A district judge in Houston, Texas, has dropped the last remaining charges against two members of an organization which engaged in an undercover enterprise to secretly record officials of abortion group Planned Parenthood discussing the harvesting and sale of fetal organs.
The group had accused the abortion organization of profiting from the sale of fetal tissue.
The two, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, both with the California-based Center for Medical Progress, secretly recorded meetings with high-ranking officials of Planned Parenthood.
Charged with tampering with a government record, the two allegedly used a phony driver’s license to bluff their way into meetings with officials of the abortion group, capture them on tape and release the recordings to the public.
In dropping the charges, District Judge Brock Thomas agreed with the recommendations of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, which advised the court to dismiss the final charge against the two.
In its statement announcing the dismissal, the district attorney’s office said:
“The grand jury took the investigation where the facts led it, however Texas law limits what can be investigated after a grand jury extension order is issued. In light of this and after careful research and review, this office dismissed the indictments.”
Relieved over the dismissal, Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden stated:
“The dismissal of the bogus, politically motivated charges against CMP project lead David Daleiden and investigator Sandra Merritt 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.”
After a controversy which led to a congressional investigation and threats of withdrawal of federal funds, Planned Parenthood altered policy and ceased accepting money for fetal parts.
[The Hill] [Photo courtesy americamagazine.org]