Pro-Life hero David Daleiden’s attorneys have come up with a new strategy for overturning a civil judgements against him and his associates, after he exposed Planned Parenthood’s baby parts business. Liberty Counsel, along with the Thomas More Society, LiMandri & Jonna, Dhillion Law Group, the American Center for Law & Justice, and the Life Legal Defense Foundation, submitted a request to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down a law that violates Californians’ First Amendment rights.
The groups are seeking a declaration that California’s recording law is unconstitutional, as the court did with a similar Oregon law. Additionally, they aim to reverse the district court’s judgment in the civil cases involving Sandra Merritt, David Daleiden, the Center for Medical Progress, Troy Newman, and Albin Rhomberg.
David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, and fellow CMP journalist Sandra Merritt, conducted a 30-month undercover investigation that exposed Planned Parenthood and other organ procurement companies’ practices related to aborted baby body parts in 2015.
Daleiden released videos revealing that certain Planned Parenthood-affiliated executives engaged in discussions over pricing for aborted baby body parts and altering abortion procedures to obtain more intact organs.
In response, Planned Parenthood targeted Daleiden and Merritt, attempting to impose heavy fines, while simultaneously spreading misinformation that the videos by CMP were “heavily edited,” despite the fact the videos were proven authentic by an independent forensic team.
In May of 2020, Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress filed a lawsuit against Attorney Xavier Becerra and other prominent politicians in California who prosecuted them for exposing Planned Parenthood’s illegal sale of aborted baby parts. The lawsuit also names Planned Parenthood and Kamala Harris for allegedly conspiring to violate Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress’ First and Fourteenth Amendment civil rights.
In October 2022, a three-member panel of the Ninth Circuit rendered a decision against Merritt and Daleiden, citing numerous errors by the trial court. According to the Liberty Council, this included an award of “damages” to Planned Parenthood for legally recorded conversations, even though the jury was not allowed to hear those conversations, and without requiring Planned Parenthood to demonstrate that conversations recorded in public places were, in fact, “confidential.”
However, in the recent case of Project Veritas v. Schmidt, the Ninth Circuit determined that Oregon’s prohibition on covertly recording conversations constitutes a content-based limitation that infringes upon the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. Consequently, this ruling rendered the ban invalid. The three-judge panel overturned the district court’s dismissal of a complaint, which challenged Section 165.540(1)(c) of the Oregon Revised Code as an unconstitutional constraint on protected speech. This particular section generally forbids unannounced recordings of conversations, with certain exceptions. California’s existing recording law closely mirrors the law in Oregon that was deemed unconstitutional.
Liberty Counsel Founder Mat Staver commented, “The recent decision in Project Veritas justifies reversing the previous unconstitutional judgment against Sandra Merritt and others arising from California’s recording law. Since much of the civil trial was premised on the so-called ‘illegal recording,’ a new trial is warranted for the remaining claims. This case is not over.”
Daleiden and Merritt have been wrongfully punished under an unconstitutional law. Hopefully, Liberty Counsel is successful in restoring justice to this case and allowing others to expose grave injustices such as Planned Parenthood’s abhorrent scheme.