Grand Jury Clears Planned Parenthood; Indicts Fake Tape Activists Instead
Disrict Attorney: "We must go where the evidence leads us"
A grand jury in Texas, which was created to investigate Planned Parenthood’s Houston affiliate following the August 2014 release of an undercover video taken inside the clinic, cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing on Monday, and, instead indicted the anti-abortion activists who made the video.
Two secret videographers were indicted: David Daleiden, founder of the 'Center for Medical Progress,' was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to purchasing human organs. And activist Sandra Merritt was indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record.
In a statement, the Harris County district attorney, Devon Anderson, said Monday: “We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” Ms. Anderson said. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”
Anderson also said the grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast of any wrongdoing with relation to the videos.
Planned Parenthood has alleged that Daleiden and others used aliases, obtained fake government IDs, and formed a fake tissue procurement company in an effort to gain access to private areas and record private conversations to be deceptively edited to create a false impression.
The second indictment for Daleiden suggests that the grand jury found that he went too far in trying to get Planned Parenthood to admit to selling tissue. The crime, a class A misdemeanor is committed if a person intentionally offers to buy or offers to sell a human organ, including fetal tissue. If convicted, the maximum punishment is a year in jail.
When the video was released, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the video proved that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal parts for profit. "The people of Texas will not accept this callous attitude toward human life, and I will not accept it, and that's why we asked the District Attorney to begin a criminal investigation," Patrick said at the time.