California Judge Tosses Most Charges Against CMP Journalists Over Exposing Planned Parenthood

Posted: Jun 22, 2017 8:45 AM

A California judge tossed out 14 of the 15 criminal charges brought against the Center for Medical Progress’s David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt for exposing Planned Parenthood’s involvement in selling aborted fetal remains.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who as a Democratic congressman received campaign donations from Planned Parenthood and NARAL, announced 15 felony charges against the pro-life activists in March for the “criminal recording of confidential conversations.” 

The San Francisco Superior Court Wednesday dismissed 14 of the charges but one against Merritt for conspiring to invade privacy will still be considered. has more details:

At the time, pro-life advocates said Becerra’s 15 felony charges were bogus charges meant to belittle the expose’ campaign and to cast aspersions on Daleiden and the organization behind the videos. They said the attempt was about drawing attention away from Planned Parenthood’s sales of aborted baby parts.

The San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday dismissed 14 of 15 criminal counts but the pair are still charged with one count of conspiracy to invade privacy. However the court dismissed the charges with leave to amend — meaning Becerra could re-file the charges with additional supposed evidence against the pair.

The court ruled that counts 1-14 were legally insufficient. The state has the opportunity to amend if it can plead a more legally sufficient and specific complaint. The California’s Attorney General filed 15 criminal counts against Merritt, with counts 1-14 for each of the alleged interviews and count 15 for an alleged conspiracy. San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite gave the state attorney general’s office until mid-July to file a revised complaint.

Pro-life attorney Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, who’s representing Merritt, called the 14 dropped counts “a huge victory” and expressed confidence the final charge would also be tossed.

“We will now turn our attention to dismissing the final count. Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong. The complaint by the California Attorney General is unprecedented and frankly will threaten every journalist who provides valuable information to the public. This final count will also fall,” said Staver.

Similar charges were brought against the pro-life activists in Texas but they too were eventually dismissed.

This post has been updated.