Investigative Journalists Behind Planned Parenthood Undercover Videos Appeal Devastating $16 Million Lawsuit

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The undercover investigators behind the infamous videos of Planned Parenthood officials negotiating prices for the byproducts of aborted babies have begun the process of appealing the devastating lawsuit in which a judge awarded a staggering $16 million in fees to the abortion giant.

Last year, Judge William Orrick slapped David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) with paying Planned Parenthood over $13 million in “attorneys fees and costs,” in addition to the more than $2 million awarded to the nonprofit after a jury ruled in its favor on all counts in a civil case. Judbe Orrick was involved in the civil case as well, making it a point to instruct the jury against considering Daleiden and Merritt’s First Amendment right to free speech and prohibiting them from even viewing the undercover videos in question.

As we’ve previously reported, Judge Orrick should have recused himself from the cases given his ties to Planned Parenthood, but no such justice was done.

Across the various hearings and proceedings for the two cases, Planned Parenthood employees have admitted under oath that the statements they are recorded making in the videos are real.

Now, according to a CMP press release, David Daleiden and other undercover investigators for CMP have filed opening briefs on appeal at the federal Ninth Circuit to overturn the $16 million decision, citing several problems with the original trial. Liberty Counsel, representing Sandra Merritt, issued a press release noting several significant admissions from the witness stand which only served to strenghten the defendants’ cases.

The CMP press release states, in part:

  • Judge Orrick allowed Planned Parenthood to make an end run around the First Amendment, where Planned Parenthood sued for research and management costs stemming from the release of the undercover videos, but did not prove in court the videos were false or defamatory—in fact, Planned Parenthood admitted in court the videos were authentic. Judge Orrick’s $16 million fine for the videos and injunction against further investigation awarded to Planned Parenthood, without any defamation claim, are a threat to all undercover reporting.

  • Judge Orrick excluded the expert testimony of Dr. Forrest O. Smith, the longest continuously practicing abortion provider in the United States, who testified the videos are evidence infants are being delivered alive and killed through organ harvesting in Planned Parenthood’s fetal research programs.

  • Planned Parenthood’s fraud, trespass, and RICO claims presented no evidence to distinguish CMP investigators’ undercover networking with the abortion industry from pure speech protected by the First Amendment, and 9th Circuit and Supreme Court precedent. The “fake IDs” shown by some investigators were creative props never used for government ID purposes and cannot be the basis for a tripled RICO fine.

  • The undercover video recordings at issue in the case were all made of professional conversations in public areas where third parties easily overheard—yet Judge Orrick would not allow the Defense to play the full videos of the conversations to the jury.

  • One undercover investigator did not identify as pro-life and used his own name and ID to attend Planned Parenthood tradeshows—yet Orrick still allowed Planned Parenthood to sue him for “fraud” and “trespass” because he assisted a pro-life publication. Judge Orrick then punished the other Defendants further for actually subscribing to pro-life advocacy. The real “crime” in Orrick’s courtroom was pro-life speech, and guilt by association with it.

The major factor in the appeals is the issue of Judge Orrick himself and his palpable bias in the courtroom.

Orrick was asked to recuse himself from the case back in 2017 over his connections to the plaintiff, but he refused to step down or disclose his relationship with Planned Parenthood. The CMP press release also noted that Orrick even tried to influence another judge to keep him on the case.

According to Live Action, Orrick has helped to open and run a Planned Parenthood referral facility while serving as a board member of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center (GSFRC) in San Francisco, and he and his wife are faithful donors to Planned Parenthood. They have even shown open support for the abortion business on social media and made posts which likened CMP to “domestic terrorism.”

“Planned Parenthood got caught selling aborted baby body parts in the undercover videos, and their fetal trafficking programs have started to be held accountable,” Daleiden said in the CMP press release. “Yet because of a biased federal judge who previously helped run a Planned Parenthood clinic in the fetal trafficking network, Planned Parenthood has been allowed to sue me and CMP for successfully reporting the facts while blocking us from defending ourselves.”

“The animus against free speech about abortion and fetal trafficking was palpable in Judge Orrick’s courtroom, where no evidence against Planned Parenthood would be admitted and the real ‘crime’ is being pro-life,” Daleiden concluded. “This judgment does not reflect equality or fairness and puts freedom of the press and the rule of law at risk for all Americans. This judgment must be reversed.”

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