Socialists love political show trials.
California’s attorney general filed felony invasion-of-privacy charges Tuesday against two antiabortion activists who posed as employees of a fetal research company to infiltrate meetings of abortion providers and secretly record conversations that they posted on their website.
David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were charged in San Francisco Superior Court with conspiracy and 14 counts of violating a California law against eavesdropping and recording a confidential communication without consent.
Eight of the charges involve conversations at the annual convention of the National Abortion Federation in San Francisco in April 2014. The other charges stem from meetings with individual health care providers and researchers in Los Angeles and El Dorado counties in 2014 and 2015. One, a Los Angeles physician, later received death threats, prosecutors said.
“The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”
Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Mary Alice Carter said the criminal charges Tuesday sent “a clear message that you cannot target woman and you cannot target health care providers without consequences.”
Daleiden and his colleagues, posing as researchers, released edited videos in 2015 purporting to show Planned Parenthood employees discussing their illegal sale of fetal tissue. Investigations by officials in at least 12 states have rejected those allegations, but Republicans in Congress and a number of states have cited the videos to seek defunding of Planned Parenthood.
The new criminal charges involve events that surfaced earlier in federal court in San Francisco, where a judge found that Daleiden and others had used fraud to gain access to National Abortion Federation meetings. U.S. District Judge William Orrick III has barred the antiabortion group from making any of the recordings public, and said Daleiden and his colleagues had tried to trap members of the abortion federation into expressing interest in selling fetal tissue.
In a sworn declaration filed Tuesday, state investigator Brian Cardwell said Daleiden had created a “phony fetal tissue procurement company,” BioMax Procurement Services, in 2013 in order to gain access to conferences held by Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation and other providers of health care for women.
Cardwell said Daleiden and Merritt, using false names and fake California driver’s licenses, obtained a vendor’s booth at the April 2014 convention in San Francisco and recorded conversations with at least eight attendees. Cardwell said all eight told him they had believed they were speaking privately, and one said she later had to hire security after the video was released and protesters showed up at her facility.
A Los Angeles physician who spoke with the supposed researchers at a restaurant in July 2014 told police in September 2015 that she learned the meeting had been recorded after excerpts of the video were posted on the website of Daeiden’s group and she started receiving death threats in the mail, Cardwell said.
He said Daleiden made similar undercover recordings of three employees of the biotech company StemExpress in May 2015 after telling sheriff’s officers in El Dorado County that StemExpress was selling human fetal tissue for profit. Daleiden provided electronic documents he had stolen from StemExpress to support his accusations, Cardwell said but the sheriff’s office conducted its own investigation and cleared StemExpress of any illegal acts.
So I guess those videos weren’t fake after all.
I really hope this goes to trial. I can’t wait to watch them play the full unedited videos in court. Then the defense attorneys can cross-examine the “victims”. The best part will be when the “victims” take the Fifth because they can’t admit to committing felonies. Either that or the AG will have to give them immunity deals.
It will be awesome.
I guess it should be pointed out that Loretta Lynch is no longer the US Attorney General. I wonder what Jeff Sessions thinks of these videos? Will the GOP Congress now make defunding Planned Parenthood a priority?