A grand jury investigating whether a Houston Planned Parenthood clinic sold the organs of aborted fetuses cleared the clinic and instead indicted the undercover videographers behind the allegations, surprising the officials who called for the probe and delighting supporters of the women’s health organization, the Houston Chronicle reports. The Harris County grand jury indicted David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, both of California, on charges of tampering with a governmental record, a felony with a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison. It also charged Daleiden with the same misdemeanor he had alleged – the purchase or sale of human organs, presumably because he had offered to buy in an attempt to provoke Planned Parenthood employees into saying they would sell. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us,” said District Attorney Devon Anderson, a Republican. “All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”
The videographers, who had posed as employees of a company that buys tissue and filmed interactions with Planned Parenthood executives, issued a statement saying they had not committed any crimes. “The Center for Medical Progress uses the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades in exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press, and follows all applicable laws,” the statement said, adding, “Planned Parenthood still cannot deny the admissions from their leadership about fetal organ sales captured on video for all the world to see.” Planned Parenthood has denied any such admissions or wrongdoing, calling the videos heavily edited and saying it has never profited from selling fetal tissue, only received reimbursements for the costs of preserving the tissue for research, which is legal. The group sued Daleiden last month.