State pursuing criminal counts against undercover journalists for recording conversations
Sept 15, 2019
A prosecutor in California’s criminal case against two undercover journalists whose 2015 videos revealed abortion executives discussing their scheme to profit from baby body parts is “ignorant” of the law, contend defense lawyers.
California alleges David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of Center for Medical Progress, defended by Liberty Counsel, violated state privacy laws by secretly recording executives in public places such as conventions and restaurants.
“The law states conversations are not confidential when there is a reasonable expectation they will be overheard, and undercover taping is allowed when those doing so have a reasonable belief that they are collecting evidence relating to a violent crime,” Liberty Counsel argued.
Defense lawyers have introduced evidence in San Francisco Superior Court that some of the abortion executives who are complaining of a loss of “privacy” are on record saying they didn’t care if their comments were publicized.
Liberty Counsel said Friday that special agent Brian Cardwell, lead investigator for the attorney general’s case, testified on behalf of the 14 “Doe victims,” referring to the abortion executives.
“California Proposition 115 allows the state to present evidence for the ‘victims’ through hearsay testimony of an investigator. During cross-examination Special Agent Cardwell stated this was his first investigation of illegal recording under section 632 and though he had received no training for this type of investigation, he stated he knows the definition of ‘confidential communication’ under section 632.”
However, “Deputy Attorney General Johnette Jauron, the lead prosecutor in the case, objected, saying ‘Section 632 does not define a ‘confidential communication.” There was an audible reaction in the courtroom as section 632 clearly defines ‘confidential communication’ and even Cardwell started his testimony by admitting he knew the definition,” Liberty Counsel said.
There were other problems with the testimony.
“During cross-examination, it was revealed that Cardwell left out multiple exculpatory information from the arrest warrant affidavit. One ‘Doe’ video was filmed during an elevator ride, during which a stranger was present the entire time. Cardwell did not mention this to the judge in his arrest warrant affidavit. He included in the affidavit a complaint filed by a ‘Doe’ to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), but failed to mention that the complaint was dismissed because the meeting occurred in a public place and therefore there was no basis for pursuing the case,” Liberty Counsel said.
“Cardwell stated he asked one ‘Doe victim’ if her recorded conversation could be heard by others, and she said yes. In preceding ‘Doe’ interviews, Cardwell admitted that though other ‘Does’ said they ‘felt’ the recorded conversations were ‘confidential,’ he did nothing to investigate these claims. He did not ask the ‘victims’ what they meant when they claimed their conversations were ‘confidential,’ and he made no effort to determine whether their claim of ‘confidentiality’ is consistent with section 632’s definition. He simply accepted the Does statements as fact and presented them in his affidavit for the arrest warrant.”
The judge in the case previously refused a request from prosecutors for a gag order.
Cornering the market
Liberty Counsel said a video was played in court of the undercover journalists talking with a Planned Parenthood doctor identified as “Doe 9” in a public restaurant.
“When questioned by the attorney general’s office, ‘Doe 9’ stated that StemExpress had cornered the Northern California market for baby body parts. However, ‘we have an affiliate in Orlando that goes to 20 weeks’ and they could expect to pay $30-$100 ‘per specimen,'” Liberty Counsel explained.
On cross examination, Liberty Counsel Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel Horatio Mihet asked “Doe 9” whether she was concerned that the tape had been made public.
“When ‘Doe 9’ answered ‘yes,’ he presented her with a transcript of her deposition from Planned Parenthood’s civil case against the Center for Medical Progress, where she said, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong in the videos. It doesn’t matter to me if they’re released publicly.'”
Counsel Attorney Nicolai Cocis also questioned “Doe 3,” a retired late-term abortionist filmed at the 2014 National Abortion Federation’s conference, on the topic of passersby hearing the conversation.
According to Liberty Counsel, “Doe 3” stated “she did not feel the need to lower her voice or take privacy precautions at the conference.”
“Cocis played a clip of that video, pausing every time a stranger entered the frame. However, ‘Doe 3’ admitted that some people walking past may have been close enough to hear snippets.”
Liberty Counsel has charged that Attorney General Xavier Becerra had political motivations for filing the counts against Daleiden and Merritt.
For example, he made a public pledge to “Stand with Planned Parenthood.”
The former attorney general and now senator, Kamala Harris, who began the case, has received $81,215 in campaign donations from the abortion industry, Liberty Counsel pointed out.
The defense counsel has argued in court that never before has the state of California prosecuted criminally a journalist for an undercover recording of public interest.
“Judge Christopher Hite of the Superior Court is presiding over the preliminary hearing and decreed that the names of the abortion providers who testify will be sealed during the prosecution,” Liberty Counsel said.
Earlier, a “Doe 7” admitted on video she was unconcerned that any other people may have heard her comments.
‘The heads that get stuck’
The videos, which are still available online, prompted some states to pull funding for abortionists and adopt new rules. The U.S. House and Senate investigated and sent referrals for criminal investigation to the Department of Justice.
But the abortionists responded with civil lawsuits against Daleiden and his organization. And they convinced Becerra to pursue state privacy violation charges.
Some videos that have not been released are to be aired for the first time in the hearing. The videos, taken at at National Abortion Federation meeting, were suppressed by a federal judge who has links to Planned Parenthood.
Here are two of the videos released by CMP:
One of the videos that has been suppressed by Judge William Orrick includes more details about the industry.
It was available only briefly online.
However, transcripts of comments by abortion executives have been preserved.
Lisa Harris, medical director for Planned Parenthood of Michigan: “Our stories don’t really have a place in a lot of pro-choice discourse and rhetoric, right? The heads that get stuck that we can’t get out. The hemorrhages that we manage.”
Susan Robinson of Planned Parenthood of Mar Monte in San Jose, California: “The fetus is a tough little object and taking it apart, I mean taking it apart, on day one is very difficult.’
Talcott Camp, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Health Freedom Project: “I’m like oh my god! I get it! When the skull is broken, that’s really sharp. I get it, I understand why people are talking about getting that skull out, that calvarium.”
Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “You know, sometimes she’ll tell me she wants brain, and we’ll, you know, leave the calvarium in ’til last, and then try to basically take it, or actually, you know, catch everything, and even keep it separate from the rest of the tissue so it doesn’t get lost.”
Uta Landy, founder of the Consortium of Abortion providers for Planned Parenthood: “An eyeball just fell down into my lap, and that is gross.”
Her comment was followed by raucous laughter from the abortionists at the meeting of the National Abortion Federation.
In December 2015, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives referred the Planned Parenthood Federation of American and six regional affiliates to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation.
Operation Rescue noted little attention was given to the issue under President Obama, but after Donald Trump moved into office, the investigations “appeared to show signs of life.”
See a CMP video about Planned Parenthood skirting federal law:
The “Lamborghini” executive:
Paying attention to who’s in the room when infants are born alive:
Altering abortion procedures:
Selling body parts a “valid exchange”: