A pro-life protester who was arrested at gunpoint by the FBI was found not guilty of FACE charges alleged by the Department of Justice.
48-year-old Mark Houck was charged by the Justice Department with trying to “injure, intimidate and interfere” with a volunteer escort at the Planned Parenthood Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Houck admitted shoving 72-year-old Bruce Love to the ground, but Houck says that he only did so because Love had been harassing his son. Houck’s wife said that Love told her son “inappropriate and disgusting” things for many weeks before the altercation.
The Biden administration charged Houck under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, also known as the FACE Act. Critics alleged that the case strained the definitions of the law in order to make a political example of Houck and threaten other pro-life activists.
After initially facing a deadlock, a jury found Houck not guilty on Monday.
U.S. District Judge Gerald Pappert had previously opined that the prosecution on the basis of the FACE act seemed “to be stretched a little thin here.”
Pro-life activists across the nation were outraged when Houck was arrested in an early morning raid by FBI agents, reportedly more than two dozen. Some worried the case might have a serious effect on the religious liberty rights of pro-life activists.
“Look, if this is allowed to stand, it’s an invitation to abortion escorts to be very aggressive, because who’s the Biden DOJ going to believe? The abortion escort or the sidewalk counselor?” said Houck’s attorney Peter Breen, in an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network before the jury ruling was revealed.
“And the federal government can take any case it wants, you know, they can indict anybody they want, they can take any case they want to trial,” he added. “And so, if this is allowed to stand it would create a horrible and dangerous precedent for sidewalk counseling across the country.”
Houck had faced 11 years in prison and a maximum fine of $350,000 over the charges.
Here’s more about the DOJ case against Houck:
Jury Selection Begins in Houck Trial, ‘Biggest Criminal Case’ for Pro-Life Movementwww.youtube.com
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