The Harris County district attorney’s office this morning dismissed all charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, both of whom were indicted in Texas after their undercover videos alleged that Planned Parenthood was involved in illegal fetal tissue trafficking.
In January, the grand jury tasked with investigating Planned Parenthood as a result of the videos instead decided to indict the two investigators themselves, charging them with second-degree felony for tampering with governmental records to make fake identity cards. Daleiden also faced a misdemeanor charge for allegedly attempting to purchase human organs.
Daleiden issued a statement today responding to the dismissal:
[The dismissal] is a resounding vindication of the First Amendment rights of all citizen journalists, and also a clear warning to any of Planned Parenthood’s political cronies who would attack whistleblowers to protect Planned Parenthood from scrutiny. Planned Parenthood tried to collude with public officials to manipulate the legal process to their own benefit, and they failed. A year after the release of the undercover videos, the ongoing nationwide investigation of Planned Parenthood by the House Select Investigative Panel makes clear that Planned Parenthood is the guilty party in the harvesting and trafficking of baby body parts for profit.
Since the videos emerged last July, one of Planned Parenthood’s primary defenses has been to accuse the investigators of illegal activity, and, as such, the group claimed that none of the video footage would be admissible evidence in court. In the wake of today’s news, this attempted defense has been invalidated.