motion to dismiss points out, Merritt and Daleiden “took numerous precautions to ensure that their recordings remained legal, including making ‘sure to only video record in places of public accommodation,’ avoiding ‘private meeting rooms’ at restaurants and selecting instead ‘places at those restaurants that were … completely publicly accessible.’” They also turned down “unique opportunities to record inside private abortion facilities within California” because they “wanted to remain compliant with the law.”
Despite the state of California’s unfounded prosecution, the CMP videos were instrumental to the prosecution of the exact crimes they exposed, as Merritt’s motion to dismiss lays out: “At least two fetal tissue profiteering companies in California were successfully prosecuted, forced to pay almost $8 million in penalties, and shuttered permanently in connection with their unlawful human organ transactions uncovered by Merritt and Daleiden.” The motion adds that the prosecutors “specifically credited Defendants’ and CMP’s undercover investigation for tipping them off, and providing them the requisite evidence regarding the crimes being committed.”
As John McManus observed in an article published by The New American, “Americans who… understand that stopping the inhuman practices engaged in by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers need to know how evil is being protected by a legal system gone astray.”
CMP’s undercover videos can be found here.
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