(LifeSiteNews) — Recently acquitted pro-life sidewalk counselor Mark Houck revealed to the public that the U.S. government offered him a plea deal before trying him for Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) violations, an offer the Catholic dad flatly refused.
During an interview with Steve Bannon, Houck said that he “thought it important for your audience to know” the government’s attempt to push the case away and not take it through the trial.
“Two weeks ago, the federal government thought so highly of their case that they came in with a plea offer that would have reduced it to basically nothing, for me to just walk away with a slap on the wrist, provided I plead guilty,” Houck said.
The pro-life father of seven, who was accused of violating the FACE Act during a 2021 altercation with a Planned Parenthood escort, rejected the offer.
“My wife told me, ‘You’re not allowed home if you take that plea,’” Houck continued. “I was not going to take that plea, but I just wanted your audience to know that that’s how highly the government thought of this case.”
He added, “I knew I had to do it for the cause and for the [pro-life] movement.”
“I knew the importance of allowing this case to set precedence for the pro-life movement, to have case law on the books. I just think it’s important to know that the government knew it was a flimsy case and that they saw so little in it that they were going to ask me to plea it down to a misdemeanor.”
Houck expressed gratitude that “God has created me for such a time as this” and provided the “opportunity” to stand for life during the recent trial which has gained national attention.
“I saw the opportunity, I knew it was martyrdom, and what does martyr mean? It means witness,” he said.
Asked when he was planning to return to peaceful protest outside the Philadelphia abortion center, Houck said he will be back to his “regular schedule” of sidewalk counseling next week, to which Bannon replied, “Mark Houck, you’re a good man.”
The pro-life father was arrested in September after a radical FBI raid at his Pennsylvania home. He was then slammed with two counts of FACE Act violations for pushing a Planned Parenthood escort who was verbally harassing his son in 2021. When he pleaded not guilty to the charges, he faced up to 11 years in federal prison and up to $350,000 in fines.
A key argument presented by defense attorneys in the case was that the FACE Act never included protections for escorts who ensure women enter abortion facilities to kill their babies. There were no pregnant women involved in the 2021 altercation and in no way did it pertain to any cause for litigation under the FACE Act. After a week in court, a federal jury acquitted Houck of all charges against him.
Houck is planning to press charges against the DOJ for the raid and arrest which “terrorized our children” and continues to affect his family. As he told LifeSiteNews in an interview, he plans to testify to his family’s trauma before Congress. He also expressed “tremendous relief, tremendous joy, [and] tremendous peace” that the trial had ended and truth had won.