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Lawyer for pro-life activist arrested by FBI blasts ‘outrageous abuse of power’ from DOJ: ‘Pure intimidation’


From WWW.FOXNEWS.COM

EXCLUSIVE: An attorney for Mark Houck, a Catholic pro-life activist from Pennsylvania, condemned the recent FBI arrest of his client as an abuse of power from President Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) intended to send an intimidating message to pro-life Americans.

“Americans should not have to fear that they’re going to have 20 federal agents pounding their door down and dragging them out as they’re trying to enjoy their morning coffee,” Peter Breen, senior counsel at the Thomas More Society, told Fox News Digital. “This is an outrageous abuse of the great powers that the American people entrust to the federal government.”

The FBI arrested Houck, 48, Friday in front of his wife and seven children at his rural Kintnersville home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The pro-life father, who routinely engages in prayerful protests outside abortion clinics, is co-founder and president of The King’s Men, a Catholic ministry that aims to spiritually mentor young Catholic men.

The arrest reportedly stemmed from an altercation Houck had with a Planned Parenthood escort in Philadelphia in October 2021, when he was accused of pushing a 72-year-old man outside the clinic after the escort allegedly verbally harassed Houck’s 12-year-old son.

The Philadelphia Police Department confirmed to Fox News Digital that officers responded to the Planned Parenthood clinic on the afternoon of Oct. 13, but that Houck was not arrested and no charges were filed against him. The 72-year-old man “was pushed to the ground” by Houck, which caused “a scrape to his right arm,” a Philadelphia police spokesperson said.

After the Philadelphia district attorney declined to prosecute Houck over the incident, Breen said the other man involved brought a private criminal complaint against Houck, but that the man never showed up to his own court hearings that he initiated. Houck’s lawyer said they have considered taking legal action for abuse of process.

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In May, Houck received a “target letter” from the DOJ telling him he was being investigated by a grand jury for violating the Freedom of Access Clinic Entrances Act, or FACE Act, which makes it a federal crime to use force with the intent to injure, intimidate and interfere with anyone because that person provides reproductive health care.

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Upon receiving the letter, Houck retained legal counsel at the Thomas More Society, which describes itself as a “not-for-profit, national public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family and religious liberty.”

“This case is being run out of Washington, D. C., directed by the highest levels of the Department of Justice against an innocent man, because he had the temerity to advocate and pray on the public sidewalk in favor of his pro-life convictions,” Breen said.

“The way that this case has been prosecuted by the Department of Justice so far shows that it is a political matter, not a legal one,” he added.

“The facts of this particular case are so clear that the altercations had nothing to do with abortion or keeping people from getting abortions, and you have to have that in order to make out a [FACE Act] claim; in order to take what is a local dispute and turn it into a federal lawsuit,” he explained.

Breen described the raid at Houck’s home by 20 heavily armed federal agents as “unprecedented” and “outrageous,” especially in light of the fact that Houck’s attorneys offered to bring him in “anytime, anywhere that the Department of Justice and the U. S. Attorney wanted” following the letter from the DOJ.

Breen said the member of their legal team who responded to the target letter was a longtime federal prosecutor “who put some very bad people behind bars: drug lords, mafia bosses, all of that.” But he said they got no response until they were informed that their client was in custody…. (Read more)

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