Anti-abortion activists have been vindicated in court for their work last year in exposing the illegal activities of Planned Parenthood.
All charges against the undercover videographers have now been dropped.
The Blaze.com reports:
David Daleiden and his associate Sandra Merritt were indicted for their roles in the release of the videos in January. Misdemeanor charges against Daleiden were dismissed last month.
But Texas District Judge Brock Thomas dismissed the last charge — tampering with government records, a felony — Fox News reported. Prosecutors alleged Daleiden and Merritt used fake driver’s licenses while dealing with Planned Parenthood, the network said, adding that if they had been convicted of the felony charge, each could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
In a statement, Daleiden said that the dismissal of the “bogus, politically motivated charges” against them 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.”
The series of videos released last summer shook the nation as they captured senior employees of Planned Parenthood negotiating for the sale of dead baby body parts.
Maximizing the effect, one video installment in the series was released every week for months.
Later installments included testimony from inside the abortion clinic process.
Pro-Life advocates and Evangelicals rallied around these videos as incontrovertible proof of the malpractice they allege runs rampant within Planned Parenthood abortion clinics.
As the video evidence began to mount against them, Planned Parenthood struck back, filing a lawsuit against the secret filmmakers, David Daleiden, 27, and Sandra Merritt, 63.
In January, Daleiden and Merritt were indicted by a grand jury on the felony of tampering with government records, while Daleiden was also indicted on a misdemeanor charge for the purchase and sale of human organs.
These charges were trumped-up through collusion between Planned Parenthood and public officials. They were described by the defendants as “bogus and politically motivated.”
The misdemeanor charge accused Daleiden of committing the very act he sought to uncover — trafficking in body parts. His play-acting comments were taken at face value for purposes of the indictment.
Judge Bull ignored the arguments of the District Attorney, who felt the misdemeanor indictment against Daleiden was still valid despite the collusion between the DA and Planned Parenthood, and dismissed the charge last month.
The felony charge accused Daleiden and Merritt of tampering with government documents, including the creation and use of fake IDs — methods necessary to their undercover investigation.
District Judge Brock Thomas dismissed the felony charge against them July 26th.
Each defendant would have faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the felony charges.
Planned Parenthood still contends that all the video evidence against them is manufactured and fictitious. Their position is that the undercover filmers committed the only wrongdoing in the whole affair.
Planned Parenthood took special exception to the use of false identities and backstories by the investigators.
Peter Breen, legal representative for Daleiden, countered that the undercover team “used standard undercover journalism techniques” and adhered to all applicable laws.
The video evidence gathered has led to a nationwide investigation by the House Select Investigative Panel of Planned Parenthood that is still ongoing.