Activists have been indicted for the secret videos they made when claiming to be someone they were not and attempting to criminalize Planned Parenthood through heavily edited videos.
According to The New York Times, indictments were handed down in Houston, Texas to two people who were affiliated with Center for Medical Progress. The CMP, despite its name, is actually an anti-abortion group, and the videos the activists secretly compiled made waves across the nation when they were made public.
The two people who were indicted were the CMP director, David R. Daleiden (27), and Sandra S. Merritt (62), an employee for the CMP.
Charges range from tampering with an official government record (a felony) and purchasing human organs (misdemeanor).
In the report, activist Daleiden reportedly secured a meeting with associates of Planned Parenthood and attempted to record details of the meeting. He posed as a biotechnology representative and said he wanted to purchase the organs for research. Daleiden is the activist who was charged with the misdemeanor in the indictment.
Merritt is the activist who was charged with the felony when indicted. She reportedly procured and presented the false documents, including fake California drivers licenses, with the intent to defraud.
What is especially unique about these activists who were indicted is that their actions were intended to bring down, or, at least, get Planned Parenthood charged with the illegal sale of body parts. The grand jury that was investigating the women’s health organization did not find any wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood. But they did find that the two individuals involved in the operation had broken the law.
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) January 26, 2016
It seems as though the tables have turned on the activists who were indicted, effectively clearing Planned Parenthood from any wrongdoing.
Harris County district attorney, Devon Anderson, made a statement about the indictments, but he did not comment specifically on the activists cases.
“As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us,” Anderson said in her statement. “All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”
But that did not stop David Daleiden from releasing his own public statement following 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,” Daleiden said in the statement. “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.”
— David Daleiden (@daviddaleiden) January 6, 2016
Planned Parenthood has also filed suit against the activists indicted, and their organization, the Center for Medical Progress. In the suit, Planned Parenthood claims that the CMP, Daleiden, and other noted anti-abortion activists have engaged in a criminal enterprise for three years and targeted their women’s care organization through fraudulent means.
Eric Ferrero, a spokesman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, made a statement on the activists who were indicted and also seemed to speak directly about the pending lawsuit against them and the CMP.
“These people broke the law to spread malicious lies about Planned Parenthood in order to advance their extreme anti-abortion political agenda,” Ferrero said in the statement about the activists indicted.
The activists indicted as well as the CMP have been named in the lawsuit for allegedly setting up a fake company, Biomax Procurement Services, as well as fake identities in order to carry out their operation against Planned Parenthood.
On the fake identities the activists created, the indictment also alleges that they used fake names as well, and they were entered into evidence against them. The activists were indicted on Monday.
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]