Judging by the reaction from the Left, you’d think the Center for Medical Progress and its leadership, including President David Daleiden, were being dragged away to be tarred, feathered and covered in Planned Parenthood literature. But no.
We don’t have many details on the individual charges – or a Houston grand jury determined they were committing crimes while attempting to expose Planned Parenthood’s baby parts trade but suffice it to say, it’s a bit scary for the organization, which worked tirelessly to publicly demonstrate not only Planned Parenthood’s bizarre involvement in human experimentation, but also its callous approach to its “womens health” focus. According to the Washington Post, Daleidin and his associate will face off against the Houston DA on two counts: one of organ trafficking (which is a misdemeanor), and one of “tampering with a government record” (I assume over presenting false identification, a felony).
A Houston grand jury that was investigating accusations of criminal misconduct against Planned Parenthood on Monday instead indicted the leader of an anti-abortion group that recorded covert videos of the organization’s employees.
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said David Daleiden, the director of the Center for Medical Progress, faces a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to buying human tissue.
Sandra Merritt, one of Daleiden’s employees, was also indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record.
The indictment doesn’t give any details on how the grand jury came to its conclusion, but it’s important to remember that in grand jury proceedings, information is presented in a light most favorable to prosecution and there are no defenses or alternate explanations presented. So the prosecution can frame the debate the way they see fit, and the grand jury is asked to take their evidence at face value. That’s why its such a shock to, say, #BlackLivesMatter activists, when grand juries fail to hand down indictments in police shooting cases.
There are a few articles wondering why PP didn’t get indicted but CMP did. Although it’s not required for both the buyer and seller to share in the criminality of an endeavor, my theory is that the prosecution must have presented the facts as though PP were simply asking CMP for a “donation” to recoup their losses on preserving and shipping the fetal tissue, while CMP was actively offering to “buy” the tissue from PP, a violation of the law. Given that CMP wasn’t present to say that they were (1) offering to take control of the tissue in exchange for money as part of a sting investigation (and under a method of investigative journalism used by everyone from Jon Stossel to Dateline) and that (2) they had never made an overt offer, such an inference – that CMP was attempting to “buy” the fetal tissue – was never refuted. We know from the videos that PP regularly alludes to the fact that they are given an “extra something” above and beyond their own costs when collecting, preserving and shipping baby parts (after all, they joke about affording fancy cars).
But, of course, that last bit goes to the heart of why CMP’s videos are so controversial. Even though Planned Parenthood mantains that it merely asks for their costs back from the people who take the baby part, what PP is paid for each part is the subject of speculation. Prosecutors in Houston clearly took Planned Parenthood at their word.
I know David has the best legal counsel available, and was more than prepared for this type of situation, but that doesn’t make it any less unfair. Here’s hoping this is all resolved quickly.