The state Department of Justice has filed felony charges against two anti-abortion activists who allegedly used false pretenses to meet women’s health care providers and secretly record conversations that caused a fire storm over the purported sale of fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood.
David Robert Daleiden and Sandra Merritt are accused in the 15-count complaint of making the recordings at health care providers in Los Angeles, San Francisco and El Dorado counties.
Daleiden and Merritt “used manufactured identities and a fictitious bioresearch company to meet women’s healthcare providers and covertly record the private discussions they initiated,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in Tuesday’s filinig.
“The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s Constitution and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society,” Becerra said. “We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”
The complaint, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, accused the two of recording 14 people, all listed as Does, without their consent.
Daleiden and Merritt, for whom arrest warrants have been issued, published edited video of the conversations on the website of the Irvine-based Center for Medical Progress, which the defendants founded, according to the criminal complaint.
A posting on CMP’s website — titled, “Planned Parenthood’s political cronies file discredited charges against David Daleiden” — called the charges “bogus” and “fake news,” a term used extensively in attacks on news media by President Donald Trump.
“They tried the same collusion with corrupt officials in Houston, Texas and failed: both the charges and the DA were thrown out,” the posting stated. “The public knows the real criminals are Planned Parenthood and their business partners like StemExpress and DV Biologics — currently being prosecuted in California — who have harvested and sold aborted baby body parts for profit for years in direct violation of state and federal law.
We look forward to showing the entire world what is on our yet- unreleased video tapes of Planned Parenthood’s criminal baby body parts enterprise, in vindication of the First Amendment rights of all.”
The recordings were made between April 6 and Oct. 3, 2015 with providers in Los Angeles and Pasadena and in San Francisco and El Dorado counties, the complaint alleges.
The complaint also alleges that Daleiden and Merritt committed conspiracy between Oct. 9, 2013 and July 22, 2015.
The two are accused of making secret recordings at the National Abortion Federation’s 2014 conference and in San Francisco.
The state Department of Justice began an investigation into the matter after receiving a request to do so in December 2015, according to a special agent’s affidavit filed with the complaint.
“Daleiden alleged publicly and to law enforcement that the employees (of the health care providers) were transferring aborted fetal tissue for profit in violation of California law,” the affidavit by Special Agent Brian Cardeell states.
Agents learned that Daleiden created a “phony fetal tissue procurement company, BioMax Procurement Services, for the sole purpose of gaining access to various conferences hosted by Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation and others affiliated with women’s health care services,” according to Cardwell’s affidavit.
The affidavit also states that Daleiden and at least two other people “fraudulently created California driver’s licenses” under false names to obtain a vendor booth for BioMax at the 2014 NAF conference.
“Several of the secretly filmed video segments were edited and subsequently released for public viewing via (the Center for Medical Progress’) website in July of 2015,” Cardwell alleged.
“Immediately afterward, several of the health care providers who had been named and identified in the videos began receiving personal death threats.”
—City News Service
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