U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick ruled Tuesday that attorneys Steve Cooley and Brentford Ferreira, who represent David Daleiden of The Center for Medical Progress, violated Orrick’s injunction against releasing any new videos. Judge Orrick is holding them in contempt after links to the videos appeared on the attorneys’ website.
The judge had threatened to hold Daleiden in contempt in May after an undercover video from a National Abortion Federation conference was released. In it, Planned Parenthood executives and abortionists can be seen joking, laughing, and discussing abortion procedures — including performing illegal procedures, such as “intact dilation and extraction,” or partial-birth abortion. There were also discussions about “financial incentives” for the body parts of babies being aborted.
Cooley and Ferreira pointed out that the footage was legally released on their website:
[Calif.] Attorney General Xavier Becerra has entered this footage into the public record by filing a public criminal proceeding based on it. The preliminary injunction obtained by NAF in a federal civil suit cannot bind this State criminal proceeding. (In fact, the SF Superior Court is now releasing certified copies of the court filings to the public with the links to the videos.)
Yet, Orrick still ordered that it be taken down, and the video was swiftly removed from YouTube. Nearly two years ago, in July of 2015, Orrick granted an injunction after the National Abortion Federation (NAF) filed a restraining order to block the release of any videos that were taken at the NAF conference where abortionists, abortion facility owners, and abortion staff congregate. It took mere hours for Orrick to grant the injunction after the National Abortion Federation filed the lawsuit. He then extended the ban, even though journalists frequently use the methods employed by Daleiden and The Center for Medical Progress.
Orrick’s actions have been seen by many First Amendment supporters as an egregious attack on free speech. Even the U.S. Reporters’ Committee filed a “friend of the Court” submission opposing the restraining order.
Nevertheless, Orrick has been steadfast in protecting the abortion industry. The judge is alleged to have a personal bias and close associations with both Planned Parenthood and NAF.
The Center for Medical Progress responded on Facebook before the contempt hearing for Daleiden’s attorneys, alleging baseless persecution and corruption:
Still, Orrick claims that there was “no possible excuse” for the actions of Steve Cooley and Brentford Ferreira. “With respect to the criminal defense counsel, they do not get to decide whether they can violate the preliminary injunction,” he said. Daleiden himself is still facing a possible contempt ruling, and Orrick ruled on Tuesday that Daleiden is liable for costs related to the contempt charges against his attorneys.
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