It’s real trouble for a fake journalist.
A Houston grand jury tasked with investigating a Planned Parenthood affiliate instead indicted the group that was throwing shade.
As the Associated Press reported on Monday:
David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to purchasing human organs. Another activist, Sandra Merritt, was also indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record.
As co-founder of the antiabortion CMP, the Davis-bred Daleiden infiltrated reproductive health clinics and conferences over a three-year period by posing as a tissue procurement middleman and secretly recording his conversations. Daleiden and his accomplices, which included fellow activists and hired actors, wanted to show that Planned Parenthood illegally profited by selling aborted fetal tissue to biomedical research facilities. Despite some creative video editing, they failed.
But the footage, released on CMP’s website, did prompt Republican-led congressional inquiries, state-by-state attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and increased hostility toward abortion providers and their allies, including death threats targeting a Placerville biomedical company’s CEO.
Daleiden and his allies framed the group’s use of false identities and video espionage as the work of investigative journalists. But the Houston grand jury—as well as two federal lawsuits here in California—characterized the work as fraud.
A federal complaint filed earlier this month on behalf of several Planned Parenthood affiliates described “a complex criminal enterprise” involving “fake companies, fake identifications, and large-scale illegal taping.”
While the grand jury decision was particularly embarrassing for Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who requested a criminal investigation into Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in response to Daleiden’s videos, it may portend a more welcome outcome here in California. In July of last year, Attorney General Kamala Harris launched an investigation into CMP.
It’s a crime to record confidential or private communications without the consent of all parties. It’s not a crime to donate fetal tissue, the research of which has contributed over the decades to the development of a multitude of vaccines that attack everything from polio to rabies and include an experimental one targeting Ebola.