California prosecutors has on Tuesday charged two anti-abortion activists who made undercover videos of themselves trying to purchase fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood with 15 felonies. According to them, they have invaded the privacy of medical providers by filming without consent.
State Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s office alleges that David Daleiden and his co-conspirator, Sandra Merritt, filmed 14 people without their consent at meetings with women’s healthcare providers in Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Franciso and El Dorado.
Prosecutors filed 14 felony counts of unlawfully recording people without their permission — one count for each person — as well as one count of conspiracy to invade privacy.
Becerra, a veteran congressman who became attorney general in January, said his office “will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”
“The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society,” Becerra said.
After the charges were filed Tuesday, Daleiden released a statement through his organization, the Irvine-based Center for Medical Progress, that blasted prosecutors.
“The bogus charges from Planned Parenthood’s political cronies are fake news,” the statement said. “We look forward to showing the entire world what is on our yet-unreleased video tapes of Planned Parenthood’s criminal baby body parts enterprise, in vindication of the First Amendment rights of all.”
An affidavit filed in San Francisco Superior Court alleges that Daleiden and Merritt used phony California driver’s licenses and a fabricated medical research company, BioMax Procurement Services, to attend the National Abortion Federation’s 2014 conference in San Francisco.
At the conference, the pair posed as BioMax representatives, offered fake names and surreptitiously recorded eight attendees and speakers, according to court papers.
In the months after the conference, they used the same sham biomedical company to set up meetings with women’s healthcare providers — at restaurants such as Craft in Century City and AKA Bistro in Pasadena — whom they also surreptitiously recorded, prosecutors alleged.
Many of the videos were edited and published on the website for the Center for Medical Progress. Daleiden claimed the videos showed the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses.
According to Vicki Saporta of the National Abortion Federation, the videos resulted in a “flood of hate speech, threats and violence” to abortion providers, said .