Who Are You?

The legal turning-of-tables on the people who released compromising videos of Planned Parenthood employees and executives discussing the sale of aborted baby parts has been quite a surprise.  It appears to be purely a punitive measure for the embarrassment Planned Parenthood suffered through these videos, despite an overall successful campaign to dismiss the videos as doctored and edited (does anyone ever post non-edited video?  Have you ever tried to create unedited video or audio footage?  It’s horrid!).

What are the implications for indicting people engaged in undercover journalism?  Are there any limits to undercover investigations, and how do we define those without eliminating a powerful weapon against corruption or illegal practices?  Journalists are certainly interested in this question.  Even those who are fully supportive of Planned Parenthood are voicing concerns about the legal ramifications of this move.  There certainly isn’t any available public information yet on why these charges have been made.  But it’s something we all have a stake in, regardless of how you feel about Planned Parenthood.

2 Responses to “Who Are You?”

  1. Invisible Mikey Says:

    Having served on a grand jury myself, I think it’s merely the difference between the weight of two kinds of evidence in court. All grand juries do is evaluate the quality of evidence to render a vote on whether or not charges are likely to be sustained in a trial. In other words it’s a practice run for the benefit of prosecutors.

    This jury was empaneled at the request of Texas’ Lt. Gov., an abortion foe, to evaluate the evidence against Planned Parenthood prior to a hoped-for trial for violating laws against tissue-for-profit. However, part of the instructions for any grand jury are to go where evidence leads. This jury took that instruction seriously.

    Since the CMP tapes included things like stock footage of a miscarriage (that didn’t occur at PP), aka Fiorina’s “kicking baby” edited in on top of audio discussions between clinic employees, it was relatively easy to dismiss the validity of those items. Texas had no viable case against Planned Parenthood.

    By comparison, most of the evidence of violations committed by the two CMP parties was in the form of documents. Texas has more stringent penalties than other states for using fake IDs with intent to defraud. There was also an emailed offer at an exorbitant price to “buy” tissue, which Planned Parenthood did not respond to. That offer is a violation of the Texas fraud laws, and the fake IDs, of which there were copies, were used in an attempted entrapment – a second degree felony. Police can entrap under certain circumstances, with warrants, but not private citizens. Calling it a form of journalism doesn’t shield those involved.

    None of this forces Texas to bring the CMP parties to trial, but the Texas authorities who started this must be doing some serious forehead slapping over a jury that only did the job they asked it to do.

    • mrpaulnelson Says:

      Great points – and good to hear from you again! My jury experience hasn’t extended to a grand jury yet, so I appreciate your insights.

      It will be interesting when details are released on all of this, regardless of whether Texas chooses to pursue legal action or not!

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