Anti-abortion activists accused of falsifying records to secretly videotape Planned Parenthood officials in Houston have rejected a plea deal that would have effectively put an end to criminal charges against them, their lawyers confirmed Friday.
David Robert Daleiden, 27, and his colleague, Sandra Susan Merritt, 63, both of California, are prepared to go to trial to fight the charges, their attorneys said.
“I don’t advise my clients to accept responsibility for cases that they haven’t done anything wrong in,” said Dan Cogdell, Merritt’s attorney.
The pair were charged in January with tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony with a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Daleiden was also charged with a misdemeanor charge of attempting to buy human organs.
After a brief status hearing Friday in court, attorneys said they will not accept offers of pretrial diversion, a low-level probation that would have allowed the charges against them to be dismissed if they did not break the law for a year.
It is commonly offered by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to first offenders with minor charges, such as shoplifting.
Earlier this month, attorneys for Daleiden filed motions to quash the indictments against him, arguing that the Harris County grand jury that handed down the indictments was not properly empaneled.
His attorneys, Jared Woodfill and Terry Yates, have said the indictments are “fatally flawed.”