The Sacramento Bee reports California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 15 felony charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the activists behind the Center for Medical Progress videos exposing Planned Parenthood employees haggling over the price of “baby parts,” for invasion of privacy.
In a statement, Becerra said, “The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society.”
“We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations,” he said.
The Associate Press reports prosecutors claim Daleiden and Merritt filmed 14 people without consent throughout California. One felony charge was filed per individual, and the 15th felony charge was filed for “criminal conspiracy to invade privacy.”
Becerra’s relationship with Planned Parenthood isn’t anything new. Before becoming attorney general, Becerra received money from Planned Parenthood during his congressional runs. According to opensecrets.org, Becerra received $1,035 from Planned Parenthood in 1998. In 2002, he received $1,000 from Planned Parenthood; in 2004, Becerra received $500 from Planned Parenthood, in 2012, Becerra received $2,000 from Planned Parenthood, and in 2014, he received $1,000.
Just a year later, Planned Parenthood became embroiled in a legal scandal over their alleged illegal sale of fetal tissue purported by the Center for Medical Progress.
In a statement, Daleiden said, “These bogus charges from Planned Parenthood’s political cronies are fake news.”
“They tried the same collusion with corrupt officials in Houston, TX and both the charges and the DA were thrown out,” Daleiden added, speaking of the charge against him for using a false identification to enter a Planned Parenthood that was dropped in July 2016. Daleiden and Merritt faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
“The public knows the real criminals are Planned Parenthood and their business partners like StemExpress and DV Biologics—currently being prosecuted in California—who have harvested and sold aborted baby body parts for profit for years in direct violation of state and federal law. We look forward to showing the entire world what is on our yet-unreleased video tapes of Planned Parenthood’s criminal baby body parts enterprise, in vindication of the First Amendment rights of all,” he continued.
Interim Vice President of Communications for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Mary Alice Carter, issued her own statement saying, “As we have said from the beginning, and as more than a dozen different state investigations have made clear: Planned Parenthood has done nothing wrong, and the only people who broke the law are those behind the fraudulent tapes. The California Attorney General filing criminal charges sends a clear message that you cannot target women and you cannot target health care providers without consequences. We look forward to justice being served.”
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About the writer Ashley Rae Goldenberg