The lead attorney for one of the undercover pro-life reporters indicted this week in the aftermath of last year’s exposing of Planned Parenthood says prosecutors are pursuing bogus charges, Planned Parenthood officials are the obvious criminals and we’re reaching a “scary” point where politics determine the outcome of the justice system
On Monday, a Harris County, Texas, grand jury elected not to indict Planned Parenthood for allegedly selling organs and other body parts of aborted babies. Instead, the members returned a felony indictment of tampering with a government record against Center for Medical Press President David Daleiden and his colleague, Sandra S. Merritt. If convicted, they could each spend as much as 20 years in prison.
“These two individuals will be exonerated. There’s no question about that,” said Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew Staver, who is lead counsel for Merritt. “They’ll have their day in court. We look forward to that.”
Daleiden was charged with an addition misdemeanor of trying to purchase organs from aborted babies.
According to the indictment, the felony tampering charge accuses Daleiden and Merritt of fabricating California driver’s licenses to gain entry to the Houston Planned Parenthood facility.
Staver says the statute is being badly misapplied in this case.
“They were using journalistic tactics like lots of journalists do. It’s not just David and Sandra. This is something that has been done by journalists for a long time,” said Staver.
In addition, he says there is an explicit exception to the law.
“If you take a driver’s license and you tamper with it and make it look like it’s valid for you because you have had your driver’s license revoked for a DUI or whatever, and you then present that as your driver’s license to the police officer knowing that you really have no driver’s license, that is what’s covered by this situation,” said Staver.
As a result, Staver is supremely confident both defendants will be cleared.
“This indictment really goes beyond what the statute words say, and certainly the intent of the statute. That’s why I think this will be thrown out at the end of the day,” said Staver.
Staver says the misdemeanor charge against Daleiden may be even more bogus.
“That’s even more outrageous because he’s purchasing what from whom and the seller doesn’t get anything to that effect? If someone’s going to purchase something, you have to have a seller selling something, and it’s illegal to sell body parts,” said Staver.
He says Daleiden has even stronger ground in that he had no intent to actually buy any body parts from aborted babies. He says no one would videotape their activities and then disseminate it far and wide if they believed it was criminal.
Staver believes the absence of charges against Planned Parenthood is the greatest travesty of all in this case.
“It’s obvious what they’re doing. They’re on video. It’s multiple times, multiple people, high-ranking Planned Parenthood individuals. They’re talking callously about aborting baby body parts. They’re talking about preserving certain fetal organs intact because they can get higher prices for them. Then they’re talking about selling these body parts, so it’s pretty obvious,” said Staver.
“Planned Parenthood is the one that has committed criminal acts here. They’re the ones that should be indicted and having to reveal to the rest of the public the inner workings of Planned Parenthood, this brutal, barbarous kind of activity that Planned Parenthood is doing and being funded by state and federal tax dollars in the process,” said Staver.
So how did this happen? Staver sees two potential issues, beginning with the grand jury process itself.
“[A grand jury] is basically giving one side of a story without the other side represented. Certainly we need to respect the grand jury’s process but I do know there are situations where grand juries don’t get all the information and they are going on information that is being presented to them, which is a very narrow slice of the pie. That’s why prosecutors need to be so ethically above board,” said Staver.
That last point leads to Staver’s second major concern. While Harris County District Attorney Davon Anderson is a Republican who calls herself pro-life, one of her assistant prosecutors most certainly is not.
LifeNews revealed that Lauren Reeder, a prosecutor in Anderson’s office, is listed as an unpaid director for the Houston Planned Parenthood clinic in question on the facility’s most recent 990 tax form from 2014.
“The district attorney or the assistant district attorney has a lot of power in either giving evidence to give one side or withholding evidence to not give the other side,” said Staver.
In the big picture, Staver fears we are entering a “very scary” phase in which politics and ideology seem to matter more than the law in resolving hot-button cases.
“When you get into two different particular areas, abortion and the issue of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, it seems all the common sense, all the logic, all the rules of procedure, frankly the rule of law just gets tossed to the side and you have these outrageous, shocking situations,” said Staver.
“What’s driving it? It’s not the rule of law. It’s ideology and it’s politics and it should have nothing to do with judicial proceedings. When you ultimately mix ideology and politics with the judiciary, you’re really messing up the system that the founders envisioned. All of us should be concerned about that because all of lose our liberty,” said Staver, noting that those who cheer today’s decisions could find the winds blowing against them soon.