A San Francisco district judge ruled Wednesday that the undercover journalists who exposed the aborted baby body parts practices of Planned Parenthood must pay the abortion giant over $1.5 million plus all of its attorney fees.
Judge William Orrick III of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, an Obama appointee, also prohibited Center for Medical Progress (CMP) project lead David Daleiden and his associates from ever entering Planned Parenthood conferences in the future.
The order follows a jury’s verdict in November that sided with Planned Parenthood.
The jury found the undercover journalists violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), causing significant harm to the abortion chain with its sting video series. It awarded punitive damages to Planned Parenthood of over $2.2 million.
Regarding CMP’s claim of its First Amendment right as journalists to uncover corruption, Orrick responded:
Defendants’ arguments go too far. Simply claiming the mantel of a journalist does not give someone a license to trespass, illegally record, or otherwise commit violations of generally applicable laws. The “evidence” defendants actually gathered and then published as a result of the conduct the jury found was illegal did not itself show any illegal conduct by Planned Parenthood or plaintiff affiliates.
Planned Parenthood and its media and political allies have continued the narrative that CMP’s videos of its staff engaged in haggling over the price of aborted baby body parts were “deceptively edited.”
However, in January 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the videos produced by CMP were not deceptively edited.
Judge Edith H. Jones, a Ronald Reagan nominee who wrote for a three-judge panel, rebuked the lower district court, asserting, “The district court stated, inaccurately, that the CMP video had not been authenticated and suggested that it may have been edited.”
The judge continued that the district court, which had ruled against the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General (OIG):
… felt free to credit all of the trial testimony from [Planned Parenthood] — none of which had been offered during the state administrative procedures — [but] the court bound the IG solely to the administrative record and expressly refused to consider any support for termination “not included in the Final Notice and not part of the Inspector General’s termination decision.”
“Having thus narrowed the evidence, the court concluded that OIG ‘did not have prima facie … evidence, or even a scintilla of evidence, to conclude the bases of termination set forth in the Final Notice merited finding the Plaintiff Providers were not qualified,’” Jones wrote.
Orrick wrote as well the fact that CMP’s actions “caused plaintiffs to increase their security measures for access to their conference and offices does not mean that plaintiffs no longer face a threat of intrusion from defendants or those acting in concert with defendants”:
The defendants’ history and longstanding opposition to the activities, if not the very existence, of plaintiffs completely undermines their argument. Plaintiffs’ interim security measures might discourage future intrusions by defendants directly, but with technological advances in surreptitious recording and the very real possibility of acting in concert with others (who are not yet known to plaintiffs), plaintiffs’ security improvements do not diminish their hardship argument.
However, Orrick’s relationship with the abortion industry itself has been the subject of controversy during the course of the case.
Prior to the start of the civil case, Orrick ruled the jury would not be permitted to consider any information Daleiden and his colleagues gathered from their video recordings.
Daleiden told Breitbart News in an interview in January his video footage “is some of the most damning and incriminating stuff that’s ever been recorded, and we intend to release it in the near future as soon as we can.”
“We’re going to continue to fight to liberate that footage so that it can be entered into the record of public opinion, because the public has to know what Planned Parenthood and their business partners have been doing to children in the womb and have been doing to infants for decades at this point,” he added.
Daleiden said Planned Parenthood has engaged in a “coordinated strategy with their allies at the National Abortion Federation and their cronies in politics, particularly in the state of California and the San Francisco elite.”
In 2017, attorneys for CMP filed a motion requesting Orrick’s disqualification “on the grounds that there is evidence of bias in favor of the plaintiff and prejudice against the defendants.”
In an interview at the time with Breitbart News, Peter Breen, special counsel with the Thomas More Society — which represents Daleiden — said the motion was significant and “a very serious matter.”
“Some of the evidence we’ve brought forward is that as recently as September of 2015 … we’ve learned that the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, which is interlinked with a Planned Parenthood affiliate that is a member of the National Abortion Federation [NAF] — that they are holding out Judge Orrick as an emeritus member of their board,” he said.
“The National Abortion Federation – their allegations were there would be harm to their members — and, so, you’ve got an entity that is in partnership with a member that actually hosts one of the NAF members. Now you’ve got the judge being held out by that entity as part of the organization, as connected to it,” Breen added.
Daleiden himself also found that Orrick’s wife had posted photos of herself and her husband on social media, along with public comments that were supportive of Planned Parenthood and critical of CMP.
As Fox News reported, documents that were previously sealed and now revealed, show Planned Parenthood Mar Monte in California charged biomedical company StemExpress nearly $25,000 for aborted fetal tissue and maternal blood samples in 2012.
CMP has claimed Planned Parenthood violated federal law in profiting from the sale of the body parts of babies aborted in its clinics. The abortion chain, however, has attempted to defend itself with the claim it has never made a profit, but has only been reimbursed for the cost of its staff time and the transportation to send the fetal tissue.
According to the report, however, the invoices from August and September 2012 do not mention the word “reimbursement” or describe billing for staff time or transportation.