“Mark and his family are now free of the cloud that the Biden administration threw upon them. We took on Goliath — the full might of the United States government — and won,” said Peter Breen, executive vice president and head of litigation for the Thomas More Society, a nonprofit law firm that defended Mark Houck in Pennsylvania, Monday.
A jury found Houck, the Catholic pro-life advocate and father of seven who faced 11 years in prison, not guilty of a federal violation related to an encounter with a Planned Parenthood clinic escort in Philadelphia.
Houck was charged with two counts of violating the FACE Act in two incidents that occurred at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic on Oct. 13, 2021. The Department of Justice’s indictment accused Houck of shoving abortion clinic escort Bruce Love in two separate incidents on the same day.
The pro-life advocate was declared not guilty on all counts in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
“We are, of course, thrilled with the outcome,” said Breen. “The jury saw through and rejected the prosecution’s discriminatory case, which was harassment from day one. This is a win for Mark and the entire pro-life movement. The Biden Department of Justice’s intimidation against pro-life people and people of faith has been put in its place.”
During the October 2021 incident, Houck was across the street from the facility and attempting to counsel two women when Love verbally confronted the pro-life advocate.
In the second incident, Houck was defending his son, who was 12 years old at the time, after Love became aggressive. Security footage of the confrontation showed the escort falling to the ground, injuring his elbow.
The father and his son, Mark Houck Jr., testified Friday, the third day of the trial. On Thursday, defense attorneys requested a motion to dismiss the federal indictment.
Brian McMonagle of the law firm McMonagle, Perri, McHugh, Mischak & Davis, alongside Breen, argued before Judge Gerald Pappert that the federal government had not made a strong enough case to prosecute Houck.
Evidence showed Love initiated the confrontation that resulted in his injury and that he, as an escort, was in violation of the non-engagement policy described in Planned Parenthood’s volunteer escort manual, which instructs them not to engage with the pro-life sidewalk counselors.
The defense attorney argued that the case “never should have been brought to federal court” and the fact that it was brought to federal court is a “disgrace.”
“Justice has been served, but this brazen exercise in intimidation never should have happened,’ Texas Rep. Chip Roy (R) said in a statement. “Mark Houck and his eight children never should have been forced to live through an FBI raid or see their father led away in handcuffs.”
“Congress must continue oversight of the FACE Act and should consider a full repeal of this eminently abused and clearly weaponized federal usurpation of state police powers,” Chip noted. “Congress should also take a hard look at the tens of billions we’re giving to the Department of Justice and exactly how those funds are being used.”
“To understand how corrupt Biden’s Justice Department is in this case, one must recognize that the Philadelphia Police Department refused to press charges against Mr. Houck,” editorialized Townhall’s Larry O’Conner. “Love attempted to get physical assault charges levied against his deadly assailant, and the Philly cops and District Attorney laughed him out of the room.”
“But Joe Biden and Merrick Garland had to appease their bloodthirsty pro-abortion funding base, so the FBI was dispatched, and Houck faced federal charges in a warped and distorted interpretation of the FACE act.”
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1. He should not even been charged. Where are the FBI agents breaking down doors of Jane’s revenge who destroy pro life centers for women who choose life?
2. Merrick Garland should be impeached. McConnell hasn’t done a lot of good things but kept Garland off the Supreme Court.
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I’m waiting for McCarthy and his minions to do something, anything to stop this madness. Our government is now one party of socialist bordering on Nazis. The comparisons are staggering. Garland needs to click his red shoes together and get his ass back home.
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We should start keeping track of these seemingly scattered victories as they mount up. Wars are won often slowly, and we were half asleep for a long time.