This afternoon, the San Francisco Superior Court tossed out 14 of the 15 criminal charges that had been brought by the state of California against two journalists from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), after they released a series of undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s possible involvement in illegal fetal-tissue trafficking.
In late March, California attorney general Xavier Becerra charged David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt with 15 felony charges for recording what he deemed to be confidential communications. Today, a judge dismissed 14 of those charges, but will still consider the remaining 15th charge, against Merritt alone, for conspiring to invade privacy.
In a statement today, an official with the group representing Merritt said they are optimistic about having this charge dropped as well. He also pointed out that Becerra received thousands of dollars in campaign donations from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL during his time as a Democratic congressman.
More details from Life News:
The San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday dismissed 14 of 15 criminal counts but the pair are still charged with one count of conspiracy to invade privacy. However the court dismissed the charges with leave to amend — meaning Becerra could re-file the charges with additional supposed evidence against the pair.
The court ruled that counts 1-14 were legally insufficient. The state has the opportunity to amend if it can plead a more legally sufficient and specific complaint. The California’s Attorney General filed 15 criminal counts against Merritt, with counts 1-14 for each of the alleged interviews and count 15 for an alleged conspiracy. San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite gave the state attorney general’s office until mid-July to file a revised complaint.
Aside from being a victory for the freedom of the press, this decision is another big win for the CMP journalists — who were cleared of criminal charges last year in Texas, as well — vindicating them against the frequent claim from pro-abortion activists that they engaged in illegal activity and duplicitous editing of footage to falsely incriminate Planned Parenthood.
There is still a civil lawsuit on this matter pending in California, brought against the CMP by Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation. Unlike these criminal charges, however, that suit does not carry the threat of jail time.