Women's Health

Final Charges Dropped In Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Video Investigation

David Daleiden is not going to go to trial for filming the infamous, undercover Planned Parenthood "baby parts" videos. Tuesday, the Harris County District Attorney requested that the remaining charge against Daleiden and his partner, Sandra Merritt, be dropped. Judge Brock Thomas agreed, dismissing claims that Daleiden and Merritt had illegally altered driver's licenses and business records in order to obtain access to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast facilities in Houston.

Daleiden and Merritt's efforts were part of what they called an investigative journalism project into the purported sale of fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood, something that, if proved, would be a federal crime. Planned Parenthood officials said Daleiden and Merritt committed fraud in order to film their videos, which experts said were very heavily edited and spliced together before they were released.  

The Harris County grand jury that indicted Daleiden and Merritt earlier this year was convened after Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick requested an investigation into the claims Daleiden made in conjunction with the release of the video filmed at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. 
The grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood entirely, and none of the similar investigations that have taken place around the country because of Daleiden's videos have turned up any wrong doing on the part of the reproductive health provider.

The district attorney's office didn't offer much of an explanation as to why it dropped the charges:

"The grand jury took the investigation where the facts led it, however Texas law limits what can be investigated after a grand jury extension order is issued. In light of this and after careful research and review, this office dismissed the indictments," the office said in a statement.

After the Monday morning hearing, Daleiden exulted. "The dismissal of the bogus, politically motivated charges against CMP project lead David Daleiden and investigator Sandra Merritt 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," he said in statement.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young