The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals let stand a $195,000 fine against an anti-abortion activist and his lawyers last week, Courthouse News reported.
Anti-abortion activist David Daleiden — who recorded undercover videos exposing alleged fetal tissue trafficking by Planned Parenthood — appealed the fine, but the three-judge Ninth Circuit panel dismissed it, saying it doesn’t have jurisdiction to review the findings until the case’s final judgment is reached, the outlet said.
What’s the background?
U.S. District Judge William Orrick III in 2016 granted the National Abortion Federation’s request to block the release of videos, citing the safety and privacy of abortion providers, Courthouse News said. But in 2017 Daleiden’s criminal defense lawyers Steve Cooley and Brentford Ferreira posted links to the videos and abortion providers’ names on their website — all of which were presented as evidence to support Daleiden defense, the outlet said.
But Orrick ruled the latter actions violated his injunction against further disclosure and ordered Daleiden and his lawyers to pay $195,000 to the National Abortion Federation to cover legal fees and costs for added security due to the videos’ release, Courthouse News said.
Ferreira said the sanctions are “an egregious abuse of contempt power,” the outlet said.
Controversy over Judge Orrick
Orrick said he reviewed hundreds of hours of videos and found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the abortionists, Courthouse News said, adding that the judge said Daleiden misleadingly edited videos to make it appear as though abortion providers were breaking the law.
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Daleiden’s attorneys dispute that, citing investigations by Republican-led congressional committees that found his group’s investigation “generally had merit,” and a $7.7 million settlement two bioscience companies reached with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in December 2017 for allegedly selling fetal tissue for profit.
The Ninth Circuit on Wednesday also rejected Daleiden’s request to remand the case to a different judge. In 2017, Daleiden sought to disqualify Orrick, citing his prior role as a board member of a Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinic and his wife’s Facebook “likes” of posts supportive of abortion rights.
U.S. District Judge James Donato rejected the motion to disqualify Orrick in June 2017.
Daleiden starts GoFundMe page
Meanwhile, Daleiden launched a GoFundMe page Wednesday to cover the $195,000 fine, which he said Orrick “unjustly” leveled in order to “try to shield his friends at Planned Parenthood from public scrutiny.”
Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts