In what some Planned Parenthood detractors will surely decry as a
miscarriage of justice, a grand jury charged with investigating whether the group sold fetal tissue has instead opted to indict the people who filmed the undercover videos that launched the investigation in the first place.
It’s likely not the result Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, a Rick Perry appointee, had in mind when she convened the grand jury to investigate the Planned Parenthood. To her credit, she did tell reporters Monday that although, “We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast... As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”
The grand jury’s decision, the Houston Chronicle reports, was to indict David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the right-wing videographers who filmed a Planned Parenthood executive discussing the medical uses for fetal tissue before releasing the footage in a controversially-edited eight-minute film.
Now Daleiden and Merritt are both facing charges of tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony charge that could land them both up to twenty years in prison. Daleiden was also reportedly charged with the attempted purchase and sale of human organs, a misdemeanor carrying a fine and/or up to a year in prison. Via the Chronicle:
The national organization of Planned Parenthood had said in a letter to Congress that Daleiden was involved in secretly recording staff and patients at least 65 times over the last eight years.
The organization alleged that Daleiden and others used aliases, obtained fake government I.D.s, and formed a fake tissue procurement company in an effort to gain access to private areas and record private conversations to be deceptively edited to create a false impression.
The second indictment for Daleiden suggests that the grand jury found that he went too far in trying to get Planned Parenthood to admit to selling tissue. The crime, a class A misdemeanor is committed if a person intentionally offers to buy or offers to sell a human organ, including fetal tissue.
Nor is theirs the only alleged crime linked to the videos—Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Lewis Dear allegedly told cops his murderous rampage was, at least in part, aimed at stopping the sale of “baby parts.”