by Hans von Spakovsky
The Daily Signal
In an astonishing bit of legerdemain, a local grand jury in Harris County, Texas, has refused to indict Planned Parenthood for violating a Texas statute that prohibits the attempted sale of human organs, despite the video evidence to the contrary showing Planned Parenthood doctors and executives discussing organ sales.
But the very same grand jury has indicted David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), who organized, filmed, and released the undercover “60 Minutes”-style videos, for supposedly violating the very same Texas statute, which also prohibits the attempted purchase of human organs.
In other words, a private individual whose only intent is to expose possibly illegal activity is under indictment for actions in connection with an undercover video operation, but the illegal actor itself—Planned Parenthood—is off the hook. This backward situation will undoubtedly chill journalistic activity in Texas and elsewhere.
According to copies of the two charging sheets filed with the Harris County Clerk’s Office that we obtained, Daleiden and his colleague, Sandra Merritt, were also indicted for tampering with a governmental record—specifically, making and presenting a falsified California driver’s license, which is a felony.
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Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform—as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative.