The man behind the investigation into the abortion industry's organ harvesting operations credited undercover journalists from ABC News with inspiring his 2015 bombshell video exposé.
The defense team for Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden introduced the 2000 ABC 20/20 investigation into evidence in the pro-life activist's civil trial. The video shows ABC reporters using the same undercover techniques employed by Daleiden, who posed as a prospective organ buyer to capture candid conversations with top abortionists from Planned Parenthood and other players in the industry. Then-ABC correspondent Chris Wallace conducted the investigation, and said a 20/20 producer met with the head of an organization involved in the sale of fetal body parts. The producer posed as a prospective investor.
"What does a brain go for? What does a kidney or a liver go for?" the undercover producer is heard saying in the video. "It's market force. It's what you can sell it for," the organization head responds.
Daleiden said he first saw the video in 2010 and spent years preparing for a similar investigation. The Thomas More Society, a pro-life law firm involved in Daleiden's defense, said in a statement that the video vindicates CMP's conduct in helping to draw attention to the sale of organs obtained from aborted babies. The group argues that "the freedom of the press is at stake" in Planned Parenthood's lawsuit.
"If the jury finds David Daleiden guilty, then any undercover journalist seeking to expose illegal activity and corruption in the government or private sector will be at risk of becoming the target of similar felony criminal prosecution in California," the group said in a statement.
Federal judge William Orrick allowed the jury to watch the video on Tuesday, but emphasized that the 20/20 investigation was conducted in a state with different laws than California, which is where Daleiden had recorded his video.
"The fact that ABC taped in a restaurant in another state should not impact your decision in this case," Orrick told the jury, according to the court transcript.
Daleiden and his group have come under legal fire for the now-infamous recordings of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of fetal organs. The videos prompted an aggressive investigation of Daleiden from then-California attorney general Kamala Harris, who authorized a search warrant for the pro-life activist's apartment. He now faces several criminal charges filed by Harris's successor, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, for obtaining the film under false pretenses.
Planned Parenthood filed a suit alleging Daleiden engaged in fraud to record the videos and that the release of the videos has caused an increase in threats of violence against the organization and its employees.