Court resumed Tuesday for day 11 of the Planned Parenthood v. The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) civil trial in San Francisco with CMP lead investigator David Daleiden retaking the stand. In a surprising move, Judge William Orrick III said he would allow both the plaintiffs and the defense to play the video of an ABC News 20/20 fetal body parts trafficking undercover investigation first published in 2000. That investigation was the catalyst for Daleiden’s undercover work.
Terrisa Bukovinac, founder and executive director of Pro-Life San Francisco, told Live Action News that it was during the last few minutes of the day on Tuesday when defense attorney Charles LiMandri played that video after asking Daleiden why he began the investigation.
“Daleiden turned to the jury and said he wanted to expose illegal fetal trafficking. ‘This issue first came across my radar in 2010.’ He mentioned reading the transcript of a Congressional hearing from the year 2000 that concerned a suspicious tissue procurement company who was partnered with a Kansas Planned Parenthood affiliate. ‘I learned ABC did their own exposé,’ he said, referencing a 20/20 investigative report mentioned in the transcript,” explained Bukovinac.
LiMandri then asked the court to play the video for the jury. In the 20/20 report, hidden cameras were used by ABC journalists to record a conversation with Dr. Miles Jones, who operated a fetal tissue procurement company called Opening Lines. In the video, Jones can be heard talking about receiving dollar amounts well above the actual cost of tissue procurement. He said prices for fetal body parts were being subjected to market forces and said he wanted to open a low-cost abortion facility in Mexico in order to maximize his potential fetal body part trafficking profits.
After watching the video, the jury was excused for the day. “They were left with a lot to think about,” noted Bukovinac.
At the start of the day, before the jury entered the room, the attorneys for Planned Parenthood asked Orrick about playing a StemExpress video clip as evidence. The defense argued that the video had nothing to do with the trial since it doesn’t involve Planned Parenthood staff. Planned Parenthood attorneys, however, said that they think there are brief comments in the StemExpress video that are relevant to showing CMP’s strategy. Defense attorneys argued that if any clip from the StemExpress video is shown in court, it would be prejudicial unless other clips from the video are allowed to be shown. Orrick agreed and told Planned Parenthood attorneys that they are allowed to show the clips, but that would leave the door open for the defense to show even more.
After the jury was brought in, attorney for Planned Parenthood, Ronda Trotter, questioned Daleiden about the infamous lunch with former Planned Parenthood medical director Deborah Nucatola. Those who have seen the video will likely remember her eating salad while discussing requests for specific organs and how she decides which parts of the bodies to crush or not crush based on those requests.
Trotter mentioned an email that Daleiden wrote to fellow CMP investigator Albin Rhomberg in which he wrote of Nucatola: “She bought it all hook, line and sinker.” Trotter wanted to know what Daleiden meant by this. He explained that Nucatola, who was impeached on the stand last week, accepted the business plan proposal he had given her during lunch. He described the proposal as “a business model that was contrary to the federal law on fetal tissue transfers.” In that same email, Daleiden also noted that Planned Parenthood’s national office knew what they were doing was illegal, but has a “don’t ask, don’t tell policy going so far as to keep nothing in writing about fetal tissue transfers.” He also wrote, “If anything were to happen, affiliates would take the fall.”
Trotter asked him if he thought he was attempting to uncover crimes or that he was creating propaganda. He stated that it was not propaganda and that the primary goal of the CMP Human Capital Project, as they called it, was to gather and document true information about the abortion industry. Trotter asked him why he kept cameras on.
“The practice of keeping the cameras running… dates back to my time at Live Action,” he said. He explained further that turning the cameras on and off would create issues but leaving the cameras on the entire time, even for non-abortion related conversations, created a “forensically complete video record.”
As for the notion that Daleiden and his team taped confidential conversations, he testified that he didn’t believe the National Abortion Federation’s (NAF) conference seminar rooms were private areas. He said they are “classified as public accommodations areas” and NAF “had very little control over who could access those areas.”
Trotter has unsuccessfully attempted to “catch” Daleiden in her questioning by misrepresentating emails, videos, and other bits of evidence.
— CMP (@CtrMedProgress) October 22, 2019
Daleiden also testified that he had to briefly show his mock ID to receive conference badges which he paid for and also said that certain areas of the conferences were not sufficiently guarded from the public, which lowers the expectation of privacy. “The barrier was somewhat permeable,” he explained. He also said that he never signed a confidentiality agreement at the 2015 NAF conference in Baltimore.
Trotter asked Daleiden if he would agree that “finding evidence [of fetal body part trafficking] at these conferences was like finding a needle in a haystack.” He replied that he disagreed with that saying, “No. … There were a lot of admissions.” Trotter then played a clip of Daleiden and CMP’s Adrian Lopez in which one of them says, “It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack.” According to Bukovinac, Daleiden then pointed out that the quote was taken out of context, saying that if the clip were played in full, you would hear that they were talking about the difficulties they were having in locating Dr. Laura Dalton, chief medical director of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, at the conference.
Daleiden was also questioned about random individuals who had crossed the path of the CMP cameras, and he said, “In my judgment, all of the conversations and interactions…. are potentially relevant.” Trotter asked if he was “aware there are abortion providers that do not engage in tissue procurement,” and Daleiden answered, “We wouldn’t know which are which.” CMP taped everything that occurred in order to get an “accurate representation” of what was happening at the conferences and meetings.
Throughout the day, Daleiden also testified that there were CMP donors who were against undercover journalism tactics and that undercover actors were given expensive training.
Trotter also questioned Daleiden about his stance on abortion. He said, “Legalized, induced abortion creates a license for medical professionals to kill unborn children, and I’m not okay with that.”
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