Attorneys general in 20 states asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to allow the release of undercover footage of abortion activists by pro-life investigator David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed the friend-of-the-court brief on Thursday, joined by 19 other states, the AP reports. They are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, KTAR News reports.
The urging of the 20 attorneys general on Daleiden’s behalf comes after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most liberal courts in the nation, refused to allow the recordings to be released earlier this summer.
Daleiden is appealing the decision. The Supreme Court has not said yet if it will take his case.
The footage is of National Abortion Federation conferences that Daleiden and fellow investigator Sandra Merritt attended, posing as a company looking to contract with abortion clinics for aborted baby body parts.
Here’s more from the report:
Brnovich said in his filing that preventing release of the National Abortion Federation footage “hampers law enforcement’s ability to effectively receive information and investigate possible civil or criminal wrongdoing.”
The appeals court noted in its March decision that a federal judge reviewed the videos and found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
The court affirmed a ruling that said the Center for Medical Progress waived any First Amendment right to release the videos by signing confidentiality agreements with the federation that barred recordings of its meetings or the disclosure of any information obtained there.
Brnovich said attorneys general often received tips from whistleblowers and victims and upholding a confidentiality agreement in such cases would chill investigations.
The NAF filed a lawsuit against David Daleiden and his organization just weeks after he released videos showing Planned Parenthood directors negotiating the sale of baby body parts. NAF sought a gag order prohibiting CMP from releasing additional footage from its annual conferences, fearing public scrutiny of unethical and illegal business practices.
Federal Judge William Orrick, who previously served on the board of an organization that “partnered” with Planned Parenthood, issued the initial order blocking the videos.
In doing so, he held that Daleiden contracted away his First Amendment rights when he signed the non-disclosure agreement that NAF requires of all conference attendees. The abortion group does this to avert public relations disasters like that which followed late-term abortionist Martin Haskell’s unveiling of the new technique of partial birth abortion at a NAF meeting in the 1990s.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Orrick’s order earlier this summer.
Life Legal Defense Foundation Vice President of Legal Affairs Katie Short previously said no federal appeals court has ever upheld a gag order that was based on the alleged agreement of the parties to hide information that is of significant public interest.
Even Judge Orrick acknowledged that the public “has an interest in accessing the NAF materials.” Yet he and the Ninth Circuit chose to protect the interests of the abortion industry over the interests of taxpayers who fund Planned Parenthood to the tune of $550 million annually.
Daleiden has faced attacks on his free speech rights ever since he first released videos exposing Planned Parenthood selling the body parts of aborted babies.
“The abortion industry went after David Daleiden for one reason-to protect the reputation it carefully cultivated in four decades of public deception,” said Life Legal Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. “Our hope is that the Supreme Court will agree that First Amendment freedoms must not be extinguished to remove from public scrutiny issues of fundamental social and political importance.”
Life Legal is defending Daleiden in two lawsuits filed against him by the National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood.