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Judge Drops Misdemeanor Charge Against Planned Parenthood Video Creator

REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent

A Texas judge dismissed a misdemeanor charge Tuesday against the pro-life activist behind the Center for Medical Progress videos that purported to show Planned Parenthood officials selling fetal tissue.

David Daleiden, who secretly filmed his attempts to purchase fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood officials, was charged by Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson in January with attempting to purchase human organs, a misdemeanor offense in Texas. He was also charged with a felony offense for allegedly using a fake ID to access a Planned Parenthood facility. (RELATED: Creators Of Planned Parenthood Sting Video Hit With Felony Indictment) 

The misdemeanor charge was dismissed by Judge Diane Bull over a jurisdictional issue.

Pro-life groups have impugned the integrity of the investigation, urging state officials to appoint a special prosecutor due to alleged collusion between the DA’s office and Planned Parenthood. Court filings indicate that on at least one occasions, officials in the Harris County DA’s office colluded with attorneys representing Planned Parenthood, leading Daleiden’s lawyers to allege prosecutorial misconduct.

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast attorney Josh Schaffer disclosed in an affidavit that Assistant District Attorney Sunni Mitchell released raw footage of the Center for Medical Progress videos to him, despite an order from the Texas Attorney General forbidding it.

Daleiden has expressed additional concerns about the DA’s ties to the nation’s largest abortion provider. Another prosecutor in the DA’s office, Lauren Reeder, sits on Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s board of directors. The position is uncompensated, and Anderson says Reeder will not play any role in the case.

Anderson herself has ties to Texas abortion providers. Campaign finance records indicate she has collected some $25,000 from an attorney who represented a notorious Houston abortionist, Dr. Douglas Karpen, who pro-life activists claim conducted abortions using illegal procedures. Anderson’s office investigated the claims, but Karpen was never charged with criminal wrongdoing.

Daleiden faces as much as 20 years in prison for tampering with a government record.

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