Blog Post

Unveiling Trumped-Up Charges Against Daleiden

Harris County DACommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

The appalling announcement earlier this week that a Grand Jury in Texas indicted David Daleiden, the videographer who caught Planned Parenthood selling aborted baby parts, while totally exonerating the abortion giant, left many of us “smelling a rat” – and for good reason. Lawyers are uncovering a shocking backstory that could (or should) cost the Harris County DA her job.

Writing for The American Catholic, a pro-life lawyer named Donald R. McClarey called the indictments against Daleiden and co-worker Sandra S. Merritt, which were issued by a Grand Jury convened by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office “the worst misuse of the power of prosecution that I have witnessed in 33 years of practicing law.”

The indictments leveled felony charges against Daleiden and Merritt for tampering with a governmental record. This charged was based on nothing more than using a fake California driver’s license for a meeting with Planned Parenthood executives. Daleiden was also charged with a misdemeanor related to purchasing human organs.

McClarey called the indictment “trash” and said a first year law student should be able to get this ruling dismissed.

First of all, there was no “scienter” involved – a legal term which means intent to commit a wrongdoing – because Daleiden and Merritt were simply posing as fetal tissue purchasers but never had any intention of actually buying anything.

Devon Anderson,  Harris County DA Devon Anderson,
Harris County DA

The Grand Jury found Planned Parenthood not guilty of trying to sell fetal tissue but, at the same time, ruled that Daleiden and Merritt were purchasing tissue from a vendor who wasn’t even selling it.

“That makes no logical sense,” McClarey writes, “let alone a coherent legal charge.”

Then there’s the issue of freedom of the press.

“All of the activities of Daleiden and Merritt were undertaken under the cover of the First Amendment freedom of the press. Such sting operations are part and parcel of the normal functioning of the media in this country and an attempt to criminalize such activity raises grave constitutional questions,” McClarey states.

As for the driver’s license charge, this was simply a stretch by an over-eager (read pro- abortion) prosecutor to get a felony indictment rather than just a misdemeanor.

“This is the type of charge that only a prosecutor desperate to find anything to nail a target of an investigation on would bring. The charge is complete rubbish since there was no intent to defraud Planned Parenthood of anything, but rather an intent to expose wrongdoing.”

McClarey believes this whole debacle is nothing more than the result of a prosecutor arranging for a Grand Jury to give him the result he’s after – something that is (sadly) quite common in our legal system.

But there are political ramifications for the DA, a Republican who referred to herself as being pro-life while campaigning.

“Devon Anderson [Harris County District Attorney] is up for election this year and is a Republican," McClarey writes. "She revealed the findings of the grand jury after the filing period had passed for her to draw an opponent in the primary.”

Because of this, McClarey, who is a lifelong pro-life activist, is calling upon Republicans not to vote for her in the next election.

“This type of misuse of the prosecutor’s office should not go unpunished. Either she does not know what is going on in her own office and allowed pro-abort assistant prosecutors to transform a Grand Jury called to consider criminal charges against Planned Parenthood into a weapon against those who exposed the ghoulish trade of Planned Parenthood in the remains of their victims, or she is a pro-abort herself and planned this miscarriage of justice. In either case she is unfit to hold public office.”

It’s also interesting to note that Planned Parenthood attorney Josh Schaffer told the Associated Press that a prosecutor told him the Grand Jury never even voted on possible criminal charges against Planned Parenthood because no one representing the abortion giant was ever called to testify!

And yet Planned Parenthood executives wasted not a moment rushing to the microphones to claim victory.

“These anti-abortion extremists spent three years creating a fake company, creating fake identities, lying, and breaking the law,” said Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “When they couldn’t find any improper or illegal activity, they made it up.”

We’ll see about that! As Governor Greg Abbott said, in so many words, this story is far from over and the state’s investigation will continue full throttle.

Meanwhile, Daleiden and Merritt plan to come to Houston’s Harris County Jail where they will be processed and permitted to post bond.

Murphy Klasing, Daleiden’s attorney, said his client intends to plead not guilty.

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