SAN FRANCISCO - Two Northern California Abortion rights opponents were in San Francisco court Wednesday fighting state charges stemming from a controversial undercover video.
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The charges, 15 felony counts against David Daleiden of Davis and Sandra Merritt of San Jose, stem from the abortion rights opponents videotaping Planned Parenthood officials while posing as bio-tech researchers.
The couple and their battery of lawyers and supporters attended the meeting at San Francisco's Superior Court hoping to squash the charges of illegally videotaping private conversations.
Daleiden's attorneys say the case has troubling implications on the first amendment. "There's a long rich tradition in this country of using undercover journalistic techniques to bring forth information otherwise would be unwillingly disclosed."
The pair released the recordings two years ago, claiming that Planned Parenthood was engaged in the illegal sale of body parts.
The case got a lot of national publicity two years ago. A couple released videos that they said proved Planned Parenthood was engaged in the illegal sale of body parts.
The non-profit has denied the charge, saying the videos were, "deceptively edited."
Numerous congressional and state investigations also found that Planned Parenthood was not profiting from the sale of fetal tissue.
David Daleiden says he's not guilty of the charges. "This is a politically motivated prosecution," he said. "And this is a discriminatory against pro-life Americans and a rally against Californians who happen to have a different point of view."
The hearing ended with the judge continuing the case. Thursday, the couple will be in federal court fighting a civil lawsuit brought against them.
The judge has asked state prosecutors to refile charges in the case to specify which videos are in question.
The California Department of Justice released this statement: Following the defense's complaint that there are too many surreptitious recordings to know which ones the California Department of Justice is relying on, the Judge requested more specificity in the charging document, specifically to identify the videos that are the basis of the charges. The California Department of Justice has 10 days to amend the complaint and will be making the requested changes.
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