After halting proceedings in a court fight over the undercover videos that reveal abortionists selling the body parts of unborn babies, the California Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing.
Liberty Counsel said Wednesday the state court will hear the request of Sandra Merritt, an undercover reporter, to "review the well documented bias and collusion between Attorney General [Xavier] Becerra and Planned Parenthood regarding the felony criminal charges brought against her for her undercover work in exposing the abortion mill's outrageous conduct of harvesting and selling aborted baby body parts."
WND reported last month a preliminary hearing to decide whether or not to try Merritt and David Deleiden of the Center for Medical Progress had been postponed.
Becerra filed 15 felony counts against the two after they produced more than a dozen videos in 2015 that captured Planned Parenthood executives and others on camera negotiating the sale of body parts.
He accused the reporters of violating California's strict privacy laws regarding making recordings, even though the videos often were made in public places such as restaurants and conferences.
The hearing, however, abruptly was dropped when the California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye issued a stay in the case.
Daleiden’s attorneys with the Thomas More Society told LifeNews the court based its decision on "political bias and selective prosecution."
Defenders of Daleiden and Merritt insist they did nothing more than what reporters exposing wrongdoing have done for years in obtaining direct statements from relevant sources.
The defense repeatedly has raised the issue of the First Amendment-based right of reporters to speak with people in public places.
On Wednesday, Liberty Counsel, which is representing Merritt, said the high court had wanted to review "the contents of a motion Liberty Counsel filed to recuse California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his office from prosecuting the criminal complaint."
There was no comment from the court as the judges permitted the case to move forward.
"The trial court previously refused to dismiss the criminal charges even though Becerra has a documented bias and has publicly pledged to 'stand with Planned Parenthood.' Liberty Counsel sought to recuse Becerra and to dismiss the case for selective, discriminatory prosecution through a motion filed with the trial court, which demonstrated that Becerra and his predecessor, now Senator Kamala Harris, received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood. In addition, after the 'investigation' began under then-AG Harris, the Attorney General’s office maintained an ongoing financial, political, and close working relationship with executive officers and employees of various Planned Parenthood entities," Liberty Counsel explained.
"Sandra Merritt did not violate any law, and we confidently continue to present the evidence that demonstrates California's first-ever prosecution of an undercover journalist is selective and discriminatory," said Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel.
The videos, which are still available online, prompted some states to pull funding for abortionists and adopt new rules. The U.S. House and Senate investigated and sent referrals for criminal investigation to the Department of Justice.
But the abortionists responded with civil lawsuits against Daleiden and his organization. And they convinced Becerra to pursue state privacy violation charges.
Some videos that have not been released are to be aired for the first time in the hearing. The videos, taken at at National Abortion Federation meeting, were suppressed by a federal judge who has links to Planned Parenthood.
WND reported in January on plans to depose abortion industry executives as part of the case.
The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, another legal organization defending the undercover reporters' work, said Planned Parenthood executive Mary Gatter, who famously said wanted a Lamborghini, will be among the people deposed.
"Backed up by legions of attorneys from two national law firms, Planned Parenthood is spending millions of dollars to destroy a young man who exposed fetal tissue trafficking in the abortion industry," Charles LiMandri, FCDF’s chief counsel, said earlier. "We have no doubt that officials’ testimonies will shed a light on Planned Parenthood’s illegal operations."
Here are two of the videos released by CMP:
One of the videos that has been suppressed by Judge William Orrick includes more details about the industry.
It was available only briefly online.
However, transcripts of comments by abortion executives have been preserved.
Lisa Harris, medical director for Planned Parenthood of Michigan: "Our stories don't really have a place in a lot of pro-choice discourse and rhetoric, right? The heads that get stuck that we can't get out. The hemorrhages that we manage."
Susan Robinson of Planned Parenthood of Mar Monte in San Jose, California: "The fetus is a tough little object and taking it apart, I mean taking it apart, on day one is very difficult.'
Talcott Camp, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Health Freedom Project: "I'm like oh my god! I get it! When the skull is broken, that's really sharp. I get it, I understand why people are talking about getting that skull out, that calvarium."
Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America: "You know, sometimes she'll tell me she wants brain, and we'll, you know, leave the calvarium in 'til last, and then try to basically take it, or actually, you know, catch everything, and even keep it separate from the rest of the tissue so it doesn't get lost."
Uta Landy, founder of the Consortium of Abortion providers for Planned Parenthood: "An eyeball just fell down into my lap, and that is gross."
Her comment was followed by raucous laughter from the abortionists at the meeting of the National Abortion Federation.
In December 2015, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives referred the Planned Parenthood Federation of American and six regional affiliates to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation.
Operation Rescue noted little attention was given to the issue under President Obama, but after Donald Trump moved into office, the investigations "appeared to show signs of life."
See a CMP video about Planned Parenthood skirting federal law:
The "Lamborghini" executive:
Paying attention to who's in the room when infants are born alive:
Altering abortion procedures:
Selling body parts a "valid exchange":