Pro-Lifers Will Fight Multi-Million-Dollar Award to Planned Parenthood
Written by Dave Bohon
Attorneys for David Daleiden (shown) and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) vowed to fight the “unfair” verdict against the undercover investigator and his pro-life group for exposing the harvesting and sale of body parts from aborted babies by Planned Parenthood doctors and personnel.
On November 15, after hearing six weeks of testimony in the civil suit filed by Planned Parenthood, a jury of nine men and one woman took just two hours to render judgment against Daleiden and others defendants in the case.
U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick, who reportedly has ties to Planned Parenthood, had already determined the guilt of Daleiden and his fellow defendants for trespassing
“when they attended, undercover, Planned Parenthood conferences in Miami and Orlando and met with Planned Parenthood executives at Planned Parenthood facilities in Colorado and Texas,”
as detailed in a report by the Archdiocese of San Francisco. According to that report, Orrick
“instructed the jury to only concern themselves with the damages that the defendants are liable for in that trespass, both punitive and actual.”
Additionally, according to the Archdiocese report, Orrick instructed the jury that the
“defendants breached contracts with Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation and the jury should award damages because of those breaches.”
According to the Thomas More Society, which represented Daleiden and CMP in the case, the jury awarded Planned Parenthood over $2 million in punitive and compensatory damages, along with attorneys’ fees, with that amount to be paid by Daleiden and CMP; Sandra Merritt, one of the undercover investigators; and CMP board members Albin Rhomberg and Troy Newman.
Immediately following the verdict, attorneys for the defendants called the judgment unfair and said they would appeal.
“This lawsuit is payback for David Daleiden exposing Planned Parenthood’s dirty business of buying and selling fetal parts and organs,”
Thomas More Society attorney Peter Breen told reporters.
“We intend to seek vindication for David on appeal. His investigation into criminal activity by America’s largest abortion provider utilized standard investigative journalism techniques, those applied regularly by news outlets across the country.”
Breen said that the undercover investigation of Daleiden and CMP
“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. I am fully confident that when this case has run its course, justice will prevail, and David will be vindicated.”
Alexandra Snyder of Life Legal Defense Foundation, which was also involved in defending the pro-life activists, said that her group was appalled by the verdict.
“It is as though the jury completely disregarded every piece of evidence we produced,”
Snyder said of the case.
“Not only does Planned Parenthood engage in illegal and morally repugnant practices, but its agents never bothered to tell the defendants that the conversations about things like ‘crushing above and crushing below’ to get more desirable and salable body parts were confidential.”
Snyder said that her group would join in appealing
“this unjust result and fight to protect the First Amendment rights of investigative journalists to show us what happens behind the veil of powerful corporations like Planned Parenthood, who has relied on a shroud of secrecy to build its multi-billion-dollar abortion empire.”
In a press release after the verdict, Daleiden and CMP decried the lack of justice in the case thus far, noting that
“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 influencing the jury with pre-determined rulings and by suppressing video evidence, all in order to rubber-stamp Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit attack on the First Amendment. This is a dangerous precedent for citizen journalism and First Amendment civil rights across the country, sending a message that speaking truth and facts criticizing the powerful is no longer protected by our institutions.”
Tom Brejcha, chief counsel for the Thomas More Society, warned that the implications of the outrageous verdict go far beyond
“exposing the evils of the abortion industry. This case puts the constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech on trial. It tests the sacred tenet of freedom of the press. Planned Parenthood decided that it was above the law. Planned Parenthood was wrong, and I am confident that we will win on appeal.”
In addition to the unfavorable civil verdict, the CMP’s David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt also face over a dozen felony counts under California law for secretly taping conversations with the Planned Parenthood personnel. Judge Christopher Hite of the San Francisco Superior Court is expected to rule if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a trial.
Courtesy of The New American