Two anti-abortion activists who secretly recorded Planned Parenthood conversations were charged with 15 felonies on Tuesday, with California prosecutors saying they violated state law by filming medical providers without their consent.
David Robert Daleiden and Sandra Merritt face 15 charges each for creating the infamous “sting videos” that purported to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue and placed the organization in the center of a political firestorm.
“The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Tuesday. “We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”
Daleiden and Merritt filmed 14 people without permission between October 2013 and July 2015 in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and El Dorado counties, according to the complaint (pdf). They were charged with felony counts for each person videotaped, as well as a 15th charge for conspiracy to invade privacy, and a warrant was issued for their arrest.
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“As we have said from the beginning, and as more than a dozen different state investigations have made clear: Planned Parenthood has done nothing wrong, and the only people who broke the law are those behind the fraudulent tapes,” Mary Alice Carter, Planned Parenthood’s interim vice president of communications, said Tuesday. “The California Attorney General filing criminal charges sends a clear message that you cannot target women and you cannot target healthcare providers without consequences. We look forward to justice being served.”
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