Planned Parenthood’s retaliatory lawsuit against David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) has been upheld by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The lawsuit accused Daleiden of numerous wrongdoings, including contractual breaches related to violation of non-disclosure agreements, trespassing, and RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) violations.
The California District Court which originally heard the case ruled in Planned Parenthood’s favor, and the appeals process has been lengthy. Judge William Orrick III presided over the case in District Court; he is one of 130 federal judges accused by a Wall Street Journal investigation of violating U.S. law and judicial ethics by overseeing court cases involving companies in which the judges, or their families, owned stock. Judge Orrick founded a Planned Parenthood abortion referral clinic but refused to recuse himself from the case, a point which formed part of the basis for Daleiden’s appeal. However, the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit denied that there was any conflict of interest on Orrick’s part.
The Ninth Circuit relied heavily upon the contentions that “[t]he [CMP undercover] videos did not contain evidence of wrongdoing” and that they were “not related to any alleged crime” to support its ruling against Daleiden’s appeal. However, the videos – which have been independently authenticated by multiple forensic analyses, including one conducted by a firm Planned Parenthood hired – show compelling evidence that Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities are profiting from the sale of aborted fetal body parts, which is a federal crime.
In January of 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the CMP videos provided convincing evidence that Planned Parenthood was engaged in the trafficking of aborted fetal body parts, and it ruled that the state of Texas could use the videos to justify defunding the abortion corporation. The statements by the Ninth Circuit panel that the videos contain no evidence of wrongdoing would seem to contravene the ruling by the Fifth Circuit.
The panel did rule in Daleiden’s favor on one point, overturning the jury’s verdict finding him and other defendants guilty of violating the Federal Wiretap Act. This portion of the verdict accounted for less than $100,000 in damages out of the $2.4 million total judgment. Judge Orrick awarded Planned Parenthood an additional $13 million in fees, being appealed separately.
Daleiden’s attorneys will now appeal this decision to the en banc full panel of judges of the Ninth Circuit. If they do not receive a satisfactory result there, they will take their appeal to the United States Supreme Court.