HOUSTON — An attorney for the abortion giant Planned Parenthood admitted in court documents last week that the Harris County district attorney’s office purposefully bypassed a directive from the Texas attorney general not to share evidence in the investigation that resulted in the indictment of pro-life activist David Daleiden.
Attorney Josh Schaffer wrote in an affidavit filed in federal court on May 17 that he wanted to get his hands on a copy of the raw undercover footage filmed by Daleiden, but was informed by Harris County Assistant District Attorney Sunni Mitchell that she “did not have any video footage other than what was available to the public on YouTube.”
Schaffer then suggested that she request footage from the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. However, he learned that Paxton’s office said that the videos would only be provided to the Harris County district attorney’s office under the stipulation that the footage not be shared with Planned Parenthood.
“I was told that the Attorney General’s Office agreed to give it to the HCDAO (Harris County District Attorney’s Office) on the condition that the HCDAO not give it to PPGC (Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast),” Schaffer explained in the affidavit filed last week. “Mitchell told me that she would try to obtain the footage by other means.”
“I never asked how she planned to do that. I assumed she would ask Daleiden for it directly,” he said.
Mitchell later provided the raw footage to Schaffer, and informed him that she obtained it from Daleiden attorney Murphy Klasing instead of the state attorney general’s office.
The Planned Parenthood attorney acknowledged the sharing of evidence as the result of a court filing from the Thomas More Society, which called for the dismissal of charges against Daleiden and alleged prosecutorial misconduct.
“The recent filings by the Harris County District Attorney confirm that the DA shared confidential documents and information with abortion provider Planned Parenthood, colluding with it in the prosecution of David Daleiden,” said Society attorney Peter Breen in a statement on Tuesday.
“These filings also include evidence that appears to show that the DA’s office worked with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast to undermine the Texas Attorney General’s independent investigation of that abortion provider,” he stated.
As previously reported, Daleiden, the director of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) was indicted in January on a felony charge of “tampering with a governmental record” for creating a fake driver’s license in conducting his undercover investigation, as well as a misdemeanor count related to the purchasing of aborted babies.
Daleiden, 27, had posed as a representative of a fetal tissue procurement company in order to engage in discussions with Planned Parenthood officials as a potential buyer of bodily organs. He recorded the interactions, conducted at various locations across the country, as part of his “human capital” investigative series that was released last July.
The first of nearly a dozen videos was released by CMP featured Planned Parenthood Medical Director Deborah Nucatola, who nonchalantly munched on salad and sipped wine as she talked about adjusting the child so as not to crush certain organs due to the demand for the body part.
“I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps,” she explains.
“[Y]ou’re just kind of cognizant where you put your graspers,” Nucatola outlines. “You try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that—-you know. We’ve been very good at getting the heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so ‘I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.’”
The second video showed Mary Gatter, the president of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Directors Council, haggling with the undercover investigators about the compensation for the fetal organs, laughing, “I want a Lamborghini.” Other footage showed an actual aborted baby being dissected in a dish, with an assistant declaring, “Another boy!” and another video showed an abortionist laughing about how harvesting an intact baby head would be “something to strive for.”
Planned Parenthood apologized for the insensitive “tone” of the first video, but denied that it profits from its agreements with scientific organizations. It soon announced that it would stop receiving reimbursement for “expenses” surrounding the provision of body parts of aborted babies. The abortion giant argued that the dead babies were beneficial in research to find cures for diseases.
Schaffer denies that he colluded with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to prosecute Daleiden, and says that although he did indeed receive the video footage, he was not aware of any other aspects of the grand jury proceedings. He also says that Mitchell told him that she would advise Daleiden’s attorney that she would share the footage with Schaffer.
“She did not tell me, nor did I consider, that Klasing would produce it pursuant to a grand jury subpoena,” he Schaffer wrote in court documents. “I gave [the footage] to Katie Beth Gottlieb, general counsel for PPGC, for review.”
It is not known whether Daleiden’s attorney knew at the time that the Texas attorney general’s office had told Mitchell not to share any evidence with Planned Parenthood, nor if Mitchell did indeed tell Klasing that she would share the video with attorneys for the abortion giant.