David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress filed a lawsuit on the 13th of this month against those in California who prosecuted him for exposing Planned Parenthood’s illegal sale of aborted baby parts.
The lawsuit is filed against some of California’s most prominent politicians, including United States Senator Kamala Harris, who was also a high profile candidate for the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primaries. Additionally the lawsuit is suing state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with Planned Parenthood for allegedly conspiring to violate Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress’ First and Fourteenth Amendment civil rights.
“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 said.
The lawsuit states that Harris, as former attorney general and current Attorney General Becerra manipulated state video-recording laws as a “political weapon” to silence the free speech rights of people like David Daleiden, whom they disagreed with.
On March 28th, 2017 David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, undercover journalists from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) were slapped by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra with 15 felony charges for their videos exposing Planned Parenthood as an organization with questionable and potentially criminal activity.
Daleiden and Sandra Merritt are still facing the felony charges, which would lead to possible jail time and fines if convicted.
By Becerra’s logic, any undercover journalism would be in danger in California and very likely met with charges. But evidently, the reality is that charges happen when the undercover journalists are investigating abortion chains.
It would appear, Becerra is fine with undercover investigative journalism, as long as it doesn’t expose potentially criminal activity on the part of Planned Parenthood and fetal tissue providers. Becerra’s hypocrisy is evidenced in the lack of conviction of two animal rights organizations, Mercy for Animals and Compassion Over Killing (COK), who exercised undercover journalism tactics similar to that of the CMP in order to expose animal cruelty in California.
If Becerra really believes what the journalists from the Center for Medical Progress did to be such a violation of privacy, why weren’t organizations such as COK and Mercy for Animals held to the same standard? Could it be that the California justice system embodied by Becerra has created a double standard? It is clearly unfair to prosecute organizations or person(s) differently based upon one’s personal feelings on the issue exposed by the undercover journalists. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is unethically stabbing the CMP investigators in an attempt to delegitimize the outrageous activity and human rights atrocities committed by Planned Parenthood.
Daleiden is the first journalist to ever be criminally prosecuted under the state recording. According to Daleident’s lawsuit against Harris and Becerra, Daleiden “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.”
Lead attorney Harmeet K. Dillon is representing Daleiden in the lawsuit.
“Our federal civil rights statutes were enacted in the wake of the darkest periods in our nation’s history,” she said. “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.”
The undercover investigative journalism videos released by the Center for Medical progress – released in the summer of 2015 – sent shockwaves throughout the world.
The videos feature high-ranking Planned Parenthood employees haggling over prices for fetal specimens as well as describing altering abortion procedures to obtain more intact fetal body parts for tissue procurement agencies. At a business lunch meeting with CMP investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, remarked over wine and salad: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.” In another video, Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Mary Gatter haggled with undercover investigators over the price per fetal specimen, insisting, “You know in negotiations the person who throws out the figure first is at a loss, right?” and laughing, “I want a Lamborghini.”
The first video, featuring Dr. Nucatola, received over 1 million views on YouTube in the 24 hours after it was posted. Two days later, PPFA president and CEO Cecile Richards posted her own video apologizing for Nucatola’s “tone and statements,” and claiming the fetal body parts were used for “life-saving” research. Over a year later, none of Planned Parenthood’s representatives have come forward to either correct or disavow their remarks, and Planned Parenthood has repeatedly claimed that the videos (all available in full footage here) were “deceptively edited” or “faked” — a claim which was disproven by two independent forensic analyses. It is unclear whether Planned Parenthood has allowed the videotaped representatives to continue to work in their same leadership capacities.
Records show that Xavier Becerra and Kamala Harris both received donations from Planned Parenthood for their political campaigns. And last month, Attorney General Xavier Becerra urged the Trump administration to allow fetal tissue research, claiming that it could help find a cure for COVID-19.