Sandra Merritt will be in San Francisco Superior Court tomorrow for an arraignment facing 10 felony charges brought against her by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for her undercover journalism work which exposed Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in baby body parts. Liberty Counsel Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel Harry Mihet will appear in court with Merritt as she pleads “not guilty” to all charges.
Liberty Counsel represents Merritt and has shown that, to date, no other citizen journalist or journalism organization has ever been charged with a crime for undercover recordings made in the public interest. In fact, Merritt and her co-defendant, David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, are the first undercover journalists to be criminally prosecuted in California’s history.
Judge Christopher Hite dismissed six of the original 15 felony charges regarding “Does 4, 8, 9, 12, 13 and 14” as he made factual findings that the recorded conversations were not confidential. Given those factual findings, Attorney General Becerra cannot bring those dismissed charges again.
Becerra then filed a new count regarding “false identification documents,” which Liberty Counsel will move to dismiss tomorrow since the statute of limitations has long ago expired for any new claims.
The undercover videos, many of which were recorded at the National Abortion Federation’s (NAF) 2014 and 2015 abortion convention and trade shows, exposed Planned Parenthood’s illegal involvement in harvesting and selling aborted baby body parts to companies such as StemExpress. The recordings capture Planned Parenthood executives haggling over the prices of baby body parts, picking through bloodied arms and legs of aborted babies in a pie tray, and discussing how to alter abortion methods to obtain better body parts for sale.
Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong in this politically-motivated collusion between Planned Parenthood and the Attorney General, No journalist has ever been charged for investigative reporting and the attorney general is allowing politics to drive him rather than the rule of law,” said Staver.