A federal judge hit pro-life undercover investigator David Daleiden and two of his lawyers with a heavy fine this week after they released undercover footage of a National Abortion Federation conference.
Townhall reports U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick, who has ties to the abortion industry, ordered Daleiden and attorneys Steve Cooley and Brentford Ferreira to pay $195,359.04 in fines on Monday.
In July, Orrick held Daleiden and the two lawyers in contempt for releasing the videos in violation of a court order. Orrick quickly forced the videos to be taken down after they were released in May.
The video footage showed top Planned Parenthood staffers and other abortion industry leaders attending meetings of the National Abortion Federation in 2014 and 2015 and discussing gruesome details about aborted babies. In one clip, several attendees made jokes about eyeballs from aborted babies “rolling down into their laps.”
Orrick said the fine holds Daleiden and the two lawyers’ responsible for increased security and attorney fees for the National Abortion Federation as a result of the videos being released, according to the AP.
Here’s more from Townhall:
Matthew Geragos, who is representing Daleiden’s attorneys, Steve Cooley and Brentford Ferreira, argued at the time that the lawyers didn’t think they were bound by the injunction in the civil case, and posted links to the videos in order to find witnesses who could support Daleiden’s defense.
The judge fined the defendants $195,359.04, less than the roughly $287,482.00 that the National Abortion Federation requested.
“In setting this amount, I have considered the magnitude of ‘the harm threatened by continued contumacy, and the probable effectiveness of any suggested sanction in bringing about the result desired,’” Orrick wrote.
“NAF’s counsel have not justified their requested rates in reference to fee awards in other cases or with affidavits demonstrating that the requested rates are reasonable for similarly situated attorneys in similar practice areas,” he added.
Ferreira told the AP that they plan to appeal.
In June, Daleiden’s lawyers asked that Orrick recuse himself from the case, arguing that he has links to the abortion industry. They said Orrick has had a long relationship with a group that partners with Planned Parenthood, and his wife publicly supported abortion online.
While Orrick was secretary of the board of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, the organization “embedded a Planned Parenthood clinic inside its premises, and lists among its ‘key partnerships’ … Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific …” according to the court documents.
The Planned Parenthood affiliate also is a member of the National Abortion Federation, the plaintiff in the case, according to the court document.
The Center for Medical Progress, Daleiden’s group, previously said he and his attorneys are being persecuted “just for trying to use the same video evidence in his defense that the California AG is using in his prosecution.”
Daleiden’s attorneys represent him in a case involving pro-abortion California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who filed charges against Daleiden and fellow investigator Sandra Merritt in March, alleging that they illegally recorded private conversations at a National Abortion Federation conference without people’s consent.
Daleiden’s criminal defense attorneys argued that the videos are essential to providing Daleiden with a robust public defense after California Attorney General Xavier Beccera charged Daleiden and Sandra Merritt with 15 felony counts of eavesdropping.
The first set of charges were dismissed by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite in the criminal case for lack of specificity. Beccera recently amended and refiled the charges, this time including the file names of certain videos. However, the charges still do not name the individuals involved in the conversations during which Planned Parenthood doctors and other abortionists discuss the sale of fetal body parts for profit.