Life Legal took the first step to appeal the outrageous verdict in the Planned Parenthood video case, which awarded Planned Parenthood over two million in damages.
We are still at a loss to explain why the jury sided with PP against every single defendant on every single count, apparently adopting PP’s position that the investigation was in fact an illegal conspiracy. The jury even found that the defendants illegally recorded and/or conspired to illegally record conversations with Planned Parenthood staff and abortionists in several instances without PP even putting on any evidence of the recorded conversations.
And, as we’ve reported before, the judge prohibited the jury from viewing the videos at issue in the lawsuit, except for a few brief clips, most of which were played without sound. The jury did not hear, for example, a former PP abortionist talking about how she has to “hit the gym” in order to rip the arms and legs off of second-trimester babies.
Part of the problem lies in Judge Orrick, an Obama appointee who served on the board of an organization that housed a Planned Parenthood clinic. Judge Orrick issued several “directed verdicts,” which means he instructed the jury find the pro-life defendants guilty of trespass and breach of contract—the jury was only allowed to decide only how much money the defendants should pay. Judge Orrick also failed to instruct the jury that they could not use an award of monetary damages to penalize the defendants for publishing the recordings.
Recording and publishing videos—particularly videos made in public places like restaurants—is not unlawful. In fact, most courts looking at the issue have found recording in public places to be a constitutionally protected form of free speech. Despite the jury’s erroneous finding, all of the Planned Parenthood videos were made in accordance with state and federal recording laws.
To hold people liable for standard undercover investigative journalism techniques, such as using false names, in order to expose criminal and unethical behavior, is an offense to our constitutional rights and liberties.
Perhaps most shocking of all, is the jury’s finding that David Daleiden, Susan Merritt, Albin Rhomberg, Troy Newman, the other defendants were guilty of violating federal racketeering (RICO) laws. These are laws enacted eradicate organized crime—not to stop investigative journalism. PP added the RICO claims to its lawsuit so it could recover exorbitant treble damages (triple the claimed damages) and attorney fees.
A recent law review article from Columbia Law School, hardly a bastion of conservative thought, argues that “there is a right to record even on private property without consent if the recording relates to a matter of public concern.”
There is no matter of greater public concern than abortion. More children have been killed by abortion than all other causes of death combined. The pro-life defendants in this case made it clear that they wanted to expose Planned Parenthood’s illegal trafficking in baby body parts and put Planned Parenthood out of business. Albin Rhomberg confirmed on the witness stand that his goal was to “destroy the evil Planned Parenthood empire.”
Stand with Albin and the other pro-life defendants who want to end the scourge of abortion in America. Please consider making a donation as we continue the battle for preborn babies against Planned Parenthood and the abortion cartel. We are so grateful for your faithful and prayerful support. Your tax-deductible gift of $25, $50, or even $100 at this critical time is so very appreciated!