The undercover videomaker who exposed the activities of Planned Parenthood in the trafficking of the body parts of aborted babies has filed a lawsuit against the abortion business as well as the former and current attorneys general of the state of California.
David Daleiden (pictured), founder of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Planned Parenthood, the former and current California Attorneys General, Kamala Harris and Xavier Becerra, respectively, the National Abortion Federation, and others.
The complaint states the plaintiffs seek “justice for a brazen, unprecedented, and ongoing conspiracy to selectively use California’s video recording laws as a political weapon to silence disfavored speech.”
🚨 "This complaint seeks justice for a brazen, unprecedented, and ongoing conspiracy to selectively use California’s video recording laws as a political weapon to silence disfavored speech." ⚖️🏛🇺🇸https://t.co/818R6eNsyo#PPSellsBabyParts #1A #ReleaseTheVideos
— CMP (@CtrMedProgress) May 13, 2020
A press release by CMP Wednesday also said the complaint noted Daleiden was the first journalist to be prosecuted under the state’s new law “not because of the method of video recording he utilized in his investigation—which is common in investigative journalism in this state,” but, instead, because his investigation revealed content California officials wished to cover up.
In a statement, Daleiden observed:
The California Attorney General first admitted that they are enforcing the video recording law solely based on how they feel about the message being published, and then further admitted they are not even trying to follow the text of the law as written. CMP’s undercover reporting has been corroborated by the successful prosecution of fetal body parts sales we reported in southern California, multiple Congressional investigations, and forensic video analysis. It is every reporter’s First Amendment right to underscore the gravity of their findings, especially when the politically powerful disagree with them.
The state’s recording law prohibits secret videotaping of what is described as “confidential” conversations, but the lawsuit provides examples of other news media in California using undercover recordings to reveal findings which the attorney general’s office never prosecuted.
At issue is the relationship between Planned Parenthood and California’s elite officials.
Former Attorney General Harris had received thousands of dollars in contributions from Planned Parenthood for her re-election campaign – and then her Senate campaign.
A pro-abortion rights column by Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times criticized Harris in 2016 for dragging her feet on bringing Daleiden to justice for his series of videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s involvement in fetal tissue trafficking.
CMP also reported that, while a candidate for the U.S. Senate, “Harris had a secret in-person meeting with Planned Parenthood executives in Los Angeles, including witnesses in her investigation, to discuss issues in the investigation as part of Planned Parenthood’s political agenda in California.”
Subsequently, Harris’s office seized Daleiden’s personal property.
Following the raid on his apartment, the journalist released the following statement:
Today, the California Attorney General’s office of Kamala Harris, who was elected with tens of thousands of dollars from taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood, seized all video footage showing Planned Parenthood’s criminal trade in aborted baby parts, in addition to my personal information. Ironically, while seizing my First Amendment work product, they ignored documents showing the illicit scheme between StemExpress and Planned Parenthood. This is no surprise–Planned Parenthood’s bought-and-paid-for AG has steadfastly refused to enforce the law against the baby body parts traffickers in our state, or even investigate them–while at the same time doing their bidding to harass and intimidate citizen journalists. We will pursue all remedies to vindicate our First Amendment rights.
In September 2016, emails obtained by the Washington Times showed that Harris’s office collaborated with Planned Parenthood to produce legislation that 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 would criminalize undercover journalists for publishing and distributing recordings of private communications with abortion providers.
According to the Times:
The documents are another indication of Ms. Harris‘ close relationship with Planned Parenthood and call into question the impartiality of her ongoing investigation of Mr. Daleiden, legal experts said.
The emails show Beth Parker, chief legal counsel for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, sending multiple drafts of AB 1671 to Jill Habig, who was at the time special counsel to the attorney general.
Parker and Habig and both named as defendants in the CMP lawsuit as well.
The Times continued with the exchange between Parker and Habig:
“Attached is the language for AB 1671, proposed amendments to Penal Code section 632,” Ms. Parker wrote in an email marked March 8. “I look forward to your thoughts about this.”
Ms. Parker sent a revised draft of the legislation to Ms. Habig on March 16. “Here’s the rewrite of the video tape bill,” she wrote. “Let me know what you think.”
Habig later became deputy manager of Harris’s U.S. Senate campaign, the website of which featured a petition asking voters to support and protect Planned Parenthood’s federal funding.
Former Los Angeles district attorney Steve Cooley – who later represented Daleiden – referred to Harris’ level of involvement in the Planned Parenthood legislation to punish undercover journalists as “extraordinary.”
“It is common to work on legislation pending before the California state legislature — the attorney general’s office does occasionally weigh in,” Cooley said, according to the Times. “It is extraordinary to collaborate with a particular entity on what is clearly legislation of specific benefit to them.”
In 2017, after Harris had been elected to the U.S. Senate, the office of new California Attorney General Becerra made clear it would be following in Harris’s footsteps.
Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt were ultimately accused of 14 felonies related to having recorded individuals in the abortion and fetal tissue industries without their consent.
Becerra, according to the Los Angeles Times, touted his office “will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”
“The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society,” he added.