Conservative media figures criticized the indictment of anti-choice group Center for Medical Progress' (CMP) founder David Daleiden and another employee as “a travesty” and “a political hit job,” questioning whether the prosecutor -- who is a Republican -- was trying to “send a message.”
Center For Medical Progress Founder, Employee Indicted
Texas Grand Jury Indicted Two Members Of Anti-Choice Group Center For Medical Progress. After a Houston grand jury investigation into Planned Parenthood found no wrongdoing, the jury indicted Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden and activist Sandra Merritt for “tampering with a governmental record.” Daleiden was indicted for a misdemeanor charge related to the attempted purchasing of human organs. The indictment came after CMP released a series of doctored videos claiming to show Planned Parenthood selling aborted fetal parts:
Prosecutors in Harris County said one of the leaders of the Center for Medical Progress -- an anti-abortion group that made secretly recorded videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to illegally profit from the sale of fetal tissue -- had been indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record, a felony, and on a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs.
That leader, David R. Daleiden, 27, the director of the center, had posed as a biotechnology representative to infiltrate Planned Parenthood affiliates and surreptitiously record his efforts to procure tissue for research. Another center employee, Sandra S. Merritt, 62, was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record.
The record-tampering charges accused Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt of making and presenting fake California driver's licenses, with the intent to defraud, for their April meeting at Planned Parenthood in Houston.
In making the videos, Mr. Daleiden and others have been accused of setting up a fake company called Biomax Procurement Services, creating fake identities and claiming to be part of a legitimate provider of fetal tissue to researchers.
The fake IDs used by Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt, images of which were included as exhibits in court documents, resemble California-issued licenses. Mr. Daleiden went by Robert Sarkis on his license, and Ms. Merritt used the name Susan Sarah Tennenbaum. Warrants were issued for each defendant with a bond amount of $10,000. [The New York Times, 1/25/16]
They Were Trying To “Send A Message”: Conservative Media Slam Indictment Against CMP Members
Fox's Megyn Kelly: “Does This Sound Like A Political Hit Job?” On the January 25 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly questioned whether the indictment against Daleiden and Merritt was a “political hit job.” Fox's senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano responded, “absolutely”:
MEGYN KELLY (HOST): Developing tonight, a Texas grand jury bringing criminal charges, recommending them, against the filmmaker who shot a series of hidden camera videos targeting Planned Parenthood. David Daleiden -- I can never pronounce that, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress was indicted on charges that he tampered with a government record and purchase and sale of human organs, he was the guy making the videos. Another colleague of his was also charged. Planned Parenthood was not charged. Joining me now, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano. Now Judge, what does this mean?
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: This means that a political prosecutor has injected herself in a very serious issue about whether or not Planned Parenthood was profiting from the abortion of babies by selling body parts. Here's the backstory, the Lt. Governor of Texas, the new Lt. Governor Dan Patrick is a very very serious pro-life advocate, was before he was Lt. Governor and is now. He asked this prosecutor to investigate whether or not these tapes were real. Was Planned Parenthood really offering to sell body parts and did they in fact reference that they had sold body parts?
KELLY: Which they deny.
NAPOLITANO: Which they deny. And anybody that watches these tapes can come to their own conclusion. I submit that if you watch them you will conclude that they did sell body parts and were willing to sell them in the future.
KELLY: So does this sound like a political hit job? Or what is this?
NAPOLITANO: Absolutely. This is a political hit job. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 1/25/16]
Townhall.com: Indictment Of CMP Leader Is “Madness.” In a January 25 article, Townhall.com's Cortney O'Brien called the indictment “madness,” and lamented the fact that the Houston grand jury decided to indict those “behind ... the camera.” O'Brien advocated for stripping Planned Parenthood of its funding, arguing that there was “graphic proof” of Planned Parenthood's “inhumane” practices:
Last summer, The Center for Medical Progress gave us graphic proof of Planned Parenthood's inhumane treatment of the unborn. Their shocking under cover videos showed, among other horrors, employees sifting through dishes of aborted baby parts as if they were toys, and gleefully negotiating the sale of the organs.
While pro-life advocates hoped there would be some consequences for Planned Parenthood after a Houston grand jury took the investigation into consideration, the latter has instead decided to punish the people behind of the camera.
To relieve Planned Parenthood from any wrongdoing in light of the CMP's investigation is a travesty. Add to this blow the fact that the organization will continue to receive an annual half billion dollars of taxpayer funding thanks to President Obama's veto of Congress' reconciliation bill. At the very least, Planned Parenthood should be stripped of its funding for its disregard for human life. [Townhall.com, 1/25/16]
Fox's Andrew Napolitano: Indictment Was A “Political Hit Job,” The Prosecutor Wanted To “Send A Message.” On the January 26 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Napolitano echoed his previous claim that this indictment of CMP's members was a “political hit job” and questioned why a prosecutor would do this “other than to send a message.” Napolitano claimed this indictment will “deter journalists” in the future:
STEVE DOOCY (HOST): A stunning turn in the investigation into Planned Parenthood. Activists from the anti-abortion group who documented these potentially illegal practices by Planned Parenthood, the activists are now facing charges. The group's founder was indicted last night by a grand jury for tampering with government records. Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano joins us live. So, this grand jury was looking into whether or not Planned Parenthood had broken any laws. And rather than saying, yeah, they broke the laws, they said the people who did the investigating broke the laws.
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: This is really a head-scratcher. And I'm beginning to think that it is a political hit job on the people who did the investigating. So you have bona fide journalists assuming identities, pretending to be medical ethicists or people in the business of dealing with body parts going to Planned Parenthood saying, all these abortions, are you really selling the body parts? Well, yeah, we are. We do this with that. We do that with this. Are you interested in any further sale of the body parts? While they're having this conversation, pretending to be somebody that they're not, they're really, seriously pro-life people wanting to expose how government dollars are being used by Planned Parenthood, they are taping this. The tapes came out. There's a big uproar. The Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, a fiercely pro-life person, asks this prosecutor to investigate. She investigates. Now, what does investigate mean? You empanel a grand jury of 23 people. You tell them who your target is.
DOOCY: Planned Parenthood.
NAPOLITANO: Right, and you produce evidence. The grand jury does not turn around and indict your witnesses, the people who brought you the case, without the prosecutor wanting this to happen. So why would this prosecutor appointed by Governor Perry, a former judge, a Republican woman, why would this prosecutor want to do this, other than to send a message like, 'I might be a Republican, but leave Planned Parenthood alone'? Leave it alone -- they're using tax dollars to kill babies and sell their body parts.
DOOCY: Apparently one of the charges is purchasing human organs, all right. How can you be indicted for purchasing human organs without indicting the --
DOOCY: -- selling the human organs?
NAPOLITANO: You know, this type of indictment will chill, will deter journalists who want to have conversations with people. You have a conversation --
DOOCY: Journalists use the techniques every day. 60 Minutes, 20/20 --
NAPOLITANO: And so does the government use these techniques.
DOOCY: Of course.
NAPOLITANO: There's a bad person out there. You find out how far they will go in their evil designs. The person having the conversation is not committing a crime because they don't have the intent to commit the crime. They're just trying to find out if the other is willing to do so.
DOOCY: But ultimately your gut tells you?
NAPOLITANO: A political hit job.
DOOCY: Planned Parenthood says they've been exonerated.
NAPOLTIANO: Oh, Planned Parenthood is delighted. They're not exonerated. There are investigations in 14 different states still going on. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/26/16]
InfoWars: Indictment Against CMP Founder “Is A Travesty.” A January 26 Infowars post called the indictment against Daleiden “a travesty,” and claimed that “whistleblowers got punished for trying to take down a grave human injustice”:
What happened in Texas today is a travesty. Whistleblowers got punished for trying to take down a grave human injustice. Is it surprising? Sadly no. As I stated at the opening of this post, Planned Parenthood rakes in billions of dollars. Abortion is a cash cow. Abortion is the sacrament of liberalism. Killing babies is a lucrative business and if you thought Planned Parenthood would lay down its curettages and aspirators... no.
Look no further than history and the Civil War. Like abortion, slavery was a huge issue for Democrats (yes, Democrats supported slavery). Like abortion, slavery was a money issue. The southern states needed slavery for their agricultural businesses to thrive. Like abortion, slavery wasn't just going to go away with people seeing the truth of slavery (though that certainly helped in England, thank you William Wilberforce). [InfoWars.com, 1/26/15]