By Charlie Johnston
Last week the Harris District Attorney’s (DA) office in Houston filed the most amazing legal motion I have ever seen. It contested David Daleiden’s motion to dismiss all charges against him stemming from his undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in baby organs for profit. In the motion and attached exhibits, the DA essentially confessed to everything Daleiden has alleged. It is astonishing, unless this is an attempt to lay the groundwork for an insanity defense if the DA’s office is ultimately charged with prosecutorial misconduct.
Daleiden had alleged that the prosecutor’s office had colluded with Planned Parenthood from the start to re-task a grand jury charged with investigating the abortion provider into finding a way to indict the whistle-blowers instead. As it turned out, it was MUCH worse than that – and the prosecutor’s motion gives all the evidence needed to demonstrate collusion.
Josh Shaffer, the attorney for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC) wrote an affidavit attached to the DA’s motion. I can only presume that in some rush, the DA’s office did not actually read the affidavit, for it is devastating – to the DA’s office. It reads like a “cover-your-bottom” memo where Shaffer concedes substantial collusion while asserting that he did not knowingly collude; rather that Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Sunni Mitchell was just too eager to do Planned Parenthood’s bidding.
The DA’s motion confirms that the Grand Jury never actually did what it was charged with – investigate Planned Parenthood on the charge of trafficking in baby parts. They never even bothered with a vote on the charges against Planned Parenthood. Rather, ADA Mitchell sought to weaponize the justice system and turn it on Daleiden, who had dared to blow the whistle on this loathsome and illegal practice. Mitchell succeeded in the end, but it may well prove to be a pyrrhic victory.
Shaffer concedes that, from the beginning, he sought to obtain the unedited footage of Daleiden’s videos to give to Planned Parenthood. Ever the eager lapdog for the abortion provider she was supposed to be investigating, ADA Mitchell asked the Texas Atty. Gen.’s office for a copy of the videos. The Texas AG provided the videos, but sternly warned the DA’s office that they were for internal use only and were NOT to be provided to Planned Parenthood. In a move that is staggering in its casual contempt for the Attorney General’s office, ADA Mitchell issued a subpoena for the videos she already had, reasoning that if she got it another way, she could give Planned Parenthood what it wanted. This just begs for sanctions and possibly even disbarment.
Harris County DA Devon Anderson (left) and ADA Sunni Mitchell
Life News offers the most concise, comprehensive story on where things stand right now. A local Houston area website, BigJolly, covers well the culture of corruption in the Harris County DA’s office. I am glad that attention is being turned away from ADA Lauren Reeder, who is also a member of the board of PPGC. Though it is suggestive, there is nothing disqualifying about sitting on a board of directors – so long as you refrain from playing any role in a public action involving that entity. I suspect that even the Harris DA’s office is not that obtuse (although this motion suggests otherwise). Rather, from the first time I wrote about this, I suggested that ADA Sunni Mitchell ought to be the focus of media and governmental investigations into this perversion of the justice system. Mitchell seems to be the designated defender of abortionists in the Harris DA’s office. She conducted the Grand Jury investigating abortionist Douglas Karpen a few years back. Karpen was charged with casually executing babies who were born alive after surviving an abortion attempt. Despite compelling photographic and eyewitness testimony, the Grand Jury under Mitchell’s direction came up with a “no-bill” – and Karpen was free to conduct business as usual. Meantime, Karpen’s attorney, Chip Lewis, became DA Devon Anderson’s largest political contributor.
The worm is slowly turning in these Planned Parenthood cases with Daleiden – and all the insiders know it. Recently, a Congressional Subcommittee released a smoking gun, showing that Planned Parenthood has, indeed, been doing what Daleiden exposed – trafficking in baby parts for profit. The Democrats on the committee are trying to kill any further investigation while the establishment media is doing its best to completely ignore it. But as Founding Father John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things.”
I have always thought the indictment in Harris County was not a serious effort at all. Rather, it was an effort by Planned Parenthood’s governmental collaborators to get Daleiden to plead to something. That was important because the video evidence is so compelling. Planned Parenthood desperately wants to be able to have media reports that begin with something like, “Confessed miscreant David Daleiden charges…” to establish some sort of moral equivalence and blunt the effectiveness of his work. In a conversation with Daleiden before his first appearance in court in Harris County, I told him I suspected he would almost immediately be offered a lesser charge with no effective consequences, because the important thing was not legal, but to get him to plead to something in order to establish that immoral equivalence. Ah, how my heart soared with admiration when that was exactly what happened – and Daleiden refused the deal, instead demanding an apology from the DA’s office.
This motion by the DA’s office was a panicked effort to maintain some leverage over Daleiden. As I have noted, I used to counsel various public officials and candidates – including more than a few judges and law enforcement officials. Sometimes, the best of people make a bollox of things. When that happened, I always advised my clients and friends to cut bait and walk away, lest they make things worse and continue a story line that was damaging them. When the charge is that you have been colluding with what should have been your target in order to railroad an innocent man, the last thing in the world you want to do is provide documentary evidence that supports the charge. That is precisely what the DA’s office has done. I don’t know whether it is panic, smug arrogance, plain stupidity or a combination of the three.
There is a hearing set for July 26th on the competing motions of Daleiden and the DA’s office. The evidence is compelling enough that the judge may be tempted to dismiss the case outright before testimony is heard. I hope that doesn’t happen. This DA has proven fumble-fisted enough that a full-blown hearing may produce further evidence of serious, criminal misconduct.
I consider it very important that heavy sanctions be imposed on the Harris County DA’s office. As you may recall, California Attorney General Kamala Harris ordered a commando style raid on Daleiden’s apartment last month. Harris has not said what she was looking for or what she hopes to charge Daleiden with. But she is running for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate – so this was a great way to tell one of her biggest donors, Planned Parenthood, that she wants to be the senator for Planned Parenthood rather than a senator for California. In a shrewd move, Daleiden brought Steve Cooley on to handle legal issues in California. Cooley was Harris’ Republican opponent in the attorney general’s race six years ago. In that Democratic state, Cooley fought her to a statistical tie and lost by a fraction of a point.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris (AP Photo, Richard Vogel file)
Right now, governmental fellow travelers of Planned Parenthood think there is no price to be paid for abusing their power to harass Daleiden – and a huge upside in getting money and support from Planned Parenthood out of the abuse. If heavy sanctions are imposed on the Harris County DA’s office for abusing its authority and weaponizing the law, fellow travelers will still be supportive of Planned Parenthood, but will discretely leave the organization to fight its own battle on this.
Right now, everybody except the Harris County DA’s office and, perhaps, the California attorney general, have figured out it is time to cover their bottoms and cut their losses. You can see in Shaffer’s affidavit the subtle attempt to shift blame for any misconduct onto the Harris County DA’s office. Shaffer was probably astounded that the DA attached his affidavit to the motion. Whatever one might think of the morality of Planned Parenthood, their lawyers aren’t stupid – and work vigorously to protect their client.
Daleiden still has unreleased videos with devastating footage. If I were the National Abortion Federation (NAF), I would be very cautious, for I am sniffing out hints that Planned Parenthood may be planning to serve NAF up as a scapegoat to cut its own losses before this is finished.
As for Harris County DA Devon Anderson, she claimed to be pro-life. It is now clear that what she has done is cynically play pro-lifers for chumps. But she, too, had best take care. When your office is this startlingly incompetent and brazenly corrupted, it makes some who work there and still believe in things such as honor and justice nervous. She might want to consider that Planned Parenthood is not the only entity now that has friends in the DA’s office who are talking and giving inside information.