The legal attacks against the investigative journalists behind the undercover Planned Parenthood videos are re-emerging as a Planned Parenthood-funded attorney general is re-filing charges and a Planned Parenthood-connected judge is scheduled to hear the case.
Three weeks ago, a California superior court judge dismissed as legally insufficient 14 of the 15 charges that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed against the Center for Medical Progress’s (CMP) David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. However, unsatisfied by that ruling, Becerra has re-filed more detailed charges against the pair which will be heard next Monday.
In the meantime, US District Judge William Orrick of San Francisco has scheduled a hearing on Daleiden and Merritt’s case for July 11.
Both Becerra and Orrick have concerning connections with the abortion provider, leading many to question the credibility of this legal case.
Over a period spanning 16 years, the time during which Becerra served in the US House of Representatives, the current California AG received thousands of dollars of campaign funding from Planned Parenthood.
Orrick’s relationship with Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation also has CMP’s attorneys worried and prompted them to file a motion requesting Orrick’s disqualification from the case “on the grounds that there is evidence of bias in favor of the plaintiff and prejudice against the defendants”:
This includes Judge Orrick’s longstanding relationship as a past board member, and more recently as an emeritus board member, of an organization that has a “key partnership” with a Planned Parenthood affiliate that is a member of the plaintiff National Abortion Federation (NAF). Judge Orrick’s wife has also posted public comments, pictured with her husband, that are supportive of Planned Parenthood and critical of these moving defendants. For this reason, and the others set forth below, Daleiden and CMP respectfully request that Judge Orrick be recused from this case and that a stay be granted on all proceedings in this case until this motion is heard.
The motion to disqualify Orrick also notes his wife’s support for pro-NARAL and anti-Daleiden social media posts:
Just days ago, Mr. Daleiden discovered that Mrs. Orrick also “liked” a Facebook post by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) that described Mr. Daleiden and CMP’s work as “heavily edited videos by a sham organization run by extremists who will stop at nothing to deny women legal abortion services.” Mrs. Orrick also liked a Facebook Post by “Keep America Pro-Choice” that applauded Mr. Daleiden being indicted in Texas. Both “likes” were juxtaposed with a profile photo featuring Judge Orrick and Mrs. Orrick.
The first attempt at disqualifying Orrick was unsuccessful, but the rejection has not stopped Daleiden and his attorneys from arguing that Orrick’s bias should not permit him to hear the case.
With hearings scheduled for July 11 and July 17, the next week will be telling for the fate of the two journalists and the credibility of California’s legal system.
Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0