Supreme Court won’t hear case that targeted pro-life investigators Daleiden and Merritt

The Supreme Court will not hear a bid to throw out damages awarded to Planned Parenthood, after an appeal from David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, undercover investigators for the Center of Medical Progress (CMP). CMP highlighted the abortion industry’s harvesting and trafficking of aborted baby body parts in 2015, and litigation has been ongoing ever since.

Earlier this year, the Thomas More Society, which represents Daleiden, announced that it had filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court, arguing that lower courts violated Daleiden’s First Amendment rights . Liberty Counsel, which represents Merritt, also asked the Supreme Court to review a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals against Merritt in favor of Planned Parenthood.

In a statementLiberty Counsel said the Supreme Court rejected their appeal, without giving any comment as to why.

“The First Amendment prohibits courts from preventing journalists from publishing their work, except in the most egregious cases, but here, the courts quickly discredited David Daleiden’s videos and speech and silenced him on an issue with of the highest importance to the public,” Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President and Head of Litigation, in May.

READ: Shocker: LA Times editorial board finds CA charges against Center for Medical Progress ‘disturbing’

“The American people have a right to all relevant information on an issue, not just what some judge thinks they should see and hear. These are not private videos — these are videos of an 800-year abortion trade show that Mr. Daleiden was invited to attend. David Daleiden is one of the most prominent undercover journalists of our time, reporting on one of the most controversial political issues of our time, ” added Breen. “If the high-profile work of someone of David’s caliber can be banned, no undercover journalist is safe from the risk of disastrous financial penalties and endless lawsuits. The Supreme Court must step in to save undercover journalism.”

Daleiden and Merritt were sued by the National Abortion Federation (NAF) in 2015, seeking to block their undercover footage from public view. A permanent injunction was granted, preventing the release of any of the more than 500 hours of recordings of NAF conferences, and Daleiden was forced to pay $6 million in attorney’s fees and costs.

He still faces criminal charges, filed against him by then-California Attorneys General Kamala Harris and Xavier Becerra, at the urging of NAF and Planned Parenthood. The current order means that Daleiden cannot use his footage in the case against him, and the petition filed in the Supreme Court asks that he be free to use that footage in his defense.

A jury also sided with Planned Parenthood, and their decision was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The abortion giant was awarded $2.4 million in damages, as well as more than $13 million in attorneys’ fees and costs. In 2017, Daleiden filed a lawsuit to remove Judge William Orrick from his case and was denied, despite the fact that Orrick “has close ties to the abortion industry, including a long relationship with a board member of a Planned Parenthood affiliate member of the National Abortion Federation (NAF).”

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