A grand jury in Harris County, Texas, indicted the Center for Medical Progress’s (CMP) David Daleiden and employee Sandra Merritt on charges related to their undercover sting that revealed Planned Parenthood executives discussing and haggling over the sale of aborted-baby body parts.
Daleiden and Merritt face second-degree felony “tampering with a governmental record” (fake driver’s licenses), which carries a sentence of up to 20 years, and a misdemeanor charge of the purchase and sale of human organs. Daleiden’s response to the indictment:
The Center for Medical Progress uses the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades in exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press, and follows all applicable laws. We respect the processes of the Harris County District Attorney, and note that buying fetal tissue requires a seller as well. Planned Parenthood still cannot deny the admissions from their leadership about fetal organ sales captured on video for all the world to see.
Pro-lifers pointed out that one of the prosecutors in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Lauren Reeder, is a board member at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC). The DA’s office investigated PPGC but didn’t press charges.
A photo of Lauren Reeder appearing at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser wearing a halter top and hot pants has been posted on Facebook by PPGC.
Reeder went public with her role in PPGC last August, when the office began its local investigation.
Critics said it would be a conflict of interest for a member of the organization under investigation to be involved with the official inquiry.
“She will not be involved in any manner in this investigation,” Anderson said in a statement. “If at any time in the future, reliable and credible information is brought to my attention that would question our ability to continue to perform a fair, thorough and independent investigation of this matter due to her board membership, I will revisit the issue of seeking the appointment of an independent prosecutor and act accordingly.”
The district attorney herself, Devon Anderson, has been accused of having a conflict of interest in a grand jury investigation involving an abortionist who allegedly killed babies born alive. Operation Rescue also claimed the grand jury didn’t have access to all the evidence in that proceeding.
Pro-lifers started a petition asking the district attorney to drop all charges against Daleiden and Merritt.