Become an informed Catholic. Click here to join the fight.
SAN FRANCISCO (ChurchMilitant.com) - A California judge ruled that the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) — the group whose projects are led by David Daleiden — must pay abortion giant Planned Parenthood what amounts to several million dollars in damages.
A U.S. District Court judge in San Francisco ruled that pro-life defendants who uncovered some of the gruesome activity occurring inside the walls of Planned Parenthood are liable to pay damages in the Planned Parenthood Federation of America v. Center for Medical Progress case. More popularly known as the "baby body parts case," the judge ruled CMP must pay Planned Parenthood over $1.5 million, not including attorney fees, which will likely add millions of dollars more.
According to Courthousenews.com, the jury awarded Planned Parenthood $870,000 in punitive damages. Because that amount was tripled under the federal racketeering law, the award combined with compensatory damages totaled more than $2 million.
Planned Parenthood sought a broad order forbidding Daleiden and his cohort from entering a Planned Parenthood office, health center or conference, or attempting to enter under disguise, as well as preventing them from making any more secret recordings of Planned Parenthood staff. They also sought to extend the order to anyone else who might act in concert with the defendants.
Daleiden and his co-defendants objected, arguing that such an order would obstruct future journalistic efforts.
In November, a federal jury of nine men and one woman found Daleiden and his group guilty of conspiring to commit fraud, breach of contract, trespassing and violating federal and state laws against recording in Maryland, California and Florida.
United States District Judge William Orrick III had told the jury as part of those deliberations to consider only information prior to Daleiden launching his video project, and not anything he learned from the recordings. Top Planned Parenthood witnesses at that trial admitted the organization sold fetal organs on a quid-pro-quo basis, but Orrick blocked the jury from hearing the video conversations.
After six weeks of courtroom testimony, a San Francisco jury took less than two days to decide CMP is guilty of multiple crimes, which include wiretapping, engaging in civil conspiracy and violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Those who were found "joint and severally liable" by the jury included David Daleiden, sting project lead of CMP; Troy Newman, longtime pro-life activist and president of Operation Rescue; Gerardo Adrian Lopez; Sandra Merritt; and Albin Rhomberg. Lawyers from four law firms and four pro-life legal associations represented the five individual defendants, as well as CMP.
Newman, in a recently released statement, said the crimes that Planned Parenthood committed were not in question. "It is no longer in dispute that Planned Parenthood sold aborted baby parts for profit and that our video evidence was authentic. They admitted it during our trial. That was not the problem. I believe when the full truth is finally told — and it wasn't at our trial — we will all be exonerated, and it will be Planned Parenthood that will be held liable for their crimes in a court of law," said Newman. "I look forward to that day."
Daleiden and co-defendant Sandra Merritt posed as human tissue procurers for a fake company they called BioMax Procurement Services as part of a hidden-camera investigation into Planned Parenthood. The pair attended abortion industry conferences from 2013 to 2015, posing as exhibitors named Robert Sarkis and Susan Tennenbaum. There, they secretly recorded conversations that they posted online. Daleiden also made recordings inside clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood in Texas and Colorado.
The groundbreaking videos showed top-level Planned Parenthood executives haggling over prices of aborted baby body parts from preborn children recently killed at their facilities. They also caught them discussing how to alter abortion procedures in order to obtain more intact body organs. The videos sparked public outrage, congressional and senate hearings and an ongoing criminal investigation into Planned Parenthood by the Department of Justice.
Judge Orrick determined that the defendants will also be barred from ever entering any Planned Parenthood conference in the future in the form of an injunction, but narrowed the scope allowing for access to public areas.
There has been no official word at the time of publication if additional legal action will be taken to appeal Orrick's ruling.