The attorneys general of 20 states have filed a brief that urges the U.S. Supreme Court to lift an injunction that has barred the release of the undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s alleged practice of profiteering from the sale of aborted baby body parts.
The states’ top law enforcement officials – led by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich – filed an amicus or “friend of the court” brief. The attorneys general argue U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick’s ban – which was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – “hampers law enforcement’s ability to effectively receive information and investigate possible civil or criminal wrongdoing.”
“The decision empowers would-be wrongdoers, especially those engaged in collusion, conspiracy, or other multi-party enterprises, to shroud their actions and hamper investigations,” the attorneys general added.
“By imposing a host of contract-based prior restraints on communications with investigators, the Ninth Circuit’s decision sets a precedent that will harm law enforcement’s ability to gather information that can be crucial to protecting the public,” a press release from Brnovich’s office stated.
Last week, Orrick fined David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress and his attorneys $200,000 for contempt of his order when they published online video footage of abortionists at National Abortion Federation (NAF) trade shows.
The footage showed abortionists joking about their work, discussing “the head that gets stuck that we can’t get out,” and “an eyeball just fell down into my lap, and that is gross!”
Dr. Lisa Harris, medical director of Planned Parenthood Michigan, is also heard saying in the video, “Let’s just give them all the violence, it’s a person, it’s killing, let’s just give them all that.”
Daleiden and Merritt have also been charged with 15 felony counts under California’s law protecting “confidential” conversations.
In September 2016, emails obtained by the Washington Times showed that then-California AG and U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris’s office collaborated with Planned Parenthood to produce legislation that specifically targeted Daleiden.
The emails, according to the Times, were accessed through a public records request and revealed conversations between officials of Harris’s office and Planned Parenthood regarding legislation that criminalizes undercover journalists for publishing and distributing recordings of private communications with abortion providers.
In March 2017, the new California attorney general, Xavier Becerra, announced the criminal complaint charging Daleiden and Merritt with 15 felony counts against the state’s “confidentiality” legislation.
Previously, Becerra was a longstanding Democratic congressman who received $5,535 from Planned Parenthood during his congressional election bids between 1998 and 2014, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Harris is on record as having received $2,600 in 2016 from Planned Parenthood for her Senate race campaign. Additionally, Harris was the recipient of $39,855 from the Abortion Policy/Pro-Abortion Rights lobby group, according to OpenSecrets.org. ElectionTrack.com reported Harris received $15,000 from Planned Parenthood for her attorney general campaign bids.
In the amicus brief, Brnovich asserted that criminal activity is not protected by confidentiality agreements and that law enforcement officials often rely upon information provided by whistleblowers.
Attorneys for the undercover journalist, who created a firestorm with his video exposé of the fetal tissue trafficking industry, claim Orrick’s order is unconstitutional and against Daleiden’s First Amendment rights. The injunction prohibited publication of the video footage of Planned Parenthood officials during the NAF trade shows on the basis that it could endanger the abortionists.
Daleiden and CMP 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.
The video journalist achieved a victory recently 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 also ultimately dropped in May of 2016 when an attorney representing Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast admitted that he pressured the Harris County District Attorney’s office to drop an indictment against the abortion business and instead indict Daleiden and Merritt.
Two pro-choice law professors wrote that the indictment of Daleiden and Merrit amounted to “a stunning act of legal jujitsu” and was a “deeply disturbing” outcome, both for the First Amendment and undercover citizen journalists attempting to expose corruption.
Though Planned Parenthood continues to deny any wrongdoing in the alleged sale of aborted baby body parts, the organization also released a statement in October of 2015 announcing it would no longer accept payments for aborted fetal tissue. The abortion provider and its left-wing media supporters continue to insist the videos produced by CMP were “deceptively edited.”
However, a Democrat opposition research firm named Fusion GPS – hired by Planned Parenthood itself to review the videos – said while their analysts observed the videos had been edited, “the analysis did not reveal widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation.”
Additionally, Fusion noted, “[A]nalysts found no evidence that CMP inserted dialogue not spoken by Planned Parenthood staff.”
An analysis by Coalfire, a third-party forensics company hired by Alliance Defending Freedom, found that the videos were “not manipulated” and that they are “authentic.”
Fusion GPS is the same firm that commissioned a dossier on President Donald Trump.
The CMP undercover investigation led to congressional probes into allegations that Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of babies aborted in its clinics for a profit and to vehement cries for the elimination of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding. Planned Parenthood affiliates and their partners in the biomedical procurement industry have been referred for possible criminal prosecution by congressional committees.
In addition to Arizona, the other states joining in the amicus brief are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.