NEW YORK — Pro-life activist David Daleiden has filed a defamation lawsuit against Planned Parenthood for claiming that the undercover videos he recorded with organizational representatives were part of a “fake smear campaign” against the abortion giant, while reportedly admitting in court that the videos provided the actual words “spoken by those persons.”
Attorneys for Daleiden note in the complaint that when Planned Parenthood sued him over the recorded videos, they themselves never brought defamation claims as the footage was not deceptively edited but provided actual conversations from the encounters.
“In sworn deposition testimony, the Planned Parenthood leadership from the videos repeatedly admitted that the undercover videos recorded their actual statements, and at trial, PPFA agreed to a stipulation that the words used by Planned Parenthood officials on the videos ‘were spoken by those persons,'” the lawsuit states.
However, Planned Parenthood conversely communicated to the media and the public that the videos were misleading, as in September 2019 “PPFA’s Senior Vice President of Communication and Culture Melanie Newman falsely issued a statement to media, published in Rewire News, that Daleiden and CMP ‘manufacture[d] a fake smear campaign against Planned Parenthood.'”
The organization also posted to Twitter that Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress (CMP) “created a false smear campaign against Planned Parenthood.”
“The videos truly and accurately memorialized the statements these representatives made to Daleiden and other CMP investigators during their discussions,” the lawsuit contends.
“Each time Mr. Daleiden and CMP released a new undercover video in the Human Capital Project series, they published the full footage of the conversation with the Planned Parenthood representative, alongside a shorter summary version presenting the most significant parts of the conversation.”
It also points to a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in which the court noted that the Texas Health and Human Service Commission “submitted a report from a forensic firm concluding that the video [recorded in that state] was authentic and not deceptively edited.”
“PPFA has scrupulously avoided challenging the veracity of these videos [in court], perhaps to avoid putting its fetal harvesting practices on trial,” the legal challenge states.
Read the lawsuit in full here. It seeks both an injunction and “actual and punitive damages in an amount exceeding $75,000, including damages necessary to make Plaintiffs whole for the presumptive impairment to their reputation, personal humiliation, mental anguish and suffering; and punitive and exemplary damages, in an amount necessary to punish PPFA for its malicious conduct toward Plaintiffs.”
Press releases from Planned Parenthood in 2015 and 2016 claimed that Daleiden “deceptively edited videos to attack Planned Parenthood, and then hired a fake forensic practice to analyze those videos” and that a report from Fusion GPS rather found that he “edited content out of the alleged ‘full footage’ videos, and heavily edited the short videos so as to misrepresent statements made by Planned Parenthood representatives.”
It is not clear, however, exactly which statements were said to be misrepresented and in what way. Planned Parenthood asserted that “content [was] cut and edited together to make it appear to be a seamless conversation,” and that “[i]n some cases, these splices completely change the meaning of statements.”
The organization also took issue in the 2015 press release that an image of a deceased baby that CMP included in one short summary video was not from Planned Parenthood.
Daleiden, a pro-life activist who appears to be favorable toward homosexuals, tweeted on Thursday, “You admitted the videos were authentic in court. Your leadership admitted they were true under oath. You can’t lie anymore about what you did to the bodies of aborted infants.”
He also noted in a press release, “Two of Planned Parenthood’s business partners in Orange County, CA … admitted guilt for illegally selling aborted tissue from Planned Parenthood in a $7.8 million settlement, and the Orange County District Attorney credited CMP’s undercover reporting with prompting the successful case.”
As previously reported, last November, a jury awarded Planned Parenthood over $2 million after finding that Daleiden and CMP caused “substantial harm” to the organization through the expose’ videos.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) also obtained an injunction preventing Daleiden from releasing any more videos he recorded undercover at the organization’s conferences. One video Daleiden released in defiance of the injunction 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.