Instead Of Indicting Planned Parenthood, Texas Grand Jury Indicts Creators Of Highly Edited Videos
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A Texas grand jury that was investigating Planned Parenthood just opted to not indict the women's reproductive health care provider. Instead, it has handed down indictments for two of the makers of the controversial videos.
David Daleiden (photo), the founder of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), an anti-choice group that worked with Republican members of Congress for over a year to create the videos and create a marketing plan to release them, and another activist, have been indicted.
"Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count of related to purchasing human organs. Another activist was also indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record," the Associated Press just reported.
The second person indicted is Sandra Merritt, also of the CMP. Merritt is also "the founder and CEO of BioMax, the sham tissue procurement company created by the Center to gain entry into abortion clinics and medical conferences," the Dallas Morning News adds.
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson "said the grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing."
The videos are highly and selectively edited, and have been used as "evidence" by anti-abortion activists and anti-choice conservatives to fraudulently claim "Planned Parenthood sells aborted baby parts."
Every state that has investigated Planned Parenthood in response to the videos has found no evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood.
All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (EST)
UPDATE I: 5:32 PM –
Texas Tea Party Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had "ordered the investigation after a series of undercover videos released by anti-abortion activists accused the organization of illegally profiting from aborted fetuses," ThinkProgress reports.
UPDATE II: 5:41 PM –
"Planned Parenthood, in a letter to Congress said Daleiden was involved in secretly recording Planned Parenthood staff and patients at least 65 times over the last eight years," the Houston Chronicle reports. Planned Parenthood said CMP "also illegally taped private professional conversations of doctors and other medical providers and spliced together shards of long conversations to create short videos in order to spread false claims."
UPDATE III: 5:55 PM –
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott promises to keep spending Texas tax dollars investigating Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that absolutely no one who has has found any evidence of illegal activity.
UPDATE IV: 7:15 PM –
"If convicted of the top charge, Daleiden and Merritt could face up to 20 years behind bars," Buzzfeed reports.
UPDATE V: 7:42 PM –
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.