Read time: 3 minutes 5 seconds
Mark Houck, a Catholic pro-life father of seven who was arrested by FBI agents in the early morning hours at his Pennsylvania residence last September, will get to tell his side of the story next week in a jury trial. And now his attorneys say they've offered "bombshell evidence" to the court that could change everything.
The case is scheduled for trial Tuesday, Jan. 24 at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
As CBN News has reported, Houck, 48, is being prosecuted by the Biden Justice Department for alleged violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 (FACE).
The FACE Act makes it a federal crime to physically obstruct the entrance to a clinic or to use force, the threat of force, or physical obstruction, such as a sit-in, to interfere with, injure, or intimidate clinic workers or women seeking abortions or other reproductive health services.
As CBN News has reported, the government's case against Houck stems from a minor altercation he had with a volunteer at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Philadelphia in October of 2021.
Police were called, but declined to pursue the case because of a lack of evidence.
The volunteer, 72-year-old Bruce Love (who is identified only as "B.L." on the indictment), was familiar with Houck because the two crossed paths at the Philadelphia abortion clinic many times previously.
The indictment against Houck claims he "assaulted" the man only "because Love was a volunteer at the abortion clinic". But according to Houck's family representative Brian Middleton, that's not what happened.
Houck was at the abortion clinic praying and ministering within his legal rights (on the sidewalk, not clinic property) when, according to Middleton, it was Love who approached Houck's 12-year-old son and began unleashing a string of vile comments, cursing the young man. That's when Houck intervened and eventually pushed Love in order to protect his son, causing Love to fall to the ground. Then the police were called but they eventually decided there was a "lack of evidence" of an assault taking place and declined to pursue the issue any further.
Love filed a criminal complaint against Houck, but failed to show up to any of the court hearings, prompting the judge to dismiss the case.
Then, six days after the case was dismissed, Houck received a target letter from the DOJ notifying him he was the subject of a federal grand jury investigation.
Even though his attorney had offered to bring Houck in, the Justice Department still came after Houck. Emails from Thomas More Society attorneys show that they explicitly offered to bring their client in to avoid the inconvenience (and danger) of an arrest. The government never responded.
Instead of handling the potential investigation peacefully, the FBI reportedly raided Houck's home with overwhelming force, terrorizing his wife and children in the process.
The government claims a FACE Act violation took place, but Houck and his attorneys vehemently disagree. He has pled not guilty.
If convicted, Houck faces up to 11 years in prison and a $350,000 fine.
New Evidence: FACE Act Didn't Include 'Escorts' Operating Outside of Abortion Facilities
In his pre-trial hearing Tuesday, Houck's attorneys produced what they call "bombshell evidence" that's never been considered before by a federal court. Their material reveals that when the U.S. Congress passed the FACE Act, it expressly intended to exclude so-called "escorts" operating outside of abortion facilities from being encompassed by the FACE Act.
To read the remainder of the story visit our content partners at CBN News.
Reprinted with permission from cbn.com. Copyright © 2023 The Christian Broadcasting Network Inc. All rights reserved."
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