SACRAMENTO, September 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A series of newly discovered e-mails shows the California state attorney general’s office colluded with Planned Parenthood on a bill that would send undercover pro-life journalists to prison. Planned Parenthood wrote multiple drafts and played an “integral” part in passing the bill through secret communications with Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office.
Steve Cooley, a former district attorney in Los Angeles County who represents David Daleiden, tells LifeSiteNews exclusively that the e-mails are “highly unusual,” and the state’s handling of his routine records request is “bizarre.”
California lawmakers have passed Assembly Bill 1617 (AB 1617), which would punish anyone caught secretly recording “confidential communication with a health care provider” – such as an abortionist – and sharing the recording in any way, including on “web sites and social media.”
If Gov. Jerry Brown signs the law, violators such as the Center for Medical Progress and Live Action will be subject to a $2,500 fine and one year in prison for a first offense, or up to $10,000 for repeat offenses.
But new e-mails show that Planned Parenthood literally wrote the law. Beth Parker, chief legal counsel for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, drafted two versions of AB 1617 in e-mails to Jill Habig, then-special counsel to Attorney General Kamala Harris.
“Attached is the language for AB 1671, proposed amendments to Penal Code section 632,” Parker wrote in an e-mail dated March 8. On March 16, she followed up, “Here’s the rewrite of the video tape bill.”
“Let me know what you think,” she wrote.
A March 29 e-mail obtained by the California-based Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) shows another member of Harris’ team, Special Counsel Robert Sumner, asking Planned Parenthood Legislative Director Christina Romero for “a breakdown of PPAC’s legislative priorities this session…in the interests of being helpful where I can.”
David Daleiden’s attorney tells LifeSiteNews the collusion between the state and the state’s largest abortion provider on its top legislative priority is shady.
“Now that we know more about who was involved on Kamala Harris’ part, we can say it is virtually unprecedented, highly unusual, and very suspect,” Cooley tells LifeSiteNews.
And, he tells LifeSiteNews, the way the state handled his Public Records Act request raises yet more red flags.
“I must tell you there are more e-mails out there that I’m sure we did not get,” Cooley tells LifeSiteNews. “The Department of Justice in response to our e-mail request, we understand, allowed Jill Habig to scroll through her own depository of e-mails and determine which, if any, could be responsive to the Public Records request.”
“That is bizarre,” he said. “The agency should be checking e-mails, not the person who sent the suspect e-mails,” referring to Ms. Habig, whom he called “the prime suspect.”
That protocol may be necessary if Habig used a private e-mail address while conducting state business. Public records show that she had a state e-mail address while serving in Harris’ office.
LifeSiteNews asked Habig these and other questions. Habig did not immediately reply to LifeSiteNews’ queries.
Pro-life leaders had already questioned the propriety of Harris’ criminal investigation into CMP, which incorporated its faux biologics business, “Biomax,” in California as part of its 30-month-long investigation into Planned Parenthood’s alleged sale of aborted babies’ organs and tissue.
Investigators from Harris’ office stormed David Daleiden’s apartment on April 5, seizing his computers and hundreds of hours of unreleased video footage “that has not seen the light of day yet.”
Harris, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer, has received massive campaign donations from the abortion lobby, raising $676,634 from groups dedicated to “women’s issues” this cycle alone.
Habig is now Harris’ deputy campaign manager.
Cooley says the uncovered e-mails place Harris’ actions under a cloud of suspicion.
“There probably should never have been an investigation to begin with,” Cooley tells LifeSiteNews. “Our Public Records Act request suggests there is no history at all over the last decade or so of the Department of Justice investigating or prosecuting this particular penal code section that is the heart of their investigation.”
“Why – after all these many, many years of never having undertaken such an investigation – did they come down on Mr. Daleiden?” Cooley asks. “I think it’s because Planned Parenthood wanted to crush Mr. Daleiden, and they had a friend and an ally who happened to wield that power do their bidding.”
Other pro-life leaders agree. Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action, told LifeSiteNews, in a statement subsequently e-mailed to other media outlets, that “Kamala Harris is supposed to represent the people and uphold the law. Instead, these e-mails show Harris is more interested in brazenly attacking the First Amendment and helping Planned Parenthood hide human rights abuses and potentially illegal and abusive activity from public view.”
“Kamala Harris is using valuable taxpayer resources to protect Planned Parenthood’s financial interests by criminalizing whistleblower videos,” said Alexandra Snyder, LLDF executive director, in a statement originally sent to LifeSiteNews.
Planned Parenthood, which receives more than half-a-billion dollars from U.S. taxpayers annually, has a history of lobbying prosecutors to indict its critics. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast played a pivotal role in turning a grand jury investigation of trafficking in human body parts into the indictment of Daleiden and Sandra Merritt in Harris County, Texas. The charges were dropped in July.
Cooley says if Harris presses charges against his client, he will file litigation, if necessary, to “expose this collusion that I think is now unfolding in the media.”
“Mr. Daleiden is the victim of an overbearing, biased attorney general who is doing the bidding of her longtime supporters in Planned Parenthood,” Cooley tells LifeSiteNews.