Undercover investigator David Daleiden is facing a new set of charges from California prosecutors this week for his undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s dealings in aborted baby body parts.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed charges against Daleiden and fellow investigator Sandra Merritt in March, alleging that they illegally recorded private conversations without people’s consent.
In June, however, the San Francisco Superior Court dismissed all but one charge, saying the attorney general’s office did not provide sufficient information. The court gave Becerra’s office the opportunity to refile the charges with more specific information, and Becerra did just that this week, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Here’s more from the report:
Last month, Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite dismissed the charges, saying prosecutors had failed to specify which video recordings were made illegally. He refused, however, to dismiss a charge that the pair conspired to violate privacy rights.
Becerra’s office has now refiled the charges, with numerical identifications for each video. Prosecutors say they have given defense lawyers the names of each person whose conversation was recorded, under court orders to keep the names confidential.
Daleiden and Merritt are scheduled to be arraigned on the charges July 17. Their lawyers have not said whether they will challenge the newly filed charges and did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
Liberty Counsel, which represents Merritt, argued that the criminal complaint for illegally recording supposedly “private” conversations (in restaurants, hotel lobbies and other public places) – the first ever filed against undercover journalists – was legally deficient for numerous reasons, not the least of which was the attorney general’s decision to prosecute Merritt in secret proceedings, without identifying even the names of her accusers or purported “victims.”
The legal group said the complaint did not provide Merritt with the minimum notice required by the Constitution and California law as to what she supposedly did wrong, so that she can mount a proper and vigorous defense. The complaint was also vague and full of inconsistencies.
AG Becerra is a Democrat who has received campaign donations from Planned Parenthood.