State high court halts preliminary hearing for anti-abortion activists

David Daleiden, Sandra Merritt charged with secretly filming abortion clinicians, biotech employees

Anti-abortion activist David Daleiden is shown here addressing supporters after a court hearing in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Sara Gaiser)

A preliminary hearing that was scheduled to begin Monday in San Francisco Superior Court for two anti-abortion activists accused of illegal spying was halted late Friday by the California Supreme Court.

David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt are charged by the California Attorney General’s Office with secretly filming abortion clinicians and biotech company employees without their permission at meetings in San Francisco, Los Angeles County and El Dorado County in 2014 and 2015.

They claim that Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite unfairly denied them an evidentiary hearing on their allegations that state Attorney General Xavier Becerra is prejudiced against them and that they are being selectively prosecuted.

The state high court in a brief order Friday stayed all proceedings in the case while it reviews the claim. The preliminary hearing before Hite had been scheduled to last two weeks.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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