Anti-abortion-rights activist found in contempt over videos

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge found an anti-abortion activist known for clandestine videos of abortion-rights advocates in contempt on Monday after additional secretly-taken recordings appeared online.

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick said David Daleiden, a leader of the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress, had violated the judge’s injunction against releasing additional videos.

Orrick ruled Daleiden’s lawyers, former Los Angeles prosecutor Steve Cooley and Brentford Ferreira, had also violated his injunction. Ferreira said Monday they would appeal the judge’s contempt ruling.

In 2015, Daleiden’s center released secretly recorded videos that it says show Planned Parenthood employees selling fetal tissue for profit, which is illegal. Planned Parenthood said the videos were deceptively edited.

The videos stoked the U.S. abortion debate when they were released.

The center is also behind secret recordings at meetings of an abortion providers’ group, the National Abortion Federation, in 2014 and 2015. Orrick blocked the release of those videos, but publicly accessible links that led to at least some of the blocked videos appeared on Cooley and Ferreira’s website in May.

Cooley and Ferreira represent Daleiden in a related criminal case in California accusing him of recording people without their permission in violation of state law. Ferreira on Monday called the federal judge’s contempt order “an unprecedented infringement on a state criminal case.”

Orrick said in Monday’s order he would hold Daleiden and the two lawyers responsible for extra security and attorney costs run up by the National Abortion Federation in response to release of the additional videos. The final financial penalty in the ruling has yet to be tallied.

Matthew Geragos, an attorney for Cooley and Ferreira, has said the attorneys were entitled to put out evidence that could draw out witnesses and other information that could clear Daleiden in the criminal case.

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