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Judge Drops Charges Against Pro-Life Journalists

david daleidenIn what is being hailed as a huge victory for the pro-life cause, a California court tossed out 14 of the 15 felony charges filed against pro-life activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt after they released videos of abortion industry workers engaged in the trafficking of fetal body parts.

According to Life News, a San Francisco Superior Court dismissed all but one of the 15 charges filed against Daleiden and Merritt by pro-abortion Attorney General Xavier Becerra of California.

Liberty Counsel, which represents Daleiden and Merritt, said that the Attorney General, who has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood, claimed that the pair filmed 14 people without permission between October 2013 and July 2015 in Los Angeles, San Francisco and the county of El Dorado. One felony count was filed for each person filmed.

The 15th charge was for “criminal conspiracy” to invade “privacy" even though Planned Parenthood itself has admitted, under oath, that the recorded conversations took place in “non-confidential” and public venues.

Liberty Counsel argued that the criminal complaint for illegally recording supposedly “private” conversations (in restaurants, hotel lobbies and other public places) – which is the first ever filed against undercover journalists – was legally deficient for numerous reasons. Not least of which was the Attorney General’s decision to prosecute Merritt in secret proceedings, without identifying even the names of her accusers or purported “victims.” Nor did the complaint provide Merritt with the minimum notice required by the Constitution and California law as to what she supposedly did wrong, so that she can mount a proper and vigorous defense. The complaint was also vague and full of inconsistencies.

San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite agreed.

However, Hite did rule that while counts 1-14 were legally insufficient, the state will be given the opportunity to amend if it can plead a more legally sufficient and specific complaint. The attorney general’s office was given until mid-July to file a revised complaint.

“This is a huge victory to have 14 criminal counts dismissed,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “We will now turn our attention to dismissing the final count. Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong. The complaint by the California Attorney General is unprecedented and frankly will threaten every journalist who provides valuable information to the public. This final count will also fall,” said Staver.

As Life News reports, this was the second time that felony charges were filed against Daleiden and Merritt. The first were filed by pro-abortion prosecutors in Houston. Those charges were also eventually dropped and were condemned as bogus political charges.

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