Jury Acquits Pro-Life Activist Whose Home Was Raided by FBI

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Pro-life activistic Mark Houck was recovered not blameworthy by a national tribunal successful Philadelphia connected Jan. 30 connected charges that arose from an October 2021 altercation extracurricular a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Houck was accused of doubly violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which prohibits “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive behaviour intended to injure, intimidate, oregon interfere with the close to seek, obtain, oregon supply reproductive wellness services.”

Specifically, the Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged that Houck assaulted Bruce Love, a 72-year-old session escort, connected 2 occasions—once by pushing him to the crushed arsenic helium was escorting patients from the session and a 2nd clip during a verbal altercation successful beforehand of the facility.

Houck’s attorneys, however, argued that Love was “extremely aggressive” and had been “harassing” Houck’s 12-year-old lad earlier immoderate altercation ensued.

Houck, a begetter of seven, was arrested by the FBI successful September successful an aboriginal greeting raid that was wide criticized by conservatives arsenic grounds of the Biden administration’s governmental weaponization of the agency.

“If helium was genuinely a information to the community, they wouldn’t person waited a twelvemonth to prosecute,” noted Patrick Breen, Houck’s lawyer and vice president of the Thomas More Society, pursuing Houck’s arrest.

“Serious questions request to beryllium asked of the Attorney General,” Breen added. “What was helium thinking? Why did they bash this obscene amusement of unit against a peaceful pillar of the community?”


According to Houck’s wife, Ryan-Marie Houck, the raid connected their location progressive dozens of equipped FBI agents who threatened to interruption down their doorway and pointed weapons astatine household members.

“It’s hard to adjacent explicit the victimization and however traumatized we each are,” she said connected “Tucker Carlson Tonight” aft the arrest.

“My full beforehand yard, you could hardly spot it; it was covered with astatine slightest 15 large trucks and cars,” she added, estimating that 20 to 30 agents showed up astatine their home.

However, the FBI said that immoderate facts of the apprehension had been distorted successful the retelling.

“No SWAT Team oregon SWAT operators were involved,” a spokesperson for the FBI’s Philadelphia bureau told The Epoch Times astatine the time. “FBI agents knocked connected Mr. Houck’s beforehand door, identified themselves arsenic FBI agents, and asked him to exit the residence. He did truthful and was taken into custody without incidental pursuant to an indictment.”

The bureau besides held that the reported fig of vehicles contiguous was “overstated” and emphasized that the agents had acted successful accordance with modular process successful conducting the arrest.

Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, recovered the second assertion hard to believe.

In a Sept. 28 missive (pdf) to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee’s ranking member, noted that Houck had reportedly been cooperating with the DOJ and adjacent offered to look voluntarily but ne'er received a response.

“Given their practice with national instrumentality enforcement, the household did not expect to beryllium awakened astatine 7 a.m. with reportedly implicit 20 FBI agents surrounding their location wearing armor-plated tactical vests, ballistic helmets, and holding ballistic shields and agelong guns,” Grassley wrote.

“Based connected reports and allegations, the actions taken by the FBI reasonably telephone into question whether they complied with DOJ’s usage of unit policy,” the legislator added. “The FBI indispensable explicate their justification for their actions connected September 23, 2022.”


According to Catholic News Agency, the assemblage successful the proceedings was shown video footage of the 2nd incident, which showed Love approaching Houck and his lad arsenic they were lasting extracurricular of the Planned Parenthood session connected the sidewalk. Love turned and walked backmost toward the session arsenic Houck pointed astatine the entrance, past Love turned backmost astir and approached the Houck a 2nd clip arsenic they walked toward the thoroughfare corner. Houck past turned and pushed Love, who fell to the ground.

The defence squad reportedly held that Love said demeaning things to Houck’s son, provoking the altercation.

Love denied that claim, stating nether oath that helium had approached Houck doubly that time arsenic portion of his duties arsenic a session escort, which helium said included telling patients that they didn’t person to perceive to protesters.

Love besides claimed that Houck had called him a “murderer” and “baby killer” and threatened to propulsion him successful the street, maintaining that each helium said to Houck was, “Is that a threat?”

Per Catholic News Agency, Love was not seen with a diligent successful the video footage, and determination was nary video of the archetypal incident.

The DOJ reportedly held that Houck’s alleged comments were grounds that helium pushed Love to interfere with his duties arsenic a session escort.

Houck’s ineligible team, however, charged that Love said much than helium claimed.

“Do you retrieve saying [to Houck], ‘Why don’t you spell location and masturbate?’” Brian McMonagle, 1 of the defence attorneys, asked Love.

He besides asked Love if helium recalled asking Houck’s son: “‘Do you spot however your dada is hurting women? Your dada doesn’t attraction astir women.’ Do you retrieve saying that?”

Love denied making those and different alleged comments, but witnesses testified that determination was an statement oregon shouting that took place.

The defence initially sought to person the lawsuit dismissed, holding that Houck was simply responding to Love’s provocations and that the FACE Act was being “stretched a small thin” by the DOJ. But the justice did not assistance the motion.

The Verdict

According to Catholic News Agency, the assemblage began its deliberations connected Jan. 27 but ended the time successful a deadlock. They resumed deliberations connected Monday greeting but 1 juror needed to beryllium excused.

“Early this morning, we were notified that determination was an contented with the jury, and 1 of the jurors had to beryllium excused, who was not participating, rather frankly, successful the deliberation process,” McMonagle said, per the outlet. “And we rapidly worked to effort and bring successful an alternate juror. He came successful and wrong an hr of him getting here, determination was a unanimous not blameworthy verdict.”

After receiving the verdict, Houck joined with household and friends to commune and talk with reporters, stating that it was his Christian religion that got him done the ordeal.

“We [the Houcks] conscionable consciousness privileged, and religion has brought america to that constituent wherever we consciousness that,” helium explained. “So we’ve grown successful faith, we’ve asked God to springiness america greater faith, and done contiguous and this process … we person greater religion and spot successful God than ever.”

Breen, besides sharing his thoughts, asserted that the lawsuit was “an intimidation tactic” by the Biden DOJ.

“Our anticipation present is that a connection was sent to Washington, D.C., to halt this harassment of sidewalk counselors who are conscionable trying to supply alternatives to those who are facing an abortion decision,” helium said. “And I anticipation this volition beryllium 1 of those points wherever a alteration is made truthful that nary 1 other volition person to endure the aforesaid mode that Mark and his household person suffered.”