Pro-life Activists Fight to Keep Indicted Filmmaker Out of Prison
WASHINGTON -- Supporters rallied outside the Harris County courthouse as indicted pro-life activist David Daleiden rejected a probation deal and announced plans to take on the district attorney in court next month.
Daleiden faces a second degree felony charge that could land him in prison for 20 years for using fake identifications to uncover Planned Parenthood's harvesting of unborn baby parts.
Click play to watch CBN Reporter Paul Strand's earlier report.
Fellow investigator Sandra Merritt turned herself into the court system Wednesday and was offered probation for her role in the covert investigation.
Daleiden rejected the disctrict attorney's deal and will instead go before the court March 28. His attorneys say the only thing they will accept from Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson is an apology.
"This D.A.'s office needs to apologize to David for dragging him down here and making him have to defend himself when the actual wrongdoers are not here today," they said.
"David is a modern-day hero. He has exposed something that has been occurring in abortion clinics all across this country and the fact that he is here today is a miscarriage of justice," they said. "And we believe once this case is done it will be dismissed, it will be thrown out, and we are hopeful that this D.A. will go after the real wrongdoer: Planned Parenthood."
Daleiden's defense attorneys argued that his actions were "fully within the tradition of undercover journalism" and the indictment was really intended to scare modern-day journalist from exposing the truth.
The attorney said additional incriminating information about the abortion provider will be presented to the district attorney.
Meanwhile, the courthouse was flooded with pro-life advocates who joined Daleiden at a press conference earlier Thursday.
Pro-life activist Rev. Patrick Mahoney condemned Anderson for "using her office for a politically motivated agenda."
"This is the only grand jury in America where someone was indicted for a fake drivers license. But its not a fake drivers license because their intent as journalists was to get to the truth," Mahoney said. "The fact that Devon Anderson has gone after them is really an embarrassment to this county."
Despite the criminal charges against Daleiden and Merritt, Mahoney said their efforts resulted in "the number one investigative journalism story in 2015."
"From their efforts over 12 states began their investigations of Planned Parenthood themselves. Numerous states voted to defund Planned Parenthood because of what David Deleiden and Sandra Merritt did," Mahoney explained.
"For the first time in history a bill went to a sitting president of the Untied States to defund Planned Parenthood. That's never happened in history before. All based on the work that David and Sandra did. This has lead to the most major expose of Planned Parenthood," he continued.
At the press conference, Daleiden also expressed his immense gratitude for the support and prayers he and Merritt recieved.
"I think we all know that every day that goes by the Texas authorities do not prosecute Planned Parenthood for their illegal trade of baby parts, they are sending a message to the entire country that the state of Texas is open right now for the sale of baby body parts," he said.
"But by your presence today you are all sending an equally strong message, if not stronger message, that the children of Texas and the children of Houston's body parts are not for sale," he said.
Mahoney showed supporters the 110,000 signatures from petitioners who demand the charges be dropped against two activists.
The signatures will be presented to Anderson. If she does not drop the charges, Mahoney said they will file charges against her for "ethical violations."
"If she still insists... we will do everything we can in our power to ensure that Houston has a new district attorney that respects justice and jails criminals and not citizen journalists," he concluded.
A prayer vigil for Daleiden and Merritt and their attorneys also followed the press conference as they continue to face the history-making legal battle.