By Susan Michelle-Hanson
The Center for Medical Progress lead investigator, David Daleiden, along with two of his attorneys, faced Judge William Orrick again on Thursday. The men walked away with an almost-$200,000 fine after being held in contempt of court for releasing videos after the Planned Parenthood-connected judge had issued a gag order.
U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick said the $195,359 tab would compensate the National Abortion Federation for “expenses incurred as a result of the violation of my Preliminary Injunction Order,” which had banned the release of the video footage taken at NAF meetings.
Mr. Daleiden’s attorneys, Steve Cooley and Brentford Ferreira, were included in the sanctions intended to ensure “current and future compliance” with the order.
Mr. Daleiden described the sanctions as an attack on his rights to defend himself. Matthew Geragos, an attorney for Cooley and Ferreira, told the Associated Press that he is appealing.
Judge Orrick has come under fire because of his longtime ties to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry, as Live Action News reported last summer. The judge’s wife has displayed her support for the abortion corporation on social media as well. Despite his clear conflict of interest in the case, Orrick has been allowed to stay on it and has consistently ruled against the pro-life leader and his group.
The California justice system continues its accusations against Daleiden’s free speech rights, as the Times notes:
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 15 felony charges in March against Mr. Daleiden and a fellow investigator, Susan Merritt, for conspiracy to invade the privacy of those secretly recorded in the sting operation.
“The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society,” Mr. Becerra said. “We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”
While the right to privacy certainly is a foundational right, expecting privacy in a group gathering or a public place such as a restaurant is not a reasonable expectation, as even California’s own two-party consent recording law notes:
Additionally, there are exceptions to the recording law when crimes are suspected, as is the case with Planned Parenthood’s and NAF members’ activities — including the trafficking of human body parts, an accusation of killing a baby boy born after a failed abortion, and partial-birth abortions.
Moreover, one other right foundational not only to California, but to every state in the nation, is the right to free speech.
Thus, Daleiden has already appealed his case to the Supreme Court. Daleiden said in August:
Judge Orrick’s gag order, issued at the behest of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation, is an unprecedented attack on the First Amendment by a clearly biased federal judge. Judge Orrick even wants to press his gag order in the California Attorney General’s bogus criminal case against me—though he, NAF, and Planned Parenthood insist the gag order only applies to my defense, and not to the Attorney General’s bogus prosecution.
The nation’s highest court has not opened its next session yet, so it has not decided whether it will hear Daleiden’s case.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Liveaction News and is reposted with permission.