Judge Finds David Daleiden in Contempt for Releasing Undercover Abortion Convention Video Despite Court Order

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — A federal judge has found pro-life activist David Daleiden, who is known for his undercover investigation into Planned Parenthood’s provision of aborted baby body parts to biomedical companies, to be in contempt for releasing video footage from the National Abortion Federation’s annual conventions despite a court order.

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick ruled that Daleiden violated the court’s February 2016 injunction when he released in May a preview of footage recorded at the 2014 and 2015 National Abortion Federation Convention.

The videos featured clips of various Planned Parenthood officials and other abortion advocates making nonchalant statements about the abortion process, including that the baby’s eyeballs fell into their lap or that they had to tear off a leg to avoid technically performing a partial-birth abortion.

The recordings were quickly removed by YouTube shortly after their publication.

Last week, Orrick also found Daleiden’s attorneys, Steve Cooley and Brentford Ferreira, in contempt as well. According to reports, the men believed the videos needed to be released after California Attorney General Xavier Becerra charged Daleiden with 14 counts of covertly recording confidential conversations and one count of conspiracy to invade privacy.

San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite dismissed the 14 counts last month, but granted Becerra permission to refile with specificity as to which videos serve as the basis of the criminal charges.

Cooley and Ferreira have contended that the discussions were not confidential as there was no expectation of privacy, and believe that the recent release of the convention footage was a part of Daleiden’s defense since it involved his criminal case.

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Orrick opined on July 11 that doing so was really “a fig leaf to cover their plan to violate the [court order] … to score a win in the court of public opinion.”

“Criminal defense counsel … do not get to decide whether they can violate the preliminary injunction,” he said.

He ordered Daleiden to turn over all recorded footage from the conventions to his attorneys’ custody—solely for defense purposes, and according to the San Francisco Gate, the Federation must also be paid security costs (for disclosing identities through the videos) and attorneys fees, which amount to at least $140,000 thus far.

“Daleiden used his criminal attorneys to circumvent our court order,” National Abortion Federation President Vicki Saporta said in in a statement. “This egregious and disturbing violation of our preliminary injunction cannot stand, and we are pleased that Daleiden and his co-conspirators will be held accountable for their actions.”

However, the Thomas More Society, which has been assisting financially with the legal battle, believes that the videos are an important part of the criminal trial.

“The pendency of simultaneous federal civil cases proceeding side-by-side with such a major state criminal prosecution of multiple felonies was bound to breed the most serious and grave complications, not to mention the miscarriage of justice,” said President Thomas Brecha.

“Must the pro-lifers’ criminal defense lawyers seek prior federal permission before summoning or cross-examining prosecution witnesses, or introducing videos or other documentary evidence into the trial record? Must the state court judge, Hon. Christopher Hite, consult with the federal judge, Hon. William Orrick, before ruling on objections to evidence?” he asked.

As previously reported, the National Abortion Federation had sued Daleiden in July 2015 to stop his recorded footage from being made public, claiming that it could jeopardize the safety of its members. Orrick issued a preliminary injunction in February 2016 banning Daleiden from releasing any videos recorded at the National Abortion Federation’s annual conventions.

Orrick’s wife has reportedly posted statements online that are favorable to Planned Parenthood, and Orrick had previously served on the board of an organization that permitted a Planned Parenthood facility to operate on its property.

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  • FoJC

    A convention, and they expected privacy? I don’t have privacy in my own home, on my own computer in my home.

    This has to be one of the most ludicrous and unjust trials in America. Defending those who admittedly murder babies, bend the law, and treat human life with complete contempt and disregard is an absurdity that can only be found in a country filled with wickedness.

    Build a wall, but don’t stop the medical profession from murdering hundreds of thousands of human being each year. Lunacy, to say the least.

    Judgement is coming.

  • Robert

    Evil does not like light being shinned on it..

  • Kevin Carr

    This is no different that what major networks investigative journalist do.

  • Guest✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    And while James White is playing around with jihadist imams, this brave soul. is making a difference in the world.

  • FoJC

    Nothing wrong with being in contempt of a court/justice system that declares baby murder a right.

    Judgement is coming.

    • moma

      I would be in contempt of that court also. We need to clean not only DC but the court systems.

      • jimmy johnson

        That’s a fact!!!

  • michael louwe

    A likely example of conservative Christians being persecuted/prosecuted by the powerful US government. In this case, it is the liberal Blue State govt of California. The other example is the UK Christian florist being prosecuted for refusing to provide service to a homosexual wedding.
    ……. Christians have been advised not to retaliate and instead “bless” their powerful persecutors, as per ROMANS.12:19-21. The “coals of fire” on their heads refers to Armageddon or Dooms Day when Jesus Christ returns to earth to exact vengeance against the unbelievers and liberals/progressives.
    ……. This advice is not about “loving your enemy” which has never been part of God’s Law(= love your neighbour/friend as yourself and hate your enemy). A very powerful enemy has to dealt with differently by Christians, eg the Archangel Michael did not dare to rebuke Satan, ie such vengeance belongs to God.

  • NCOriolesFan

    Anything to prolong the waste of tax dollars for personal gain, whatever that is from the judge.

  • MIKE6080

    what happened to eric holder when he was held in contempt of congress , what about lois lerhner they are still drawing pensions and nothing happened to them