Charges Dropped Against Anti-Abortion Activists
Texas Judge Brock Thomas dismissed remaining felony charges against two anti-abortion activists who recorded videos of themselves meeting with Planned Parenthood officials, NPR reports.
David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, both members of the Center for Medical Progress, were accused of using fake IDs when they approached the organization. They were accused of tampering with government documents, but those charges have been dropped on technical grounds.
Daleidan, 27, and Merritt, 63, released the undercover video last summer while attempting to blame Planned Parenthood for trafficking in the sale of fetal body parts, which is illegal. The agency denied the claims, declaring the employees were conversing about fetal tissue and expenses, all of which are legal. They said the clip was deceiving and edited to make it appear otherwise.
Dozens of states investigated the pending charges against Planned Parenthood and found no evidence of wrongdoing. In Texas, the grand jury cleared the organization of any wrongdoing and instead charged the two activists with crimes.
“The grand jury initially had their target, Planned Parenthood, but I think after reviewing the evidence, they were deeply troubled by it and that’s why they turned the tables and indicted the videographers,” said Texas criminal defense attorney Phillip Hilder. “I mean, it’s a very unusual turn of events here.”
Their attorney called the ruling, “a huge win for First Amendment Rights.”