All charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt have now been dropped by the Harris County District Attorney’s office. Daleiden and Merritt are the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) investigators who uncovered Planned Parenthood profiting from abortions.

They were facing up to 20 years in prison for using false identification to investigate the actions of Houston-based Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC).

The two were in Houston today for a hearing on their legal motion to quash the indictments, but the DA’s office announced they would be dropping the charges shortly before the hearing. Prosecutors with the office agreed with the defendants’ attorneys that the grand jury that indicted the two had been wrongly held over.

In response to the original brief to quash the indictments, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson admitted to wrongdoing but called it a, “harmless, technical violation.”

Daleiden issued a response to today’s news saying,

“The dismissal of the bogus, politically motivated charges … is a resounding vindication of the First Amendment rights of all citizen journalists, and also a clear warning to any of Planned Parenthood’s political cronies who would attack whistleblowers to protect Planned Parenthood from scrutiny.”

Following the pair’s investigation into Planned Parenthood, they released a series of twelve videos detailing the heinous actions by Planned Parenthood, and conversations with employees about obtaining and selling the body parts of unborn children.

The grand jury, which was tasked with investigating PPGC, cleared them of any wrongdoing, but was held over and investigated the actions of the activists instead. Daleiden and Merritt were indicted for trafficking human organs and tampering with government documents.

Last month a Harris County judge dropped the misdemeanor count of trafficking human organs, meaning all that was left was the felony count of tampering with government documents (using false identification).

Calls for dismissal of the charges have grown significantly in recent months, especially as questions about the grand jury holdover and collusion between the DA’s office and Planned Parenthood were presented.

While the pair has been rightfully cleared in Texas, they still are under investigation in their home state of California.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.


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