On Wednesday the San Francisco Superior Court tossed for lack of evidence 14 of 15 criminal charges against journalists who recorded high-level Planned Parenthood employees discussing trafficking the body parts of aborted babies, reports LifeSiteNews. California’s Department of Justice says it will re-file the charges within the ten-day deadline for providing more evidence.
Beginning in 2015, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a series of undercover videos. They show, among other things, Planned Parenthood employees bartering for human body parts and discussing killing and harvesting babies born alive during an abortion (which is ironically illegal). The videos led to a congressional investigation in which expert testimony said illegal trade in aborted human body parts is growing. Despite subsequently winning both branches of Congress and the presidency, Republicans have still so far done nothing to stop the annual half-billion taxpayers send Planned Parenthood or increase criminal penalties and investigations.
Rather than prosecuting suspected human organ traffickers, in March the office of California’s attorney general charged their whistleblowers with 15 felonies for the recordings, one for each person recorded, alleging that by recording conversations in public places they had violated privacy laws. The charge that remains is of “conspiracy to invade privacy.” It could carry a prison sentence of one year.
The California case against the duo is weak, criminal defense attorney Jenna Ellis has explained for The Federalist:
California law specifically excludes communication made in a public gathering, which is exactly the circumstances of a conversation held in a public restaurant. Because wait staff and other patrons could easily overhear a conversation in public, the parties cannot have what the law terms a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ in those circumstances. Clearly, those videos from Planned Parenthood were not criminal recordings.
As a Democratic member of Congress, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra received thousands of dollars in campaign donations both from Planned Parenthood and fellow abortion promoter NARAL. His predecessor, whose department initiated the action, received $81,000 from Planned Parenthood for her campaigns.
In May, another California judge, who had contributed a quarter of a million dollars to former president Barack Obama’s campaign, slapped Merritt and Daleiden with contempt charges for releasing another video despite a restraining order. Their attorneys say the videos are already public thanks to their opponents’ public court filings, and the already released videos remain on CMP’s YouTube page.
In April, California’s Department of Justice raided Daleiden’s home and seized the recordings. Last year, Houston prosecutors, who also have financial ties to Planned Parenthood and admitted they had colluded with Planned Parenthood during the case, hauled the two into court. In that case the charges were eventually dropped. Merritt’s attorney Horatio Mihet says “No other citizen journalist or organization has ever been charged with a crime for undercover recordings.”
Contrary to Planned Parenthood's claims, taxpayers are subsidizing abortions. Here are 17 states that fund abortion through Medicaid. pic.twitter.com/B5eS4pwSET
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) May 24, 2017
This article has been corrected to state that federal taxpayers annually sponsor Planned Parenthood to the tune of a half billion.