(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.”
UPDATE (01/30/23): Mark Houck has been AQUITTED on both charges!
Thanks be to God LifeSiteNews can report that Mark Houck has been found "Not Guilty" on all counts today.
In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania spokeswoman and Houck family friend Ashley Garecht said “We rejoice and celebrate that Mark Houck has been found not guilty on all counts.”
“This case was always about a father’s right to protect his son, and never had anything to do with the FACE act,” she said. “We are grateful to the judge for his integrity, and to the jurors for their thoughtful deliberations. We are grateful to Mark’s attorneys who labored so diligently in his defense. And we are grateful for all of those who surrounded and supported Mark and his family in prayer through this challenging ordeal.”
“Most of all we praise and thank God for his protection and provision,” Garecht added. “To Him be all the glory.”
The Thomas More Society is set to hold a press conference today on the 6th street side of the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse, 601 Market Street, Philadelphia.
Monday’s verdict came after a tense weekend wait following a deadlocked jury on Friday.
Several hours into Monday’s deliberations after the jury reconvened, an alternate was chosen to replace one of the jurors. Just before 3:00 p.m. EST, the jury delivered its verdict, acquitting Houck on both charges.
Mark Houck, a pro-life Catholic father of 7, became the latest victim of an FBI raid and arrest on the morning of Friday September 23 — for supposed “FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) Act” violations — at his rural home as his children looked on “screaming.”
The arrest and raid stems from an altercation with a Planned Parenthood worker.
According to Mark’s wife Ryan-Marie, a “pro-abortion protester” would verbally harrass Mark's 12-year old son — hurling vulgar and derogatory statements.
When the protestor encroached in the boy's space, Mark defended his son. At that point, “Mark shoved him away from his child, and the guy fell back,” Ryan-Marie recounts.
The protestor was not injured, but he tried to sue Mark Houck for the assault but his case was thrown out of court in the early summer.
WE CANNOT ALLOW THE LEFT TO HARRASS PRO-LIFE ADVOCATES THIS WAY!
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In case you hadn't caught on already, the satanic Biden administration is waging war on Christians. https://t.co/E6ChpZVDYW— Michael (X) Knowles ✊ (@michaeljknowles) September 24, 2022
The description of this arrest sounds like it took place in a totalitarian state. A tragic unraveling of Justice in America. https://t.co/e3vEID7E39— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) September 25, 2022
If convicted, Houck faces up to a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000, according to the Justice Department.
Additional conservative pro-life leaders have weighed in — this is why we need your support ASAP.
“Just in the last few days we’ve seen some pretty glaring examples of what appear to be instances of DOJ [Department of Justice] overreach. You’ve got a Catholic father of seven who formed a group designed to encourage young men to be faithful to their commitments, arrested in front of his seven children just recently. You’ve got all these instances of overreach. It’s deeply concerning to us all. These are all things we’re gonna be looking into.” — US Senator Mike Lee
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“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.
Mark Houck acquitted on both charges in major pro-life victory
US bishop: Biden’s DOJ ‘picked the wrong guy to mess with’ in raiding Mark Houck