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Texas prosecutor creates possible conflict of interest in Planned Parenthood investigation

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Lauren Reeder, Harris Co. prosecutor and PP board member

Lauren Reeder, Harris Co. prosecutor and PP board member (via Operation Rescue)

In light of a possible conflict of interest in the Harris County District Attorney’s office in Texas, Operation Rescue is calling on District Attorney Devon Anderson to appoint a special prosecutor to oversee the office’s criminal investigation of Planned Parenthood.

Prosecutor Lauren Reeder (pictured right) “is listed as a non-compensated ‘Director’ on the 990 Tax Form for 2014 filed by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast” and works for the D.A., states Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue.

But District Attorney Anderson insists there is no reason why their office shouldn’t continue the investigation.

Sullenger writes:

Anderson told the Houston Chronicle of Reeder, “She will not be involved in any manner in this investigation. If at any time in the future, reliable and credible information is brought to my attention that would question our ability to continue to perform a fair, thorough and independent investigation of this matter due to her board membership, I will revisit the issue of seeking the appointment of an independent prosecutor and act accordingly.”

OR president Troy Newman sees things differently:

There are too many questions about the independence of the Harris County District Attorney’s office with a Planned Parenthood board member on hand and given the failure of a previous grand jury under Anderson to indict a Houston abortion provider despite ample photographic evidence and eye-witness testimony of late-term babies being born alive and intentionally killed. The public needs to be assured that an impartial investigation will be conducted on the facts and not on a personal political agenda.

In discussing the “Houston abortion provider” which Anderson failed to indict, Newman is referring to Douglas Karpen, whose employees claimed (with photographic evidence) that babies were being born alive, only to have their necks twisted and broken by Karpen. Despite this, nothing came of the grand jury:

That grand jury failed to return a “true bill” that would have led to Karpen’s prosecution. Operation Rescue has reason to believe that the grand jury did not have access to all the evidence, and that Anderson’s close personal relationship with Karpen’s attorney, Chip Lewis, may have contributed to the failure of the grand jury to indict Karpen.

Newman concludes, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and there’s just too way much smoke blowing Planned Parenthood’s way in Harris County for us to feel remotely comfortable that Anderson’s office can conduct a fair and impartial investigation.”

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