Bonnie Lugo, President of the Daughters of Liberty, asked me to speak to the DOLs during their April meeting to discuss the prosecution of anti-abortion activists, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Bonnie and I discussed the issue at the Downtown Pachyderm over the last few months and she was familiar with my quest to obtain the names of Mary Lou Keel’s grand jurors – the grand jury that indicted David and Sandra and failed to even contemplate an indictment against Planned Parenthood.
Keel, a candidate for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, visited the Downtown Pachyderm during the primary and again a few weeks ago to promote her candidacy in the runoff election. On both occasions, I asked Keel about releasing the names of her grand jurors. That led to Bonnie, a former grand juror, and I discussing Keel’s poor answers and the tragedy of these indictments. Of course, it was an honor to be invited to speak to the DOLs.
Immediately after my appearance was announced, Devon Anderson attempted to persuade the DOLs into canceling my appearance. I encourage you to take a minute to think about why the District Attorney herself would put so much effort into canceling my appearance before a local Republican women’s group. Devon’s attack against my appearance was peculiar, especially considering that the focus of my discussion with Bonnie and my last article was about Mary Lou Keel’s grand jury.
Devon tried everything she could to cancel my appearance. She threatened the DOLs on county time and offered herself as a replacement speaker claiming that she is the only person who can discuss the Planned Parenthood investigation. The funny thing is that she, as the elected district attorney prosecuting David and Sandra, is someone who is barred from speaking publicly on the facts of this investigation. Read Rule 3.07 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. I knew Bonnie would have a large turnout thanks to Devon’s efforts. She did.
Devon and her surrogates involved Texas Federation of Republican Women President Theresa Kosmoski and attempted to argue that the DOLs could lose their affiliation with TFRW. It was obvious that Devon was scared about what I would say to the DOLs and I could not help but think that something interesting was about to happen with the case.
Not long after Devon began to attempt to cancel my DOL appearance, David Daleiden’s counsel filed a Motion to Quash the indictments in both of his cases: tampering with a governmental record, a second degree felony, and attempting to purchase fetal body parts, a class A misdemeanor. While these virtually identical motions to quash were filled with interesting information, Exhibit C made me realize exactly why Devon did not want me to speak to the DOLs.
Exhibit C is a showstopper. It is an email chain starting with an attorney named Murphy Klasing to Harris County Assistant District Attorney Anshu “Sunni” Mitchell – the same prosecutor who handled the no bill of Dr. Douglas Karpen in 2013. In his email, Mr. Klasing tells Ms. Mitchell that “someone from the DA’s office turned over this information [videos] to NAF [National Abortion Federation].” It is important to understand that when David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress released the now infamous Planned Parenthood videos, NAF immediately went to the California courts to stop the release of these videos. NAF is a legal organization that defends abortionists. NAF was successful in the California courts in obtaining a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress, which prevented the dissemination of the Planned Parenthood videos.
Ms. Mitchell replied that she would return the flash drives to Mr. Klasing. Then came the kicker from Ms. Mitchell: “Additionally, you will recall that Melissa Hervey had notified you that we were providing copies of what you had given us to both Josh Schaffer and Randy Schaffer; therefore, you will need to contact them to obtain those copies as well.”
This email exchange is important for a number of reasons. First, why was the prosecutor sharing evidence produced by David with Planned Parenthood? On August 5, 2015, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick called for an investigation of Planned Parenthood – not an investigation of David and Sandra. Second, this exchange occurs before David appeared before Keel’s grand jury on January 14. This email exchange makes it clear that David is the target of the grand jury. So, why wasn’t he given a target letter when he appeared before the grand jury, which would have advised him of his legal rights? Third, who shared David’s videos with NAF?
The motion to quash held another curious piece of information – the prosecutors drafted the extension order for Mary Lou Keel to sign in December 2015, after the filing deadline. Again, the filing deadline is crucial because I guarantee that Devon Anderson would have been faced with multiple legitimate opponents if the indictments of David and Sandra had been released before the filing deadline. Instead, Devon and her prosecutors had the opportunity to present this investigation to five different grand juries in August and September and five grand juries, including Keel’s, in October – December. Then, beginning in January 2016, five new grand juries were empaneled. So, why was it so imperative that Keel’s grand jury be extended to 2016? So to be real clear, Devon had the option at this point to present this case to 15 different grand juries. She wanted Keel’s real bad and for a reason.
Now, if you have been following my posts about Keel, you would know that I asked her about this extension in her two appearances before the Downtown Pachyderm. I specifically asked her why her grand jury was extended and she said that she “didn’t know.” Let’s think about that. Keel wants to serve on the highest criminal court in our state and she doesn’t know why she extended a grand jury, which is an extraordinary event. This is why I am voting for Ray Wheless in the runoff election.
Once again, Devon Anderson’s dirty laundry is spilling out for everyone to see. It also explains why Devon did not want me talking to the Daughters of Liberty. The District Attorney knew I would read the motion to quash and talk about it. Devon can try to explain away a lot of things but it is impossible to provide a rational explanation as to why her office gave the videos to Planned Parenthood’s lawyers.
Another subject Devon cannot explain away is why she did not immunize both David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. If Devon is pro-life, why would she not simply grant them immunity from prosecution before they ever testified before the grand jury? Reading Sunni Mitchell’s email to David’s civil lawyer would have alarmed any criminal lawyer. The evidence is clear that Devon set them up to be indicted. The only thing she needed to do to pull it off was to wait until after the filing deadline against her, extend the Keel grand jury, and BAM, instant pro-choice votes for the general election.
As you know, I have been asking for the names of the grand jurors who indicted David and Sandra. Let’s just say that this is really a small town and it is possible that biased individuals controlled this grand jury. David and Sandra deserve to know the names of these grand jurors. Keel has ordered that these names remain under seal. How do we know that the President of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast was not the foreman of the grand jury? I believe Keel’s order is wrong; but, being smarter than the average bear, I asked for the panel of jurors sent to Keel’s court when the grand jury was selected. This request was made to the Harris County District Clerk, Chris Daniel. Instead of producing these names, the Harris County Attorney, on behalf of Chris Daniel, asked the Texas Attorney General for an opinion on the issue. So, the issue currently rests with Ken Paxton – a man who certainly knows a thing or two about grand juries.
If you have been a long time Big Jolly reader, you know that this is not the first time Anderson has misused her office for political purposes. Last Friday was no different when David Daleiden appeared in court before District Judge Brock Thomas, Devon’s former law partner. I was thankful to meet up with David and some of his legal team for coffee after the court appearance. Judge Thomas set the Motion to Quash hearing on May 25 – the day after Keel’s runoff election.
Right now, David and Sandra need our prayers to overcome the corrupt system of justice in Harris County.
I will be speaking again on the Planned Parenthood saga on May 19 at the Spring Tea Party.
Don Hooper is an energy executive based in Houston. He operates oil and gas assets in addition to owning interest in power generation. Mr. Hooper has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Houston. He has worked as both a political consultant and lobbyist at the local, state, and federal level. Mr. Hooper is a regular contributor to Big Jolly Politics, a local political blog. Mr. Hooper has written extensively on a variety of city, county, and state issues including the City of Houston finances, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, pro-life matters, and other political issues.