The pro-life undercover journalist who stunned the nation with video recordings of Planned Parenthood officials allegedly selling the body parts of aborted babies for profit has entered a plea of not guilty to all charges against him in Superior Court in San Francisco.
“What Sandra [Merritt] and I did is no different from what local news sources and local news outlets do every single day in the state of California,” David Daleiden said at a news conference following his court appearance Thursday. “When they go undercover and publish undercover news stories on issues all across the state every week, every month.”
The only difference is that we went after and we recorded and we exposed the sacred cows of the California political establishment – Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation and their allies and proxies in the abortion industry, the political backers of the organs of power in the state of California.
A press release from Thomas More Society, which represents Daleiden, notes that special counsel Peter Breen said during the press conference that the journalist’s demurrer motion – that objected to the validity of the complaint filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra – was denied. However, Judge Christopher Hite did indicate he was open to arguments for dismissal later, Breen said.
“We’re going to get a hearing on this,” he added, asserting that the charges against his client are weak.
“This has been a multi-faceted attack on David and Sandra and all of those who have been part of their work, in order to shut down his message,” Breen continued. “We continue to win. We continue to beat back these attacks.”
Becerra has accused Daleiden of privacy violations, even though the video footage was filmed in public locations, such as restaurants, and hotel conference rooms.
Daleiden’s criminal defense attorneys Brent Ferreira, a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, and Steve Cooley, a former Los Angeles County District Attorney, also emphasize their client has not violated the privacy laws.
According to the press release:
Daleiden’s primary affirmative defenses are, first, that the undercover recordings at issue were made in public places and, second, that he sought and uncovered evidence of illegal partial birth abortions and medical battery on women seeking abortions, bringing his recording efforts under the violent crime safe harbor in the California recording statute.
“David was investigating violent felonies,” said Ferreira during the press conference.
“A great injustice is being done here,” said Cooley, adding:
It’s being done because those two individuals, our former attorney general, now Sen. Kamala Harris, and our current attorney general Xavier Becerra, have and are advancing … an improperly motivated, and criminally motivated prosecution against someone who is doing nothing than expose crime.
Daleiden, who heads Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and posed as a potential buyer of fetal body parts during lunch meetings with Planned Parenthood officials and at annual trade shows of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), has also appealed a gag order to the U.S. Supreme Court. Issued by San Francisco federal Judge William Orrick III, Daleiden and his attorneys claim the order is unconstitutional and against his First Amendment rights. Orrick’s order prohibited publication of undercover footage of the Planned Parenthood officials during the NAF trade shows on the basis that it could endanger the abortionists.
Daleiden and CMP also have a pending motion that requests the disqualification of Orrick “on the grounds that there is evidence of bias in favor of the plaintiff and prejudice against the defendants.”
Evidence uncovered by Daleiden and his attorneys includes that the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center – an entity that is in partnership with a Planned Parenthood affiliate, a member of NAF – has named Orrick as an emeritus member of its board.
In addition, Orrick’s wife’s Facebook account was found to have included posted public comments – along with a photo of her and her husband – that indicate support for Planned Parenthood and criticism of Daleiden and CMP.
Daleiden achieved a victory last week when a federal court sided with him in a lawsuit against him by the taxpayer-funded University of Washington’s lab workers and abortion facility staff attempting to hide their identifying information from the public. The court decided that taxpayers have a right to see how their tax dollars are used.
Charges brought against Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt in Harris County, Texas were ultimately dropped.
Supporters at the press conference Thursday after Daleiden’s court appearance included Terrisa Bukovinac, president of Pro-Life Future of San Francisco.
“A lot of people assume that pro-lifers are conservative Christians living far away from liberal San Francisco,” Bukovinac said, continuing:
I’m a San Francisco local, a registered Democrat, a feminist, and an atheist … I’m here to tell you that, contrary to conventional wisdom, there is a thriving and passionate pro-life presence in the city of San Francisco, and many of us have gathered here today to support David and Sandra.
Bukovinac continued that Becerra has betrayed the trust of the San Francisco community by charging Daleiden and Merritt and attempting to suppress the free speech rights of private citizens. She observed as well that Becerra has accepted thousands of dollars in political donations from Planned Parenthood.
Daleiden and Merritt have “exposed Planned Parenthood’s gruesome and greedy practices perpetrated against unsuspecting women and their unborn children,” she added.