California

Planned Parenthood videos: Anti-abortion activists charged with 15 felonies for secret tapes

David Robert Daleiden, left, and Sandra Merritt.

David Robert Daleiden, left, and Sandra Merritt.  (AP)

Two anti-abortion activists who made undercover videos of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood were charged with 15 felonies, California prosecutors announced Tuesday.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Becerra said the two used a fictitious bioresearch company to meet with women's health care providers and covertly record them.

Prosecutors said they invaded the privacy of medical providers by filming without consent.

Daleiden and Merritt allegedly filmed 14 people without permission between October 2013 and July 2015 in Los Angeles, San Francisco and El Dorado counties. One felony count was filed for each person and the 15th was for criminal conspiracy to invade privacy.

Daleiden called the charges “bogus” and that they were coming from “Planned Parenthood's political cronies."

"The public knows the real criminals are Planned Parenthood and their business partners," Daleiden said.

Planned Parenthood said in a tweet that the charges send a “clear message… You can’t target women & health care providers without consequences.”

Daleiden and Merritt had previously been indicted in Texas on similar charges in January of 2016, but all of the charges were eventually dropped by July as prosecutors said a grand jury had overstepped its authority. The grand jury had originally been convened to investigate Planned Parenthood, but after finding no wrongdoing turned around and indicted Daleiden and Merritt instead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.