PETA, Project Veritas, 20 state attorneys general rally behind pro-lifers who exposed sale of baby body parts
Six amicus briefs were filed in support of overturning the multimillion judgment against Daleiden and fellow pro-lifers, citing First Amendment speech protection.
Wed Apr 28, 2021 – 9:18 pm EST
By Emily Mangiaracina
Excerpts from the article:
April 28, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Animal rights groups, investigative organizations, pro-life groups, and 20 state attorneys general are rallying behind David Daleiden and his co-defendants to appeal the multimillion dollar judgment levied against them after they exposed Planned Parenthood’s illegal baby body parts trafficking.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Project Veritas, Live Action, Americans United for Life, Judicial Watch, and the attorneys general of 20 states filed amicus (“friend of the court”) briefs in support of the appeal of the $16 million judgment imposed on Daleiden, his organization Center for Medical Progress (CMP), and pro-life associates Sandra Merritt, Albin Rhomberg, and Operation Rescue president Troy Newman, after Planned Parenthood sued them.
The attorneys general supporting the pro-life journalists were from Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
In November 2019, a San Francisco jury found CMP, Daleiden, Merritt, Rhomberg, and Newman jointly liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to Planned Parenthood, tripled to $1.4 million under a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) charge. Combined with compensatory damages, the award totaled more than $2 million. This past December, an additional $13.6 million in attorney fees were awarded to Planned Parenthood.
The 20 state attorneys general and organizations are acutely aware, from their own work experience, of the scope of the First Amendment, which protects deceptive tactics involved in undercover work, and of its importance in helping undercover journalists launch investigations of corrupt, inhumane, and illegal activity.
The amicus briefs argue that because the pro-lifers’ undercover work is protected by the First Amendment, the costs incurred by Planned Parenthood as a result are “not recoverable as damages,” as Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) pointed out. A fatal error of the court, LLDF notes, was that District Court Judge William Orrick refused to inform the jury of this fact.
The brief stated that “undercover newsgathering and reporting is central to democratic accountability in the United States” and to “law and policy debates on matters of public concern.”
“From Mortimer Thompson’s firsthand accounts of the slave trade leading up to the Civil War, to Nellie Bly’s graphic translation of her time in Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum, to Upton Sinclair’s exposé of the meat-packing industry, investigative reporting is responsible for bringing to public view some of the most pressing matters in the last 150 years,” the brief continued.
The brief further argued that “the use of deception for undercover investigative reporting on matters of public concern is constitutionally protected speech,” and is “absolutely necessary to access facts hidden from public view and thereby enable accurate stories.”
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