David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress undercover investigators have been found guilty of multiple crimes and must pay millions in damages to Planned Parenthood for the work they did in exposing organ harvesting on aborted babies.
The jury of nine men and one woman released its verdict Friday afternoon after deliberating less than two days, even though the landmark civil trial took six weeks.
The total amount awarded to Planned Parenthood is over $2 million, according to the Thomas More Society, which includes punitive and compensatory damages as well as attorneys' fees. Local San Francisco reporter Helen Chistophi tweeted from the courthouse that the punitive damages totaled $870,000.
Pro-life defense lawyers have already stated they will appeal, telling reporters outside the courtroom the "process was unfair."
“This lawsuit is payback for David Daleiden exposing Planned Parenthood’s dirty business of buying and selling fetal parts and organs,” declared lead Thomas More Society defense attorney Peter Breen.“We intend to seek vindication for David on appeal. His investigation into criminal activity by America’s largest abortion provider utilized standard investigative journalism techniques, those applied regularly by news outlets across the country.”
“David’s findings revealed practices so abhorrent that the United States Congress issued criminal referrals for Planned Parenthood, and numerous states and elected officials have moved to strip it of funding,”continued Breen. “Rather than face up to its heinous doings, Planned Parenthoodchose to persecute the person who exposed it. I am fully confident that when this case has run its course, justice will prevail, and David will be vindicated.”
Daleiden called the verdict a "dangerous attack"on first amendment rights.
"Justice was not done today in San Francisco,"stated the Center for Medical Progress in a press release.
"While top Planned Parenthood witnesses spent six weeks testifying under oath that the undercover videos are true and Planned Parenthood sold fetal organs on a quid pro quo basis, a biased judge with close Planned Parenthood ties spent six weeks influencing the jury with pre-determined rulings and by suppressing video evidence, all in order to rubber-stamp Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit attack on the First Amendment. This is a dangerous precedent for citizen journalism and First Amendment civil rights across the country, sending a message that speaking truth and facts criticizing the powerful is no longer protected by our institutions," the group added.
The case was heard by San Francisco’s U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick III, who has ties to Planned Parenthood, but refused to disqualify himself when defense requested him to do so.