By Charlie Johnston
In the wee morning hours of this Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima, David Daleiden and his lawyers filed suit in the Federal Court in Los Angeles, charging Planned Parenthood (PP), Kamala Harris, and California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra with conspiring to deprive Daleiden of his 1st and 14th Amendment rights because he promoted speech that was officially disfavored by California authorities. Following is the Center for Medical Progress (Daleiden’s organization) press release:
“The Center for Medical Progress and its founder David Daleiden, responsible for the undercover video series exposing top Planned Parenthood leadership negotiating the harvesting and sale of aborted fetal body parts, are suing Planned Parenthood, Kamala Harris, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in Los Angeles federal court for conspiracy to violate First and Fourteenth Amendment civil rights.
The lawsuit states:
“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. David Daleiden became the first journalist ever to be criminally prosecuted under California’s recording law, not because of the method of video recording he utilized in his investigation—which is common in investigative journalism in this state—but because his investigation revealed and he published “shock[ing]” content that California’s Attorney General and the private party co-conspirators wanted to cover up.”
California’s recording law bans secret videotaping of “confidential” conversations where third parties cannot be expected to overhear the conversation. The lawsuit documents many recent examples of undercover video recording by California news outlets, even recording conversations that could not be overheard by others, that the Attorney General never prosecuted.
The California Attorney General admitted in a filing that Daleiden alone among other undercover recorders was being charged for his videos because “those recordings were edited to enhance their shock value” and thus Daleiden was “culpable to a greater extent” than other journalists.
And then during questioning about the elements of the video recording law used for prosecution at the preliminary hearing last year, the California Attorney General declared in open court, “There is no definition of ‘confidential’ in the statute” on video recording. The California recording law in fact defines “confidential communication” at 632(c).
“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,” Daleiden notes. “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.”
Harmeet K. Dhillon, lead counsel on the complaint, states: “Our federal civil rights statutes were enacted in the wake of the darkest periods in our nation’s history. They are well-suited for the current civil rights crisis we face, a time when powerful politicians allow their special interest patrons to custom-order prosecutions that violate fundamental constitutional rights, and do so even with the knowledge that their actions are ultra vires.”
Beginning under the leadership of now-U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, the California Attorney General’s office targeted Daleiden’s speech under the video recording law at the urging of Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and StemExpress, a fetal tissue procurement company with deep ties to the professional abortion industry. While running for 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. Two weeks later, Daleiden’s home was raided by the California Department of Justice.
California DOJ reports reveal that they were instructed by Planned Parenthood’s attorney Beth Parker, a defendant in the lawsuit, to seize “the computers used to produce the videos.” Last year, Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation attempted to intervene in the Attorney General’s prosecution of Daleiden to dictate how he would be allowed to present his defense. The California recording law includes an absolute protection for recordings made for the purpose of gathering evidence of violent crimes, and Planned Parenthood and NAF wanted to block off any evidence or testimony that would reveal criminality in their fetal tissue programs.
The publication of CMP’s undercover videos led to two comprehensive Congressional investigations, one in the Senate Judiciary Committee and one in the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Select Investigative Panel. The two investigations issued dozens of criminal referrals for Planned Parenthood and its business partners for transferring aborted fetal organs and tissues for valuable consideration against the law. In December 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it had opened a federal investigation of Planned Parenthood, StemExpress, and others based on the referrals from Congress. Two of Planned Parenthood’s business partners in Orange County, CA then admitted guilt for selling aborted fetal organs and tissues from Planned Parenthood against the law in a $7.8 million settlement, and the Orange County District Attorney credited CMP’s undercover reporting with prompting the successful case.
The case is 8:20-cv-00891, The Center for Medical Progress and David Daleiden v. Xavier Becerra, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, National Abortion Federation, StemExpress, Kamala Harris, Jill Habig, Beth Parker, et al. in the Central District of California.”
For those legal eagles among our readers who want to see the full complaint, go here.
In the last month, some pro-lifers have been dismayed that San Francisco Federal Judge William Orrick gave a final ruling on the civil case that was tried last fall between Daleiden and PP, which awarded over $2 million to PP and barred Daleiden and colleagues from ever attending a PP conference again. Actually, it is a semi-final ruling, as motions and counter-motions on the final disposition can be filed through next month. It will probably stand as it is now, for Orrick is transparently beholden to PP. The rules he set up for the trial, if applied at Nuremberg, would have freed all the Nazi war criminals and fined the Allies for exposing their crimes. Though the trial was held before a jury, Orrick directed substantial parts of the verdict and gave instructions that forced the jury to either lynch Daleiden or go into open revolt against the judge. In his final ruling, Orrick criticized Daleiden for presenting no evidence during trial of criminal behavior between PP and a stem cell procurement company. Unmentioned in that final ruling is that Daleiden and company WANTED to present such evidence, but Orrick barred them from doing so.
I know many get depressed when they see such outcomes. Understand, though, that while Daleiden certainly hopes for the best while litigation goes on in California, he was never so naive as to expect the best. Much of what is done is done knowing full well that the only real attainable goal is to build the record of appealable issues and shady ethical conduct so as to attain justice AFTER the case gets outside of California.
In the meantime, Daleiden steadily uses PP’s over-aggression to draw it in deeper. When Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, General Mikhail Kutuzov kept luring Napoleon deeper and deeper into the heartland. It looked as if the unconquerable Napoleon was sweeping everything before him. But Kutuzov was using the little general’s hyper-aggression against him. Napoleon entered Russia with 685,000 troops and conquered all until he took Moscow – and then everything fell apart. In his catastrophic retreat, only 10,000 French soldiers survived to return to France. While PP and its allies have piled legal victories up in California, it has been revealed that PP turns over babies who are born alive to “procurement” specialists from companies which buy baby body parts – who then kill those babies by dissecting them alive. That has been admitted under oath. While PP claimed that it only accepted reimbursement for costs involved in procuring baby body parts, documents that were unsealed last month proved that PP has been selling them for profit – which is illegal.
Abortion is the largest long running intentional holocaust in human history. In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln pondered whether God intended that every drop of blood drawn by the slave-owners lash must be repaid by one drawn by the sword in the great civil war America was engulfed in. God help us all if the Lord gives us a similarly devised invoice for every drop of blood drawn by the abortionist’s knife! At the time of Roe V Wade, a person could make an honest case that a fetus was just a “blob of tissue” and not a human being at all. It required a stretch, but it could be done. That collapsed entirely in the early 80’s – which is why PP so frantically adopted the mantra of the “right to choose.” It was necessary to give justification to their business – though the right of any person to choose to arbitrarily execute an innocent human being has only been embraced by the most brutal, murderous regimes.
After four decades of knowing, with scientific certainty, that the fetus is fully human from the moment of conception (though that is a bit of science the left never cites), I have three conflicting emotions when confronted with someone who supports abortion. The first is contempt for them. Though it is so widespread that I do not give public vent to it, anyone who supports abortion now supports the arbitrary murder of innocent human beings for their own convenience. That is contemptible and, in a just world, criminal. The second is sorrow. How could otherwise pleasant persons so deaden their consciences that they, at best, think it a matter of moral indifference whether an innocent is arbitrarily murdered? The final emotion is pity. I am convinced that those who support abortion without repenting of it will be judged by the same judgment they have adopted for the unborn. They will feel, for all eternity, the same agony the baby does in its dying moments. And the real horror of it is that I am also convinced that will be the least of their agonies. So, with all the contempt and sorrow I feel, I pray for them often and passionately, for I do not want anyone to suffer what they casually want little children to suffer.
Daleiden always knew this would be a long, hard road – and is in it for the long haul. Every time PP gets a “victory” more of its depredations are exposed. Even now, the Justice Dept. is actively pursuing them – and these “victories” provide more grist for the prosecutors’ mill. I hear rumblings about women preparing a class-action suit against abortionists lies to them in furtherance of the body parts for profits schemes.
I pray fervently for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. I know, when it comes, abortion will be an inexplicable memory in our collective rearview mirror. In the meantime, I give thanks to God that my friend, David Daleiden, is neither a sunshine soldier nor a reed shaken by the wind.