Undercover journalist David Daleiden is taking his legal battle against the National Abortion Federation to the Supreme Court, asking for the reversal of lower court rulings that blocked him from airing undercover footage and forced him to pay millions to the abortion industry.
In a press release from the Thomas More Society, which is representing Daleiden, the legal group announced that it had filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court, arguing that the lower courts violated Daleiden’s First Amendment rights.
“The First Amendment prohibits courts from stopping journalists from publishing their work, other than in the most extreme cases, but here, the courts were quick to denigrate David Daleiden’s videos and speech and to silence him on an issue of supreme public importance,” Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President and Head of Litigation, said. “The American people have a right to all of the relevant information on an issue, not just what certain judges think they should see and hear. These are not private videos — they’re videos of an 800-person abortion trade show that Mr. Daleiden was invited to attend. David Daleiden is one of the most notable undercover journalists of our time, reporting on one of the most contentious political issues of our day. If the high-profile work of someone of David’s stature can be banned, no undercover journalist is safe from the risk of ruinous financial sanctions and never-ending lawsuits. The Supreme Court must step in to save undercover journalism.”
The U.S. Reporters’ Committee filed a ‘friend of the Court’ submission opposing the restraining order on Daleiden’s footage. The methods used by Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress are frequently used by journalists, including pro-abortion journalists, which is why they have supported Daleiden’s fight against the abortion industry and its supporters in the court system.
Daleiden was sued by the National Abortion Federation (NAF) in 2015, seeking to block his undercover footage. A permanent injunction was placed against the release of any of the over 500 hours of recordings at NAF conferences, and Daleiden was forced to pay $6 million in attorney’s fees and costs. He is also still facing criminal charges, filed against him by then-California Attorneys General Kamala Harris and Xavier Becerra, at the urging of NAF and Planned Parenthood. The current injunction means that Daleiden cannot use his footage in the case against him, and the petition filed with the Supreme Court asks that he be able to freely use that footage in his defense.
“The American people deserve to see and hear what the abortion providers of this country are willing to say and do to skirt and even violate the law. We are asking the high court to rectify this situation, restore respect for the First Amendment, and vindicate David Daleiden. This is necessary to hold bad actors like the National Abortion Federation to account,” Breen said. “The court’s injunction unconstitutionally restricts David Daleiden’s defense against California’s prejudicial criminal charges against him — charges that are based on the video recordings.”
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