Merritt Seeks Dismissal of Criminal Charges

Apr 14, 2020

Sandra Merritt has filed a motion asking the San Francisco Superior Court to dismiss the 10 criminal 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 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. 

Last February, Liberty Counsel Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel Harry Mihet appeared in court with Merritt as she plead “not guilty” to all charges. 

After Judge Hite issued his Commitment Order on December 6, 2019, holding Merritt and Daleiden for trial on nine out of the original 15 counts, AG Becerra filed an “Information” on December 13, 2019, asserting those nine counts and adding a tenth count regarding “false identification documents.” This motion to dismiss argues that none of the 10 counts were sufficiently proven at the preliminary hearing and the Information should be dismissed.

Attorneys Nic Cocis and Harry Mihet with Sandra Merritt

Judge Hite previously 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. 

The undercover videos, some 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, and every criminal charge against her should be dropped. All of these criminal charges should be dismissed,” said Staver. 



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