Anti-abortion activist David Daleiden set for Texas court date over covert videos
An anti-abortion activist indicted for using a fake government ID to aid secret filming inside Planned Parenthood facilities will present himself to a Texas court on Thursday and likely seek to have charges dropped, one of his lawyers said.
David Daleiden, indicted in January by a Houston-area grand jury, will appear at a Harris County District Court in Houston and then go through booking, lawyer Jared Woodfill said on Wednesday.
Daleiden is leader of the California-based Center for Medical Progress that released the secretly filmed videos used to accuse Planned Parenthood of trading in aborted fetal tissue. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on charges of tampering with a governmental record, in this case a California driver’s license.
“We are likely to present a motion to quash the indictment,” Woodfill said. At a news conference last week, Woodfill said there was a runaway grand jury in Harris County that went after whistle blowers instead of wrong doers.
In a twist for the Texas Republican leaders who ordered an investigation and accused the women’s health group of illegally trading in aborted fetal tissue, the grand jury in January cleared Planned Parenthood and indicted video makers Daleiden and Sandra Merritt.
The videos released last summer purported to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to negotiate prices for aborted fetal tissue. Under federal law, donated human fetal tissue may be used for research, but profiting from its sale is prohibited.
In response to the videos, Texas and other Republican-controlled states tried to halt funding for Planned Parenthood. U.S. congressional Republicans pushed for a funding cut.
Planned Parenthood denied the allegation and sued in federal court, arguing the people who recorded the videos acted illegally.
Planned Parenthood has said Daleiden and Merritt presented fake IDs in April 2015 and posed as research executives from a fictitious company to secretly film conversations at a health and administrative center in Houston.
“These people broke the law to spread malicious lies about Planned Parenthood in order to advance their extreme anti-abortion political agenda,” Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications for Planned Parenthood Federation of America said last week.
On Tuesday, the Center for Medical Progress released a new video accusing Planned Parenthood of “accounting gimmicks” to hide baby part sales.
“Planned Parenthood’s self-interested political maneuvers will never silence free speech or the citizen press,” Daleiden said in a statement.