A federal judge has ordered the anti-abortion group and its organizer David Daleidin, who were behind the undercover “sting” videos of Planned Parenthood doctor, to turn over videos, photos and other materials to their outside lawyers for safekeeping.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick on Friday ordered Daleidin and the Center for Medical Progress to surrender the originals and copies of all material covered by a July temporary restraining order after some of the information was allegedly sent in error to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
The two-year-old Center for Medical Progress and Daleidin have been accused of setting up a dummy nonprofit that is a front for the anti-abortion group Live Action, according to a lawsuit filed in July by the National Abortion Federation.
It was the undercover footage of a Planned Parenthood doctor allegedly talking about the sale of fetal body parts after abortions that raise the ire of House Republicans and launched an investigation and calls to defund Planned Parenthood.
The National Abortion Federal called the conduct of the Center an “outrageous conspiracy to defraud, carried out by extremist anti-abortion activists.”
In July, Orrick issued a TRO barring release of videos, pictures or other names of those in the NAF or the times and places of future NAF meetings while the dispute is hashed out in court.
In his October 30 order, Orrick said the CMP notified him that a third party received videotapes covered by the TRO from a “source on Capitol Hill” and had posted them online.
Given the security procedures imposed by the House committee, “it is unclear whether defendants’ representation is accurate,” Orrick wrote.
NAF said it has learned who posted the information online and has asked for, and been given, permission by Orrick to question the individual as part of the court case.
History of the Lawsuit
The lawsuit, filed in July, alleges the CMP members created a fake company, Biomax Procurement Services, which pretended to be a legitimate fetal tissue procurement company, using false identifies, fake driver’s licenses and gaining entrance to NAF conferences.
The suit alleges the Biomax group signed confidentiality promises and agreed to protect to NAF members “from exactly the type of anti-abortion harassment hat is the subject of this lawsuit.”
The lawsuit seeks damages and an injunction against the group and its members and officers from publishing video, audio, photographic or other confidential information learned at NAF meetings.
On Oct. 19, lawyers from the CMP sent a copy of an NAF letter that had been under seal as part of the court case to all parties in the lawsuit and mistakenly included the Reporters Committee, which had filed papers in the case.
Planned Parenthood has contended that the information in the videos was heavily edited and the claims by the anti-abortion group are “flat-out lies,” according to a statement made to Huffington Post by Planned Parenthood vice president for communication Eric Ferrero.
Case: National Abortion Federation v. Center for Medical Progress, No 15-cv-3522