The Planned Parenthood v. The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) civil case continued on Tuesday with CMP’s undercover team member Adrian Lopez and former CMP board member Albin Rhomberg taking the stand. The defense, however, has been prohibited by Judge William Orrick III from showing in court the videotaped conversations that the entire case centers around. Planned Parenthood, however, was allowed to play recordings of undercover conversations during its questioning.
“At Planned Parenthood’s request, Judge Orrick refused to allow the Defense to show the jury the exact video conversations that Planned Parenthood is suing for,” said CMP in a blog post. “It is the jury’s job to assess whether the conversations are ‘private’ or ‘confidential’ under applicable state law-yet Planned Parenthood and Judge Orrick are barring the actual recordings of these conversations from the courtroom.”
BREAKING: major due process violations in trial vs @PPFA as PP convinces Judge Orrick to BAN us from showing the jury the exact video conversations that PP is suing for!
— David Daleiden (@daviddaleiden) October 8, 2019
According to Pro-life San Francisco’s Terrisa Bukovinac, when Lopez, who was employed at Starbucks in 2011 when he met CMP founder David Daleiden, took the stand, Planned Parenthood attorney Amy Bosme implied that Lopez didn’t understand “the substance of the videos” he was asked to transcribe. Lopez proved that he did, but indicated that at first, he wasn’t fully aware of the topics of conversation being recorded. He then saw the video of the undercover investigators’ lunch with Dr. Deborah Nucatola, then the Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood. He said that video proved to him there was a “profit motive” for Planned Parenthood to traffic fetal body parts. In the video, Nucatola stated she altered abortion procedures in order to ensure certain body parts were available to sell.
“At this point, Orrick reminded the jury that their job is not to determine ‘the truth’… but to determine if CMP and Daleiden are at fault for damages,” Pro-life San Francisco’s Terrisa Bukovinac told Live Action News. Planned Parenthood is suing for $16 million to cover the cost of security upgrades they claim were necessary after the CMP videos were published.
Lopez testified that as part of his work with CMP, he looked at scientific studies from PubMed and other sources that had used fetal body parts for experiments. Lopez also said he watched a video featuring Advanced Bioscience Resources in which people described preborn children as falling out of the birth canal. But it was the online body parts order form from StemExpress that was the final straw — and Judge Orrick refused to allow that order form to be shown to the jury.
“You go in there and it’s basically a custom order for fetal tissue. You put – there is a drop-down menu for gestational age. There is a drop-down menu for what type of tissues you want, quantities and so forth […] When I saw that there was a website where you can order it, I think that just – that kind of did it for me,” he said. “I guess what I saw was a market. A market for these types of tissues, and when Dr. Nucatola seemed to talk about changing things, that sealed the deal for me. It told me I needed to go undercover.”
When asked if “the point” for going undercover “was to show people there were entities that were selling fetal tissue,” Lopez responded, “Yes.” He also stated that he didn’t see the National Abortion Federation confidentiality contract as enforceable because there was reason to believe a felony was being committed.
Bomse then asked Lopez if Holly O’Donnell’s whistleblower video helped him decide to go undercover and he replied “yes.” O’Donnell, a former procurement technician for StemExpress, spoke about witnessing an aborted child’s heart begin to beat while being harvested for organs. Lopez denied having a political agenda and said he does not consider himself to be pro-life.
Since defense attorney Paul Jonna was unable to play the actual footage of the conversations in question, he asked Lopez to describe the setting at the National Abortion Federation conference where CMP went undercover. “Lopez explained how the attendees spoke very freely in the exhibit hall and outdoor bar areas, adding ‘they were visibly drunk and loud about it,’ which got some laughs from the court gallery,” said Bukovinac.
When Jonna then tried to question Lopez regarding the StemExpress bonus structure for different types of fetal body parts, Bomse stood up. “Sustained,” said Orrick. “The objection that Ms. Bosme was about to make by standing up is sustained.”
CMP noted: “Bomse never made an objection — all she did was stand up.” Orrick has a major conflict of interest with this case since he is connected to Planned Parenthood and helped open a Planned Parenthood facility.
When Rhomberg took the stand, he said his understanding of the CMP undercover investigation was that Daleiden and his team would be picking up where the 20/20 investigation left off. When asked by the Planned Parenthood attorney if he knew that Daleiden planned to “infiltrate” conferences, he said that he would call the use of the word “infiltrate” a “propagandistic” term, saying that it is possible that members of the National Abortion Federation’s security team at the event simply “waved” Daleiden in.
CourtHouseNews reported that Rhomberg said Planned Parenthood’s concerns about security risks they claim were created by the CMP undercover videos are “exaggerated to make them appear as victims.”
While the plaintiff’s attorney questioned Rhomberg about his responsibilities as a CMP board member, she showed an email that Daleiden sent to Rhomberg after the now-famous lunch with Nucatola which shockingly stated, “Planned Parenthood National knows the potential for illegal activity but has a don’t ask, don’t tell policy.” It’s important to note that Planned Parenthood is not suing CMP for defamation, which is telling.
Planned Parenthood is seeking $16 million in their 15-count civil suit against CMP — including defendants David Daleiden, Sandra Merritt, Albin Rhomberg, and Troy Newman. Planned Parenthood argues that CMP must pay for security upgrades the abortion corporation made after the videos exposed their part in the sale of aborted baby body parts. The trial is expected to last until at least November 8, 2019, if not longer.
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