HOUSTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - A citizen journalist who implicated Planned Parenthood in the illegal trafficking of human parts is turning himself in to Texas prosecutors.
David Daleiden — one of the investigators who exposed Planned Parenthood's trafficking in aborted baby parts — was charged by a Houston grand jury last week for the felony of "tampering with a governmental record," in addition to a misdemeanor for "prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs." The felony charge carries a sentence of between two and 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. It can only be applied, however, if it can be proven that the "intent in committing the offense was to defraud or harm another." The other investigator, Sandra Merritt, turned herself in on Wednesday and posted the $2,000 bail.
Daleiden held a press conference Thursday outside the Houston courthouse, speaking to press and a group of supporters. "We're out here to send a strong message that Houston's children and their body parts are not for sale by Planned Parenthood," he declared.
Reverend Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, spoke before Daleiden, calling Daleiden and Merritt "citizen journalists," the only ones who have a grand jury indictment for faking legal documents. He maintained that their actions were justified, arguing that investigative journalists do it in order to get a story.
The Harris County prosecutor's office had offered Daleiden a plea deal that would require him to admit wrongdoing for a reduced sentence, but Daleiden's legal counsel refused. "The only thing we're going to accept right now is an apology," he said.
They are expecting to file motions to dismiss the charges, maintaining they are "factually and legally insufficient."
Daleiden with Sandra Merritt formed the Center for Medical Progress and secretly recorded meetings over 30 months with important people in Planned Parenthood. The videos, released last year, showed Planned Parenthood senior executive members engaging in what appears to be the sale of aborted baby parts. Some footage showed them expressing how difficult it was to abort a baby but still keep the body as intact as possible because they get more money for it.
The videos caused international uproar against Planned Parenthood, causing multiple states as well as the U.S. Congress to launch investigations into the abortion giant. Although a bill to defund Planned Parenthood was passed in both the House and Senate, earlier this week President Obama vetoed the measure, allowing the abortion conglomerate to continue receiving its more than $500 million yearly government payout.
The evidence that Planned Parenthood has committed crimes is sufficiently compelling that both the governor and the state senate are continuing their own probes in spite of the indictments against Daleiden and Merritt.
Before Daleiden turned himself in, he released another video showing a Planned Parenthood director discussing hiding profits from the alleged sale of aborted baby parts. The Center for Medical Progress also released an invoice it obtained showing that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, based in Houston, appeared to receive compensation for fetal specimens.
Some are crediting Planned Parenthood's strong political connections for making the organization seemingly untouchable. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is heavily in favor of the abortion conglomerate and has received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the organization.
When the Center for Medical Progress released its videos, Planned Parenthood claimed to have had the videos analyzed, concluding the videos were "doctored." The Center rejected the charge, responding that although the videos had been edited for time and non-essential content — like adjusting the camera in the bathroom — the essential parts of the videos remain untouched.
Even though Daleiden and Merritt are being charged, Gov. Greg Abbott maintained in a press release that Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast is also being investigated. He promised, "The state of Texas will continue to protect life, and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue."
Daleiden and Merritt's case is scheduled for March 28.