- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pro-life investigator David Daleiden posted bail Thursday in Houston while his attorneys said he would refuse a plea deal on charges stemming from his undercover probe of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

Mr. Daleiden surrendered and posted a $3,000 bond in Harris County District Court after being indicted Jan. 25 on a felony charge of tampering with a government ID — in this case, making a fake driver’s license — and a misdemeanor charge of attempting to buy fetal tissue.

His attorneys told reporters that Mr. Daleiden plans to refuse the Harris County District Attorney’s pretrial-diversion offer that, in exchange for a guilty plea, would guarantee no jail time, and that he will take the case to trial if the charges are not dropped.

“He deserves an apology at this point,” said Thomas More Society special counsel Peter Breen at a press conference outside the courthouse filmed by LifeSite. “He is innocent. These charges are legally and factually baseless.”

The indictment stems from the Center for Medical Progress’s nearly three-year undercover investigation into Planned Parenthood, in which Mr. Daleiden and other investigators posed as representatives of a phony tissue-procurement corporation, BioMax.

They secretly videotaped Planned Parenthood officials discussing and negotiating payment for fetal tissue from abortions, then released a series of videos starting in July that ignited state and federal calls to defund Planned Parenthood.

Footage from outside the Houston courtroom shows Mr. Daleiden smiling and entering the courtroom with his attorney as a small throng of supporters claps. One woman cries, “God bless you!”

A second CMP investigator, Sandra S. Merritt, was booked and released Wednesday on a $2,000 bond. She was indicted on the same felony charge related to creating a phony driver’s license.

The pro-life movement was stunned when the Harris County grand jury returned indictments against Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt while filing no charges against Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, which was initially the target of the district attorney’s investigation.

“I think we all know that every day that goes by that the Texas authorities do not prosecute Planned Parenthood for their illegal trade in baby parts, they are sending a message to the entire country that the state of Texas right now is open for business in baby body parts,” Mr. Daleiden said at the press conference.

Eric Ferrero, vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement Thursday that “we’re glad they’re being held accountable.”

“The wheels of justice have only begun to roll,” Mr. Ferrero said. “We don’t expect this to be the last time these extremists are booked and fingerprinted. These people broke multiple federal laws and violated the law in at least four states, all in order to spread lies about Planned Parenthood.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told LifeNews at the Houston courthouse that “Mr. Daleiden is a hero, not a criminal.”

“In fact, he exposed Planned Parenthood’s criminal practices using the same techniques that undercover journalists before him have used to uncover the truth,” she said.

Mr. Daleiden, who was the lead investigator on the California-based CMP’s Human Capital project, is scheduled to appear again in court on March 28.

The CMP released a twelfth undercover video Wednesday accusing Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast of using “accounting gimmicks” to “hide its illegal sale of fetal tissue.”

The footage shows a hidden-camera interview with PPGC director of research Melissa Farrell discussing with undercover investigators the costs and billing associated with procuring fetal tissue from abortions.

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