Journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, who exposed suspect dealings at taxpayer-funded abortion mill Planned Parenthood via undercover videos, were denied a request to halt criminal prosecution, a press release from The Thomas More Society said on Friday.
Last month, the California Supreme Court issued a stay in the high-profile case based on "political bias and selective prosecution." But now the case is moving forward.
Daleiden and Merritt were hit with 15 felony charges in March of 2017 for their undercover work. The charges were widely decried for their threat to journalists, including by the left-wing Los Angeles Times. "Felony charges are a disturbing overreach for the duo behind the Planned Parenthood sting videos," a headline for the outlet warned.
Vice President and Senior Counsel at the Thomas More Society Peter Breen, who is part of Mr. Daleiden’s legal team, blasted the denial to cease prosecution.
"This decision to deny David Daleiden’s Petition for Review means that [California Attorney General] Xavier Becerra, as Planned Parenthood's prosecutor-in-chief, will be able to continue his unconstitutional harassment of David, bringing charges against him that don't pass the 'red face test,'" said Breen.
AG Becerra is an ally of Planned Parenthood; he took over for now-presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). Live Action reports on the potential conflict of interest:
Becerra has publicly promised to “stand with Planned Parenthood,” and both he and his predecessor, now Senator Kamala Harris, have received thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the pro-abortion organization. Both Harris and Becerra maintained their close relationship with Planned Parenthood and its entities even after proceeding with the investigation against Daleiden and Merritt. According to Daleiden’s representation, the Thomas More Society, Planned Parenthood even sponsored and hosted Becerra’s election night victory party.
Liberty Counsel, an organization representing Merritt, blasted the decision to move forward with the case as "selective and discriminatory."
"Sandra Merritt did not violate any law, and we confidently continue to present the evidence that demonstrates California’s first-ever prosecution of an undercover journalist is selective and discriminatory," said Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman.
Videos from Daleiden and Merritt, then working for the Center for Medical Progress, shook the country in 2015. Americans saw parts of unborn babies killed by abortion and witnessed Planned Parenthood executives appear to haggle over prices of said body parts. Planned Parenthood, however, claimed they are merely being reimbursed for the costs of prepping and transferring the body parts.
"Daleiden, along with co-conspirator Sandra Merritt, used manufactured identities and a fictitious bioresearch company to meet women's healthcare providers and covertly record the private discussions they initiated," Becerra alleged, according to the Christian Post.
"The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California's Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society … We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations," he added.
"The public knows the real criminals are Planned Parenthood and their business partners like StemExpress and DV Biologics — currently being prosecuted in California — who have harvested and sold aborted baby body parts for profit for years in direct violation of state and federal law," Daleiden contended after charges were handed down.
It has also been determined by a federal appellate court that videos from the Center for Medical Progress were not "deceptively edited," as claimed by the pro-abortion Left.
As noted by Live Action, "The court will now reschedule a preliminary hearing as the case against Merritt moves forward. During this hearing, Becerra will present evidence to try and convince the judge that Merritt and Daleiden should stand trial before a jury on fifteen felony charges related to their undercover videos."