A “peaceful” pro-life father of 11 who was prosecuted by President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice for praying and singing hymns in the hallway of a Tennessee abortion facility was found guilty on Tuesday by a federal jury in Nashville.
Paul Vaughn is one of five pro-lifers who were charged with felonies for allegedly violating the unconstitutional Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and engaging in a “conspiracy against rights.” Following the verdict, he joined his fellow defendants in singing hymns outside of the Fred D. Thompson federal courthouse.
Vaughn’s attorney at the Thomas More Society signaled they would appeal the case in the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. If that appeal fails, Vaughn could face up to 11 years in prison at his sentencing hearing on July 2 and up to $260,000 in fines.
“This is a frustrating setback, for Paul, for his family, and for the extended pro-life community, which has rallied support for Paul from the day of his arrest in front of his wife and children by heavily armed FBI agents, on through the trial,” Thomas More Society Senior Counsel Steve Crampton said in a statement, noting that the Biden administration’s aim from the beginning of this case was to “punish Paul and other pro-life people and people of faith.”
Crampton warned the DOJ’s “pattern of arresting and prosecuting peaceful pro-life advocates is disturbing,” and indicated that its case hinged on the unfair characterization of Vaughn as an aggressor instead of a peaceful protester.
Footage of the so-called crime shows a group of pro-life activists peacefully singing, reading scripture, and praying in the hallway outside of a Mt. Juliet, Tennessee abortion facility in March 2021.
Vaughn was never arrested during the protest. Witness testimony from a police negotiator even suggested the defendant was “helpful, collaborative, and peaceful,” according to the lawyers presenting his case.
It wasn’t until Oct. 5, 2022, that the DOJ unsealed charges accusing Vaughn and his fellow protesters of using “force and physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with employees of the clinic and a patient who was seeking reproductive health services.”
During a jarring FBI raid on the Vaughn home later that month, shortly after the Biden administration began its legal assault on pro-lifers following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision in June 2022, Vaughn says he was escorted away in cuffs.
The defense repeatedly noted that Vaughn’s Mt. Juliet protest did not result in injury or property damage, but that did not stop Biden’s DOJ from twisting evidence to deceptively portray him in a bad light.
DOJ attorneys claimed abortion facility employees were “trapped inside the building during the incident,” even though video evidence of the event exists that the defense says “showed traffic clearly passing down the hallway to and from the abortion venue.” The DOJ also turned one of the protesters who was initially arrested against Vaughn and used her testimony as further proof that he helped hamper the abortion facility’s operations.
Eight in 10 Americans do not have a “great deal of confidence” in the Biden DOJ to do its job well and fairly. Maybe that’s because perfectly peaceful protesters face prison simply because they hold different political views than the administration while the White House’s violent allies who wreak havoc on people and property alike walk free.