HOUSTON, April 14, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A Houston district attorney colluded with Planned Parenthood to indict undercover pro-life investigators on charges that could net them 20 years in prison, according to attorneys for David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt.
Today, their legal counsel filed two legal motions to dismiss all charges pending in Texas against the pair.
“The DA's office has chosen to wage a war on the pro-life movement,” one of Daleiden's attorneys, Jared Woodfill, said during a press conference today. “We believe there is clear evidence of Planned Parenthood actually colluding with and pushing the District Attorney's office to move forward with these indictments.”
On January 25, the Harris County grand jury indicted Daleiden and Merritt for using false identification, a felony, and a misdemeanor charge of attempting to purchase human organs. If convicted, they could face more than two decades in prison.
Daleiden and Merritt are accused of using a fake ID while posing as purchasers for a biomedical company. The Center for Medical Progress' 30-month-long investigation, which went public last July, exposed Planned Parenthood's practices of harvesting human organs from aborted babies, then receiving payment for its “fetal tissue donation” program.
One of those outlets, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, is based in Houston. But the grand jury empaneled to hear legal complaints about the group instead told District Attorney Devon Anderson it was charging Daleiden and Merritt.
Daleiden's attorneys said that was no coincidence. The abortion provider worked with Anderson's office behind the scenes to assure the legal tables were turned.
Planned Parenthood's attorney, Josh Schaeffer, told the media he “explicitly pushed prosecutors” to charge the whistleblowers instead of his client. He added he and prosecutors maintained a “dialogue…about the details of the case, and that kept going throughout.”
Daleiden's attorneys say they enjoyed no such collaborative relationship with Anderson's office.
The notion that ongoing, secret investigations had been leaked is one of three grounds they cite for dismissing the charges against Daleiden and Merritt.
Texas state law holds that indictments shall not be made public “if the defendant is not in custody,” the motion to quash states, but the indictments against CMP's investigators were made available on the internet the day they were released.
Attorneys also maintain that the “hold over” order for the grand jury was too vague, which broadened its authority beyond any legally permissible bounds.
“You would expect this in New York and California but not in Houston,” Woodfill told Breitbart.
In addition to the Houston case, Daleiden's attorneys with the Life Legal Defense Foundation say the 27-year-old could face charges in his native California, after state agents raided his apartment and confiscated all his videos, including unreleased footage of Planned Parenthood.
Pro-life advocates have said that California Attorney General Kamala Harris should resign, because she has taken tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood and other organizations that support abortion-on-demand, creating a conflict of interest.