Harris County, Texas, prosecutors dismissed one felony count of "tampering with a government record for using false identification" against Center for Medical Progress Founder David Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Liberty Counsel Founder Mat Staver is calling for an indictment against Planned Parenthood for their sale of baby parts.
The night that Cecile Richards, head of Planned Parenthood, was slated to speak at the Democratic National Convention, the news broke that the charges against Daleiden, who leads the Center for Medical Progress, and Merritt had been dropped.
The Houston Chronicle reports:
The Harris County District Attorney's office on Tuesday dismissed all charges against anti-abortion activists who secretly videotaped Planned Parenthood officials in Houston.
David Robert Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were charged with tampering with a governmental record, for using a fake identification to gain access to the facility. In a surprise move before a hearing on the legitimacy of the indictment, prosecutors dismissed the charges.
Deleiden and his attorneys claimed victory for the anti-abortion movement, saying they were satisfied with the decision.
Daleiden, 27, and Sandra Merritt, 62, both of Davis, Calif., were indicted by a Harris County grand jury in January, accused of tampering with a government record for allegedly using fake driver licenses to conceal their identities while dealing with a Houston Planned Parenthood clinic.
Daleiden spoke out on the dismissal in an email to LifeNews.com:
"The dismissal of the bogus, politically motivated charges … is a resounding vindication of the First Amendment rights of all citizen journalists, and also a clear warning to any of Planned Parenthood's political cronies who would attack whistleblowers to protect Planned Parenthood from scrutiny. Planned Parenthood tried to collude with public officials to manipulate the legal process to their own benefit, and they failed. A year after the release of the undercover videos, the ongoing nationwide investigation of Planned Parenthood by the House Select Investigative Panel makes clear that Planned Parenthood is the guilty party in the harvesting and trafficking of baby body parts for profit."
Now, Liberty Counsel Attorney Mat Staver is renewing a call for an indictment against Planned Parenthood for their criminal activities.
Staver said the grand jury that indicted Daleiden and Merritt was tasked with investigating possible crimes by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. Instead politics rendered a different decision.
"They never should have indicted them. They didn't do anything wrong," he said. "There was no criminal activity or criminal intent in this case. There is, I think, a real target that they ought to go after. That's Planned Parenthood."
There are two issues of legal malpractice in this case, according to Staver. First, prosecutors kept the grand jury impaneled longer than expected to pursue the charges. Second, one of the top lawyers in the district attorney's office sits on the Planned Parenthood Board in the Houston area.
So, instead of the Grand Jury doing its job, they became a political tool against Daleiden and Merritt and the Harris County prosecutors were at the center of it.
"They've got to be held accountable," Staver said. "I think there has to be some sort of investigation of the district attorney's office for what went on when they exceeded their authority in bringing these charges in the first place."
"They can do a lot of abuse," added Staver. "While the person who's being indicted can ultimately be victorious at the end of the day, look what they have been drug through: financial ruin, financial harm and harm to their well-being and reputation."
Staver then spoke of what united Daleiden and Merritt in their exposure of Planned Parenthood.
"They are both amazing people," he said. "They both love the Lord. That's where they got their strength. This is a time where lots of people would buckle, but Sandra and Kim, never once thought about buckling. They never once thought they should do something else. They knew they were doing the right thing."
"It was their faith in Jesus Christ that got them through these situations," Staver continued. "Both of them have that in common, and both of them have in common that they have come out the other side victorious."
"I think it shows how messed up this nation is right now and how much we need to get back to Jesus, get grounded and understand that our rights come from God, not from government," Staver said. "Instead of indicting the criminal enterprise that is killing babies, hurting people, and selling baby body parts, they went after the person who was exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of speech to get this information out to the rest of the public."
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