The Center for Medical Progress and its founder, David Daleiden, are suing Planned Parenthood, former California Attorney General Kamala Harris and current AG Xavier Becerra for prosecuting them for an undercover investigation exposing the abortion industry’s profiting from the sale of baby body parts.
CMP charged the defendants conspired to violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Filed in federal court in Los Angeles, the 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,” the complaint says
The organization explained California’s recording law bans secret videotaping of “confidential” conversations in which third parties cannot be expected to overhear the conversation. The lawsuit argues the attorney general never prosecuted incidents in which California news outlets recorded conversations that could not be overheard by others.
But Daleiden and CMP were targeted even though the recordings were made in public places – often restaurants – in which passersby easily could hear the conversations.
“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 noted. “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, the lead lawyer for Daleiden, said federal civil rights statues 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,” he said.
The complaint contends Harris, when she was AG, targeted Daleiden’s speech along with other state authorities at the behest of abortionists in Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation and StemExpress.
“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,” the organization alleges.
State reports show authorities were instructed by Planned Parenthood’s attorney, Beth Parker, to seize “the computers used to produce the videos.” The abortionists also tried to control how Daleiden could defend himself.
“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,” CMP said.
The videos prompted two investigations in Congress that resulted in dozens of criminal referrals.
“Two of Planned Parenthood’s business partners in Orange County, Calif., 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.”
CMP previously announced a separate lawsuit against one of the abortionists caught in the videos.
It was Savita Ginde, now a former Planned Parenthood abortion business operator, who published a book and made speeches condemning the undercover videos as faked and dubbed.
But a federal court ruled that was not the case.
So the CMP is suing her for defamation.
The complaint was filed in Jefferson County District Court in Golden, Colorado, by the law firm of Andrew Contiguglia of Denver.
The new case seeks damages and declaratory and injunctive relief.