“The Court finds that based on the specific factual findings as to each of these counts that there is an absence of probable cause to establish that these conversations were ‘confidential communications’ as defined by the statute,” Judge Christopher C.Hite wrote in an opinion released Friday.
Daleiden still faces multiple criminal charges which Hite refused to drop.
Daleiden responded on Friday, taking a swipe at Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who previously served as California’s attorney general.
“Former California Attorney General Kamala Harris concocted this bogus, biased prosecution with her Planned Parenthood backers against undercover video reporting, and now their case is falling apart as the facts about Planned Parenthood’s criminal organ trafficking are revealed in the courtroom,” he said.
He also predicted that the remaining charges would eventually fall, arguing that they involved “public conversations easily overheard by third parties.”
“The real criminals are the Planned Parenthood leadership who sold fetal body parts from late-term abortions and weaponized the justice system to try to cover it up,” he added.
Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Vice President for Communiations and Culture, criticized Daleiden but said her organization was pleased with the ruling.
“The Center for Medical Progress intentionally waged a multi-year illegal effort to manufacture a malicious campaign against Planned Parenthood,” she said in a statement provided to Fox News.
“They broke the law in order to advance their goals of banning safe, legal abortion in this country, and to prevent Planned Parenthood from serving the patients who depend on us. We’re pleased with today’s ruling and happy that the process of holding them accountable for their actions will move forward. We look forward to justice being served.”
Hite’s decision came shortly after a jury ruled that Daleiden owed Planned Parenthood $870,000 in damages after his videos uncovered behavior that received a wave of public backlash.
The released videos show Planned Parenthood executives discussing fees for fetal tissue and organs. Daleiden alleged Planned Parenthood profited from these sales, which is illegal under federal law.
Daleiden’s lawyers argued that he and Merritt were investigating “violent felonies,” where they believed infants were being born alive at Planned Parenthood clinics and that the organization was profiting off the sale of fetal tissue for medical research. They argued Daleiden’s work as a citizen journalist should be protected.
In 2018, Planned Parenthood announced that its clinics would not accept any sort of payment for its fetal tissue program.
Fox News’ Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.