Pair behind fake anti-abortion videos charged with 15 felonies

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David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, whose heavily edited undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives and employees purported to show that they were trying to sell body parts of aborted fetuses, face a new slew of criminal charges resulting from their clandestine activities.

California is the latest state to charge the two "citizen journalists" in relation to their videos, announcing on Tuesday that the pair have been charged with 15 felonies, all relating to videos filmed in that state without the knowledge or consent of some of the people in them. California is one of 11 states that requires all parties involved in an audio conversation (which includes a video with sound in it) to be aware and agree to being recorded.

Daleiden and Merritt were charged with 14 counts each of violating Section 632(a) of California's penal code, which prohibits secretly recording conversations. The punishment per charge is a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in prison. The fifteenth charge is for conspiracy to commit a felony, which is also punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in prison.

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Right to Life advocate Linda Heilman prays during a sit-in in front of a proposed Planned Parenthood location while demonstrating the group's opposition to congressional funding of Planned Parenthood on September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Right to Life groups who took part in the protest are also calling on Pope Francis to 'address the pro-life issue and the defunding of Planned Parenthood' when he addresses Congress on September 24. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Right to Life advocate Linda Heilman (L) prays during a sit-in in front of a proposed Planned Parenthood location while demonstrating the group's opposition to congressional funding of Planned Parenthood on September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Right to Life groups who took part in the protest are also calling on Pope Francis to 'address the pro-life issue and the defunding of Planned Parenthood' when he addresses Congress on September 24. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Right to Life advocates block 4th St. N.E. during a sit-in in front of a proposed Planned Parenthood location while demonstrating the group's opposition to congressional funding of Planned Parenthood on September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Right to Life groups who took part in the protest are also calling on Pope Francis to 'address the pro-life issue and the defunding of Planned Parenthood' when he addresses Congress on September 24. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 16: Protesters hold signs protesting Planned Parenthood in front of the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill September 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition urged the Republican leadership not to give taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson attends a anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 25: Director of Planned Parenthood of Utah Karrie Galloway speaks during Sex, Politics And Film Hosted By Lena Dunham And Planned Parenthood Action Fund - 2015 Park City at Wahso Asian Grill on January 25, 2015 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Sonia Recchia/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: Women hold up signs during a women's pro-choice rally on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to urge Congress against passing any legislation to limit access to safe and legal abortion. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: Women hold up signs during a women's pro-choice rally on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to urge Congress against passing any legislation to limit access to safe and legal abortion. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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"We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations," California attorney general Xavier Becerra said.

The Center for Medical Progress, which Daleiden founded, responded to the charges by calling them "bogus" and "fake news," although it is demonstrably true that they have been charged with 15 felonies (therefore not, in fact, fake news). It also noted that charges filed against Daleiden and Merritt in Texas were eventually dropped. But those charges — tampering with government documents and attempting to purchase fetal organs — were different, and came from a state with a decidedly different stance on abortion and Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards briefly commented on the news on Twitter, thanking "Planned Parenthood docs & clinicians who continued thru it all to provide care, no matter what."

The Center also promised that it had plans to release even more videos of Planned Parenthood allegedly selling "baby body parts." In 2015, the Center released several strategically edited videos that it said showed that Planned Parenthood selling off tissue that came from fetuses aborted at the clinics. In reality, the tissue had been donated by the patients for medical research purposes, and Planned Parenthood was offering it to what it thought was a research laboratory and asking for only what it said was the cost of storing and shipping the tissue in return — which is legal. After the videos were released, Planned Parenthood announced it would no longer accept any money at all for fetal tissue. Regardless, abortion opponents used the videos to launch investigations into Planned Parenthood in several states as well as a congressional inquiry from the Republican-led House of Representatives. No charges have been brought against Planned Parenthood so far.

Daleiden's California home was raided by state law enforcement agents in 2016, who took footage used to make the sting videos. Investigators used that footage to identify alleged cases of the secret recordings, the criminal complaint said.

The post Pair Behind Fake Anti-Abortion Videos Charged With 15 Felonies appeared first on Vocativ.

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Activists participate in the 2016 March for Life January 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. The annual event marked the anniversary of the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Pro-abortion activists gather in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, 0n January 22, 2016 as the country marks the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v Wasde Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
A young anti-abortion activist chants slogans during a march to the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, 0n January 22, 2016 as the country marks the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Right to Life advocates pray during a sit-in in front of a proposed Planned Parenthood location while demonstrating the group's opposition to congressional funding of Planned Parenthood on September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Right to Life groups who took part in the protest are also calling on Pope Francis to 'address the pro-life issue and the defunding of Planned Parenthood' when he addresses Congress on September 24. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Assembly of some 150 anti-abortion protesters behind barricade in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: U.S. Capitol Police stand guard after pro-choice activists blocked the street and temporarily stopped the annual March for Life in front of the U.S. Supreme Court January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Pro-life activists gathered in the nation's capital to mark the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: A pro-life activist holds a sign as he participates in the annual March for Life January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Pro-life activists gathered in the nation's capital to mark the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Pro-choice activists shout slogans before the annual March for Life passes by the U.S. Supreme Court January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Pro-life activists gathered in the nation's capital to mark the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Pro-life activists participate in the annual March for Life as they pass in front of the U.S. Capitol January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Pro-life activists gathered in the nation's capital to mark the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Pro-life activists try to block pro-choice activists as the annual March for Life passes by in front of the U.S. Supreme Court January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Pro-life activists gathered in the nation's capital to mark the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Pro-choice activists block the street and temporarily stop the annual March for Life in front of the U.S. Supreme Court January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Pro-life activists gathered in the nation's capital to mark the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
A pro-choice activists holds a placard in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, January 22, 2015, as she and others await the pro-choice activists with the March For Life. Tens of thousands of Americans who oppose abortion are in Washington for the annual March for Life, marking the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-choice activists block the road against US Capitol Police, who are escorting the March For Life's path, in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, January 22, 2015. Tens of thousands of Americans who oppose abortion are in Washington for the annual March for Life, marking the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A pro-choice activist is arrested and carried away by US Capitol police after blocking the road against the March For Life's path in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, January 22, 2015. Tens of thousands of Americans who oppose abortion are in Washington for the annual March for Life, marking the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Anti-abortion advocates stage a 'die-in' protest at Lafayette Square near the White House January 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. In a written statement on Tuesday, the Obama administration denounced a GOP-backed bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks and suggested the President would veto H. R. 36 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act if the bill reached his desk. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Anti-abortion activists take part in the annual 'March for Life' rally on January 22, 2015 in Washington DC. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 30: Anti-abortion advocates cheer in front of the Supreme Court after the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was announced June 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. The high court ruled 5-4 that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Pro-life activists gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court June 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The court overturned today a Massachusetts law barring protests within 35 feet of abortion clinics. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Pro-life activists gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court June 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The court overturned today a Massachusetts law barring protests within 35 feet of abortion clinics. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Supporters of Women's Rights and LGBT groups protest across from the Beverly Hills Hotel, owned by the Sultan of Brunei, demanding he rescind a Taliban-like Brunei penal code which included the stoning to death of gay men and lesbians and the public flogging of women who have abortions, on May 5 2014 in Beverly Hills, California, before the arrival of Jay Leno who spoke in support of the groups. The southeast Asian nation of Brunei, a would-be member of the Obama administrations Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, is under fire from Hollywood and human rights activists for adopting a brutal penal code based on Sharia law with punishments including flogging, dismemberment and death by stoning for crimes such as adultery and sodomy. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
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