What’s the old trope about “be careful what you wish for?”
The forced birthers from the Center for Medical Progress — the anti-abortion group that made secretly recorded and highly edited videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to “illegally” profit from the sale of fetal tissue — have themselves been indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record, a felony, and on a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs. 2 Abortion Foes Behind Planned Parenthood Videos Are Indicted:
A grand jury here that was investigating accusations of misconduct against Planned Parenthood has instead indicted two abortion opponents who made undercover videos of the organization.
Prosecutors in Harris County said one of the leaders of the Center for Medical Progress — an anti-abortion group that made secretly recorded videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to illegally profit from the sale of fetal tissue — had been indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record, a felony, and on a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs.
That leader, David R. Daleiden, 27, the director of the center, had posed as a biotechnology representative to infiltrate Planned Parenthood affiliates and surreptitiously record his efforts to procure tissue for research. Another center employee, Sandra S. Merritt, 62, was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record.
The record-tampering charges accused Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt of making and presenting fake California driver’s licenses, with the intent to defraud, for their April meeting at Planned Parenthood in Houston.
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On Monday, the Harris County district attorney, Devon Anderson, said in a statement that grand jurors had cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing.
She declined to provide details about the case against Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt, including any documents or evidence presented to the grand jury, citing state law on the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.
“As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us,” Ms. Anderson said. “All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”
Well, that never stops self-righteous religious zealots.
Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said on Monday that the inspector general of the state’s Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas attorney general’s office have been investigating Planned Parenthood’s actions.
“Nothing about today’s announcement in Harris County impacts the state’s ongoing investigation,” Mr. Abbott said in a statement. “The State of Texas will continue to protect life, and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue.”
The state attorney general, Ken Paxton, said in a statement: “The fact remains that the videos exposed the horrific nature of abortion and the shameful disregard for human life of the abortion industry. The state’s investigation of Planned Parenthood is ongoing.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, in a statement on Monday, played down the significance of the indictment, saying the recent anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision was “a solid reminder of the over 50 million innocent lives that have been lost to abortions.”
He added, “I will never be deterred from standing up to fight to protect the unborn.”
That’s right, let’s just ignore the evidence presented to the grand jury. Go ahead and say it, I dare you: “A grand jury would ‘indict a ham sandwich,’ if that’s what you wanted.” Just remember that we are talking about jurors from the Bible Belt in deeply red Houston, Texas here.
Ms. Anderson, a Republican who was appointed district attorney by Gov. Rick Perry in 2013 and was later elected to the office, described the investigation on Monday as “lengthy and thorough,” and said it involved her office, the Houston police and the Texas Rangers. She said the grand jury reviewed the joint inquiry for more than two months.
This month in federal court in San Francisco, Planned Parenthood sued the center, Mr. Daleiden and other abortion opponents involved in the videos. The suit accused them of engaging in a three-year criminal enterprise to target the group.
“These people broke the law to spread malicious lies about Planned Parenthood in order to advance their extreme anti-abortion political agenda,” Eric Ferrero, a spokesman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said Monday. “As the dust settles and the truth comes out, it’s become totally clear that the only people who engaged in wrongdoing are the criminals behind this fraud, and we’re glad they’re being held accountable.”
In making the videos, Mr. Daleiden and others have been accused of setting up a fake company called Biomax Procurement Services, creating fake identities and claiming to be part of a legitimate provider of fetal tissue to researchers.
The fake IDs used by Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt, images of which were included as exhibits in court documents, resemble California-issued licenses. Mr. Daleiden went by Robert Sarkis on his license, and Ms. Merritt used the name Susan Sarah Tennenbaum. Warrants were issued for each defendant with a bond amount of $10,000.
“We know that they used fake IDs that had their real photographs but fake names and fake addresses purported to be issued by the State of California,” said Josh Schaffer, a Houston lawyer who represents Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in the Harris County criminal investigation. Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt presented those IDs to security at the Planned Parenthood office to gain entry to the building. “They never denied that they presented a fake ID,” Mr. Schaffer said.
Mr. Schaffer said he believed the misdemeanor charge stemmed from laws prohibiting offers to buy fetal tissue. He said that after the meeting with Planned Parenthood officials in Houston in April, Mr. Daleiden sent an email to them in June offering to buy fetal tissue for $1,600 per sample. Planned Parenthood never responded to the offer, Mr. Schaffer said.
“It does not surprise me that a grand jury that chose to correctly apply the law to the evidence that was presented would return this result,” he said. “The written charges have not been released publicly yet, so at this point I am working on my knowledge of the investigation.”
I wonder whether the GOP presidential candidates, in particular Carly Fiorina, who have been running on this fraudulent scheme concocted by the Center for Medical Progress are going to apologize to Planned Parenthood for their over-the-top rhetoric? Nah, never going to happen. GOP Candidates Freaking Out About Grand Jury That Indicted Anti-Abortion Activists.
UPDATE: How The Nationwide Crusade Against Planned Parenthood Is Failing, In One Map. Republican officials are coming up empty.