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California refiles charges against pro-life filmmakers

The Center for Medical Progress released a series of undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood employees appearing to negotiate the price of aborted fetal body parts. The organization is seeking to disqualify the judge in lawsuits brought against them. (Image source: YouTube/The Center for Medical Progress)

California prosecutors have refiled charges against the pro-life filmmakers with the Center for Medical Progress after a judge dismissed the charges in June, according to the San Francisco Gate.

In March, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 15 felony charges against David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, and his associate, Sandra “Susan” Merritt, for their roles in the release of a series of undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood employees appearing to negotiate the price of aborted fetal body parts with actors posing as researchers. Prosecutors said the pro-life group filmed 14 people without consent, adding a 15th charge for “criminal conspiracy to invade privacy.”

Last month, the San Francisco Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite dismissed 14 of the charges against each filmmaker, calling the charges legally insufficient because prosecutors did not specify which of the recordings were made illegally. The court did grant the state the opportunity to refile the charges.

Becerra’s office refiled the charges last week. The Gate called the charges “more specific.”

Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, an organization representing Merritt, told the Gate that he will challenge the new charges because they are still not specific enough. He argued that the new charges list “videos generally but doesn’t list specific conversations on those videos, so it’s hard to know what conversations they’re referring to.”

The filmmakers will be arraigned July 17.

In a Facebook post, the pro-life group wrote that the “bogus charges are for political, not legal, reasons!”

The Center for Medical Progress’ videos spurred allegations that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, was trafficking aborted fetal body parts. Profiting from the sale of human body parts, including body parts of the unborn, is a felony in the United States.

Spokespersons for Planned Parenthood have denied the allegations and described the videos as “heavily edited.”

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