David Daleiden, indicted in January by a Houston-area grand jury,
will appear at Harris County District Court in Houston and then go
through booking, his lawyer Jared Woodfill said, adding he will seek
to have charges quashed.
Daleiden is leader of the California-based Center for Medical
Progress that released the secretly filmed videos used to accuse
Planned Parenthood of trading in aborted fetal tissue. He faces up
to 20 years in prison if convicted on charges of tampering with a
In a twist for the Texas Republican leaders who had ordered an
investigation and accused the women's health group of illegally
trading in aborted fetal tissue, the grand jury in January cleared
Planned Parenthood and indicted video makers Daleiden and Sandra
Merritt, a lesser figure in the filming, appeared at a Houston court
on Wednesday. She was offered a type of a probation deal in which,
if she keeps a clean record for a certain period, the charge of
tampering with a government record would be dropped, prosecutors
Lawyers for the two do not dispute that the pair used false IDs but
said they did so for investigative journalism.
The videos released last summer purported to show Planned Parenthood
officials trying to negotiate prices for aborted fetal tissue. Under
federal law, donated human fetal tissue may be used for research,
but profiting from its sale is prohibited.
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In response to the videos, Texas and other Republican-controlled
states tried to halt funding for Planned Parenthood. U.S.
congressional Republicans pushed for a funding cut.
Planned Parenthood denied the allegation and sued in federal court,
arguing the people who recorded the videos acted illegally.
Planned Parenthood has said Daleiden and Merritt presented fake IDs
in April 2015 and posed as research executives from a fictitious
company to secretly film conversations at a health and
administrative center in Houston.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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