An anti-abortion activist indicted for using a fake driver’s license ID to aid secret filming inside Planned Parenthood facilities turned himself into authorities in Houston on Thursday and was offered a probation deal, prosecutors said.
David Daleiden, indicted in January by a Houston-area grand jury, appeared briefly at Harris County District Court on the charge of tampering with a governmental record, which can bring up to 20 years in prison. He also faces a misdemeanor charge for trying to procure fetal tissue
Daleiden is leader of the California-based Center for Medical Progress that released the secretly filmed videos used to accuse the women’s health group of trading in aborted fetal tissue.
He was offered a probation deal typically reserved for non-violent offenders in which, if he keeps a clean record for a certain period, charges would be dropped, prosecutors said.
Planned Parenthood denied Daleiden’s allegation and sued in federal court, arguing the people who recorded the videos acted illegally.
In a twist for the Texas Republican leaders who had ordered an investigation, the grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing and indicted video makers Daleiden and Sandra Merritt.
Daleiden’s lawyers have said the charges are groundless and are seeking to have them thrown out.
“We’re glad they’re being held accountable, and we hope other law enforcement agencies pursue criminal charges, as well,” said Eric Ferrero, vice president at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Merritt, a lesser figure in the filming, appeared at a Houston court on Wednesday and was also offered a probation deal.
Lawyers for the activist do not dispute that the pair used false IDs but said they did so for investigative journalism.
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 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.
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Grant McCool)
The Arab uprisings were weakened by online fakes
The Arab uprisings a decade ago were supercharged by online calls to join the protests -- but the internet was soon flooded with misinformation, weakening the region's cyber-activists.
When Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in January 2011, rumours and uncertainty created "panic and hysteria", said ex-activist and entrepreneur Houeida Anouar.
"January 14 was a horrible night, so traumatic," she said. "We heard gunfire, and a neighbour shouted 'hide yourselves, they're raping women'."
As pro-regime media pumped out misinformation, the flood of bogus news also spread to the internet, a space activists had long seen as a refuge from censorship and propaganda.
Dr. Fauci warns of post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge in US
The United States is the worst-affected country, with 266,074 Covid-19 deaths, and President Donald Trump's administration has issued conflicting messages on mask-wearing, travel and the danger posed by the virus.
"There almost certainly is going to be an uptick because of what has happened with the travel," Fauci told CNN's "State of the Union."
Travel surrounding Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday made this the busiest week in US airports since the pandemic began.
"We may see a surge upon a surge" in two or three weeks, Fauci added. "We don't want to frighten people, but that's the reality."
Sidney Powell’s new election lawsuit cites election experts she won’t even name: legal expert
President Donald Trump's former election lawyer, Sidney Powell, has filed her lawsuit in Georgia suing Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) for what she says is a fraudulent election.
But lawyer Mike Dunford explained that it doesn't exactly work that way. Reading through Powell's court document "Emergency Motion for Declaratory, Emergency, and Permanent Injunctive Relief and Memorandum in Support Thereof."
"If you want emergency relief it is very helpful to be as clear and concise as humanly possible," he explained. "Pointing the court back to your 100+ page complaint with its 29 exhibits isn't how that is best done. To put it very mildly."