Anti-abortion activist charged in Planned Parenthood videos free on bond

Sandra Merritt's attorney says she is returning to California

HOUSTON - An anti-abortion activist involved in the undercover Planned Parenthood video turned herself in to authorities in Harris County Wednesday.

Sandra Merritt is free after posting $2,000 bond. Another activist, David Daleiden, will surrender Thursday morning.

Merritt's and her attorney, Dan Cogdell, spoke to the media after she was released.

Daleiden and Merritt, who both live in California, are charged with tampering with government records.

A Harris County grand jury indicted them for their role in the undercover Planned Parenthood video case.

Their attorneys said it is unusual that the jury would indict witnesses, and the grounds for indictment are legally and factually insufficient. They said using a fake license didn't cause harm or defraud Planned Parenthood.

"This grand jury has overreached, charging a second-degree felony for someone having a fictitious driver's license," one of the attorneys said.

"We believe this is a runaway jury who has acted contrary to the law," another of the attorneys said. "They've gone after the whistleblowers. They've gone after the truth tellers in this."

Daleiden, who was also indicted on a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs, plans to plead not guilty to the charges.

"I don't care if you're pro-life, if you're pro-choice. I don't care if you're a pro bowler,;this case is dumber than a bucket of hair. It needs to be dismissed," said defense attorney Dan Cogdell.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office said they've offered Merritt a plea deal. If she meets certain conditions for a specific amount of time, the charge would be dismissed and expunged from her record.

"A pre-trial diversion is what Devon felt was the right thing to do in the case, and that's something that is offered often on non-violent first offenders," said prosecutor Britni Cooper.

A grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing.

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2