A California judge on Friday allowed nine counts of criminal eavesdropping charges to go forward against two anti-abortion activists who surreptitiously filmed Planned Parenthood employees.
The stage is now set for a criminal trial of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt in San Francisco Superior Court. Judge Christopher Hite tossed out five counts on Friday, but Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt could still face prison time if convicted. California outlaws taping without consent.
“Today’s ruling in California v. David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt proves how unfounded and outrageous the charges are against Daleiden and Merritt,” said Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action. “Not only is it a violation of their First Amendment rights and a gross abuse of power, it demonstrates the politically motivated double standard that exists for journalists in California seeking the truth.”
The prosecution of Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt began under then-Attorney General Kamala Harris, following the internet publishing of videos shot of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of fetal body parts.
Some states allow for the donation of fetal tissue, but many expressly outlaw the practice.
“Former California Attorney General Kamala Harris concocted this bogus, biased prosecution with her Planned Parenthood backers against undercover video reporting, and now their case if falling apart as the facts about Planned Parenthood’s criminal organ trafficking are revealed in the courtroom,” said Mr. Daleiden in a statement.
In November, a jury found Mr. Daleiden liable for $870,000 in damages to Planned Parenthood for unlawfully recording conversations and racketeering.