A California jury ruled against pro-life activist David Daleiden and his organization, The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), forcing Daleiden and CMP to pay $870,000 in punitive damages to Planned Parenthood after exposing the abortion giant’s illegal sales of aborted baby parts nationwide. In all, Planned Parenthood is expected to be awarded over $2 million, including punitive and compensatory damages, as well as attorneys’ fees.
In 2015, after a 30-month undercover operation, CMP published 14 videos showing top-level executives from Planned Parenthood haggling over prices of aborted baby parts and discussing alternative methods for doctors to better harvest fetal organs during abortion procedures.
After the release of the videos, Planned Parenthood filed suit, claiming that Daleiden and CMP harmed its abortion trade and accusing them of illegal taping, trespassing and fraud.
“This lawsuit is payback for David Daleiden exposing Planned Parenthood’s dirty business of buying and selling fetal parts and organs,” said Peter Breen, lead defense attorney for The Thomas More Society, which represented Daleiden. “… David’s findings revealed practices so abhorrent that the United States Congress issued criminal referrals for Planned Parenthood, and numerous states and elected officials have moved to strip it of funding. Rather than face up to its heinous doings, Planned Parenthood chose to persecute the person who exposed it.”
The case was heard by San Francisco’s U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick III, who previously served on the board of a family resource center that shares space and helps run a Planned Parenthood facility. When asked by the defense to recuse himself from the trial, Orrick refused.
Orrick allowed the jurors to view an ABC News “20/20” investigation from 2000 that Daleiden said provoked his own investigation, but the judge prevented certain videos Daleiden recorded from being shown to the jury of nine men and three women.
During the six-week trial, Planned Parenthood staffers repeatedly admitted to selling human baby parts for profit.
“While top Planned Parenthood witnesses spent six weeks testifying under oath that the undercover videos are true and Planned Parenthood sold fetal organs on a quid pro quo basis, a biased judge with close Planned Parenthood ties spent six weeks trying to influence the jury with pre-determined rulings and suppressed the video evidence, all in order to rubber-stamp Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit attack on the First Amendment,” said Daleiden after the ruling was announced.
“This is a dangerous precedent for citizen journalism and First Amendment civil rights across the country, sending a message that speaking truth and facts to criticize the powerful is no longer protected by our institutions,” he added.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Student for Life of America, called the court’s decision a miscarriage of justice.
“This is a case of shooting the proverbial messenger who had the courage to document the business model of the nation’s No. 1 abortion vendor,” she said. “It was clear during the hearing that Planned Parenthood did harvest and sell infant body parts. What a miscarriage of justice to punish those who documented the disgusting practices. This is the end of undercover journalism.”
Attorneys from The Thomas More Society have vowed to appeal.
“I am fully confident that when this case has run its course, justice will prevail, and David will be vindicated,” said Breen.
This trial was separate from a criminal case against Daleiden launched by presidential-hopeful Kamala Harris, who has received significant campaign donations from the abortion industry.
Above: David Daleiden, head of The Center for Medical Progress, appeared in federal court Dec. 18, 2015.
Photo: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo