Pro-Life Activists Behind Planned Parenthood Sting Videos Reject Plea Bargain

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 04: David Daleiden, a defendant in an indictment stemming from a Planned Parenthood video he helped produce, arrives for court at the Harris County Courthouse after surrendering to authorities on February 4, 2016 in Houston, Texas. Daleiden is facing an indictment on a misdemeanor count of purchasing human organs, and along with defendant Sandra Merritt, is charged with tampering with a governmental record.

By Al Perrotta Published on April 29, 2016

The two undercover investigators who exposed Planned Parenthood’s fetal baby part-selling operation have rejected plea deals that would have given them probation.

According to The Associated Press Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress won’t settle her case through pretrial diversion, a form of probation that would keep her out of prison and ultimately have the charges dismissed. Fellow activist David Daleiden had previously rejected the other offer.

Accepting the deals would have forced the pro-life pair to admit they broke the law. “I don’t advise my clients to accept responsibility for cases that they haven’t done anything wrong in,” said Merritt’s attorney Dan Cogdell.

A Houston grand jury was convened to investigate, and many assumed it would focus on the undercover videos’ revelations of a horrifying and seemingly illegal baby-body-parts selling operation. Instead, the investigative journalists themselves were charged. Daleiden and Merritt each face a felony charge of tampering with a government record for allegedly using a fake driver’s license while conducting their covert investigation. Daleiden also faces a misdemeanor count related to purchasing human organs even though he was merely posing as an organ buyer for the undercover videos and never actually purchased and obtained fetal organs.

Daleiden and Merritt pleaded not guilty, arguing they are “citizen journalists” intent on exposing the crimes of Planned Parenthood and their cronies in the abortion aftermarket.

Somehow the people who actually appear to be selling fetal the body parts for profit — Planned Parenthood — emerged legally unscathed. Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson had insisted the investigation would be “unbiased, fact driven” — despite one of the prosecutors being on the board of directors for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

Texas Right to Life Senior Legislative Associate Emily Horne told she’s urging Anderson to drop all charges:

As our state and country continue to see the reality of abortion through the actions of Planned Parenthood caught on camera, we as an organization seek to change the law.  These shocking videos underscore the need for Texas to make dismemberment abortion illegal.  Without the violent dismemberment of children in the womb, the abortion industry would not be able to strategically harvest saleable parts, and the issue of trafficking baby body parts would be moot.

The next move is up to prosecutors. At Friday’s hearing, a judge ruled that prosecutors have two weeks to respond to Daleiden’s motion to dismiss his indictment. Courthouse News Service reports that in their quash motions, “Daleiden’s attorneys claim that prosecutors violated his due process rights by leaking the grand jury’s proceedings to Planned Parenthood attorney Josh Schaffer.”

Still, as Courthouse News Service notes, “For all his legal troubles, Daleiden has found a measure of success in his activism.  The numerous videos he’s produced led the U.S. Senate and legislatures of several states to vote to defund Planned Parenthood’s operations in 2015.”

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