David Daleiden is fighting to release the most "damning and incriminating footage" documenting the organ harvesting trade in the abortion industry, as his attorneys filed motions to lift a gag order.
Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, said he has 12 more undercover videos showing senior Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers candidly discussing how they make money from harvesting organs of aborted babies. He began releasing a series of videos showing similar conversations with senior Planned Parenthood officials in 2015, sparking outrage and several state and federal investigations into the trade, but he also faced fierce backlash from the abortion industry. The National Abortion Federation (NAF), which hosted a pair of conferences that Daleiden attended while posing as an organ procurer, filed a federal lawsuit and was granted a court order blocking the release of additional footage.
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Daleiden is moving to have the suit tossed so the nonprofit watchdog group can publish its remaining material, which "includes some of the most damning and incriminating footage we ever recorded." He said the group strategically decided to hold back on some of its more explosive material because he wanted to take a "methodical, step-by-step" approach to educating the public given the relative obscurity of organ harvesting in the United States. The earlier videos were meant to set the stage for the footage taken at NAF conferences in 2014 and 2015.
"We're pressing for the entire thing to be dismissed," he said in a telephone conference with reporters. "You could expect a solid dozen more videos really in the same vein as the original undercover [material].… This gag order should be dissolved in October, and we should be able to release the tapes at that time."
NAF originally filed an 11-part complaint against Daleiden, but it has since dropped 7 of the claims. Charles S. LiMandri, an attorney with the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, said NAF's other four complaints should also be tossed, adding that they amounted to "a large party trying to stifle the speech of a smaller party." His colleague Paul Jonna called the remaining counts "an illegal restraint on trade."
Neither NAF nor Planned Parenthood returned requests for comment.
Daleiden has already run afoul of the gag order once before. In August 2017 he and his lawyers were found in contempt and fined $200,000 for releasing a video that showed a Planned Parenthood executive tell NAF attendees that abortion is "killing." The video was later deleted by YouTube and other video-sharing sites. Daleiden has been fighting against the gag order and demanded the recusal of Obama appointee Judge William Orrick, who held a leadership position on a nonprofit that hosts a Planned Parenthood clinic. The Supreme Court declined to review the gag order in April.
Daleiden is confident the most recent round of motions will be successful. The withdrawal of the majority of NAF's claims, he said, undermine the legal basis for the the gag order and contempt charges.
"The facts on the ground [have] changed so completely and so significantly … that the original justifications for that gag order don't stand," Daleiden said.
Daleiden also faces criminal charges from the state of California over his recordings and the use of fake names on credentials. The charges followed an investigation launched by former attorney general and current senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and completed by her Democratic successor as attorney general, Xavier Becerra—both received tens of thousands of dollars from abortion groups during their political careers. Daleiden attorney Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society said he is confident that case will be dismissed, just as a Texas judge did to similar charges in 2016.
"This is the first and only time in history a California attorney general has prosecuted an undercover journalist for taping," he said.
Daleiden's motions are scheduled for an October district court hearing.