ORLANDO, Fla. (Christian Examiner) – Liberty Counsel, the legal group that represented Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis after she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples following the U.S. Supreme Court decision last June, will now represent one of the individuals indicted by a Texas grand jury for her role in documenting Planned Parenthood's alleged trafficking of aborted fetal body parts.
On Monday, the grand jury handed down an indictment of Sandra Merritt and David Daleiden, both of whom were accused of tampering with a government record.
Daleiden was also indicted on one count of attempting to buy fetal tissue for $1,600 per sample.
Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel's founder and chairman, in a Jan. 26 press release called the indictment of Merritt and Daleiden "outrageous" and claimed the prosecutor's office is tainted by one of its prosecutor's associated with the abortion provider.
"One of the prosecutors in the Houston office has been a board member for Planned Parenthood and has posted this fact on social media," Staver said.
"The fact that our client has been indicted and Planned Parenthood was not is mind-blowing. ... Anyone who has watched Planned Parenthood employees sort through dismembered baby parts and heard the Planned Parenthood officials attempt to sell them knows that Planned Parenthood is the criminal, not our client," Staver said.
It is, however, not Planned Parenthood that has been indicted despite what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called "an ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood's actions."
"Nothing about today's announcement in Harris County impacts the state's ongoing investigation. The State of Texas will continue to protect life, and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue," Abbott said yesterday after the indictment was announced.
Both Staver and the governor are at odds with Houston's district attorney, Devon Anderson. She told the Houston Chronicle in August, when Planned Parent's Gulf Coast branch was targeted by the Center for Medical Progress undercover sting, that assistant district attorney Lauren Reeder, who has served on Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast's board of directors since 2013, would not be involved in the case and had no influence over it.
Anderson also said the case against the abortion provider's Houston-area operations was closed and would go no further.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, said the situation in Texas is "very troubling" and "raises serious questions about the appropriate use of our legal system."
"When you consider the fact that one of the prosecutors in the Harris County district attorney's office is deeply involved with Planned Parenthood – serving as a board member for the local Planned Parenthood affiliate in Texas where the undercover investigation took place – along with the fact that she has served as an active fundraiser for Planned Parenthood for years – you have to ask the question – was this probe tainted?" Sekulow said. "Was there a conflict of interest that produced a biased result?"
For her part, Anderson claims to be staunchly pro-life and in September 2015 was profiled in the Texas GOP Women's Spotlight. She was appointed by then Gov. Rick Perry as district attorney following the death of her husband, District Attorney Mike Anderson.
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Questions remain, however, as Anderson also assembled a grand jury that no-billed abortionist Douglas Karpen, whom many referred to as Houston's iteration of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist who murdered live-born babies.
Staver will also defend Merritt against Planned Parenthood's lawsuit. In the suit, the abortion provider claims Merritt and Daleiden invaded its privacy and the privacy of its employees – an act the group claims violates the federal Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute. RICO has often been used to target mafia bosses like the Gambino crime family's John Gotti.
Daleiden is being represented in the criminal case by the Thomas More Society.