10/16 – Day 7 – PPFA v. CMP Trial Summary

Day 7 included Defense cross examination of Planned Parenthood Orange & San Bernardino Counties’ CEO Jon Dunn, and the sworn testimony of Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s previous Senior Director of Medical Services who described criminal partial-birth abortion procedures for fetal organ sales in the first CMP video release. Deborah VanDerhei, PPFA’s Vice President of Abortion Access, gave testimony via videotaped deposition.

  • Dunn acknowledged under oath that neither David Daleiden nor any CMP videos ever called for any violence or physical harm against Planned Parenthood or its affiliates.
  • Dr. Nucatola testified that Planned Parenthood Federation of America never got her authorization to bring claims in its lawsuit on her behalf. Dr. Nucatola has not worked at PPFA during most of the litigation in PPFA’s lawsuit.
  • Dr. Nucatola also testified that she relied on the National Abortion Federation’s alleged “vetting” of conference exhibitors to engage with CMP undercover actors representing BioMax Procurement Services, because she believed NAF was the “gold standard” for security in the abortion industry. However, Dr. Nucatola testified that to this day she has no knowledge of what if anything nAF actually does to “vet” exhibitors at its trade shows.
  • For the first time in open court, the Defense played for the jury approximately 4 and a half minutes of Dr. Nucatola’s conversation with CMP undercover investigators at a public restaurant in Los Angeles, in which she described using ultrasound guidance to flip a baby in the womb to feet-first breech position, in order to extract the baby intact and harvest whole, fresh organs. On the clip, Dr. Nucatola states, “We’ve been pretty successful with that, I’d say.” Dr. Nucatola testified under oath that when this video was released in 2015, she “felt the content was no big deal” and that she didn’t think she said anything inappropriate on the video.
  • Deborah VanDerhei, head of PPFA’s Consortium of Abortion Providers, testified in her sworn deposition that when Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s Research Director Melissa Farrell came to her and Dr. Nucatola with suspicions about the undercover CMP investigators at BioMax, Dr. Nucatola assured them that their suspicions were unfounded. VanDerhei also testified that when she had further suspicions about BioMax at the 2015 NAF trade show, she told NAF about it–but did not tell Planned Parenthood–and NAF said they would follow up, but then never did.

The proceedings continue at 8 A.M. on Thursday, October 17, in San Francisco Federal District Court at 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102, in Courtroom 2 on Floor 17.

10/15 – Day 6 – PPFA v. CMP Trial Summary

Day 6 of the civil trial against CMP by Planned Parenthood yielded significant on-the-record testimony from Dr. Mary Gatter, former medical director Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, and Jon Dunn, CEO of Planned Parenthood Orange & San Bernardino Counties, former business partners of the DaVinci companies who were shut down for illegally selling fetal organs and tissues from PPOSBC:

-Dr. Gatter described PPLA’s fetal tissue program with Novogenix Laboratories, acknowledging PPLA was “used to getting a set fee for each specimen” harvested. On cross examination, Dr. Gatter admitted that PPLA never complied with PPFA’s national guidelines that affiliates engage an independent auditor to make sure fetal tissue payments were merely reimbursements and not illegal profit or valuable consideration.

-Dr. Gatter described Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s screening process for trade show exhibitors at the time of CMP’s undercover investigation was “inadequate”.

-The undercover videos filmed of conversations with Dr. Gatter took place at a cocktail reception at an outdoor hotel pool, another reception in a hotel mezzanine, and at a restaurant, among other places of public accommodation. Dr. Gatter admitted cocktail lounges, restaurants, and elevators are all public places, as recognized by PPFA-issued conference security guidelines.

-Jon Dunn, president of Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties, also testified that Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s screening process for trade show exhibitors was “inadequate”.

The proceedings continue at 8 A.M. on Wednesday, October 16, in San Francisco Federal District Court at 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102, in Courtroom 2 on Floor 17.

10/11 – Day 5 – PPFA v. CMP Trial Summary

Four individuals testified today in the Planned Parenthood Federation of America et al v. The Center for Medial Progress et al civil jury trial in San Francisco federal court: Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest medical director Dr. Thomas Moran, Planned Parenthood Northern California and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte abortion provider Dr. Leslie Drummond-Hay, Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley CEO Sherri Bonner, and former NAF Group Purchasing Manager Nichelle Davis via her deposition video.

  • When defense attorneys showed him publicly available online documents where he identifies as an abortion provider, PPPSW’s Dr. Moran admitted his prior testimony that he had never disclosed his abortion work publicly was incorrect: “Counselor, you got me.”
  • Dr. Drummond-Hay testified that 98% of her work at Planned Parenthood was providing abortions. She testified that StemExpress was impressed with the quality of intact fetal specimens that she could provide them to sell:
    Q. In that conversation, you were talking about intact fetal tissue, the fact that you got requests for intact limbs, the fact that you got oohs and ahhs from a middleman tissue procurement company, StemExpress.
    A. Yes.
    Q. And you were saying you get oohs and ahhs from them because they were impressed with how intact your tissue specimens are, correct?
    MS. MAYO: Objection; calls for speculation, 403.
    THE COURT: It is verging on 403, but overruled.
    THE WITNESS: I think they were oohing at the specimen. They weren’t oohing at me.
    BY MR. JONNA
    Q. What do you mean by that?
    A. The tissue procurement company was happy with the specimen.
  • PPPSGV CEO Sherri Bonner testified that her affiliate is seeking only $9,000 in the lawsuit, for the costs of hiring a body guard and paying for internet reputation monitoring for Dr. Mary Gatter after the release of the videos. Although Judge Orrick previously barred the costs of responding to third-party reactions to the videos, Bonner testified that it was the content published on the videos that made her determine to hire security for Dr. Gatter but not for the other PPPSGV officer on the video, Laurel Felczer.
  • Nichelle Davis, NAF’s Group Purchasing Manager who was in charge of screening and registering new Exhibitors for NAF’s trade show, acknowledged in her sworn deposition that all she did to “vet” BioMax was a search of its website, because BioMax was referred to her by two NAF employees she referenced as being “inside the circle” and was, in her description, pre-approved.

The proceedings continue at 8 A.M. on Tuesday, October 15, in San Francisco Federal District Court at 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102, in Courtroom 2 on Floor 17.

10/10 – Day 4 – PPFA v. CMP Trial Summary

After a day’s break, court reconvened to conclude the questioning of former CMP Board Director Albin Rohmberg, and then heard testimony from the National Abortion Federation’s VP of External Affairs, Melissa Fowler, and Plaintiff Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest’s associate medical director Dr. Thomas Moran.

  • Rhomberg testified that he understood part of the original purpose of CMP’s undercover reporting was to pick up where ABC’s 20/20 expose with Chris Wallace and Connie Chung left off nearly twenty years ago in 2000.
  • After multiple assertions that NAF had exhaustive and extensive screening and vetting measures in place to prevent pro-life individuals from “infiltrating” NAF meetings, Fowler admited the only “vetting” of CMP’s BioMax representatives was conversations between NAF staff and a Google search for the company. Fowler stated that even to this day, NAF does not ask potential exhibitors whether or not they are pro-choice.
  • Fowler admitted that NAF’s trade show contracts, over which Planned Parenthood is trying to sue as a “third-party beneficiary”, never mention Planned Parenthood and signatories were never put on notice that Planned Parenthood would be in attendance or party to the agreements. Fowler also grudgingly acknowledged dozens of attendees at NAF’s trade shows never signed NAF’s “Confidentiality Agreement” for the meetings.
  • Plaintiff Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest’s Associate Medical Director Dr. Thomas Moran was asked about Planned Parenthood’s supply of aborted fetal body parts to Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR):
    Q. “And as a result of abortions that would be performed there, including abortions you did, they would sometimes place a demand for certain organs; correct?”
    A. “That was certainly my understanding, yeah.”

The proceedings continue at 8 A.M. on Friday, October 11, in San Francisco Federal District Court at 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102, in Courtroom 2 on Floor 17.

10/8 – Day 3 – PPFA v. CMP Trial Summary

Planned Parenthood called two more defendants to the witness stand today, the third day of their civil jury trial in San Francisco federal court. As the case goes on, it seems increasingly clear that Planned Parenthood is hoping to manipulate the process to try to eke out a win in their thinly-veiled attack on First Amendment civil rights:

  • At Planned Parenthood’s request, Judge Orrick refused to allow the Defense to show the jury the exact video conversations that Planned Parenthood is suing for. It is the jury’s job to assess whether the conversations are “private” or “confidential” under applicable state law–yet Planned Parenthood and Judge Orrick are barring the actual recordings of these conversations from the courtroom. Adrian Lopez, one of CMP’s undercover investigators, took the witness stand and was accused by Planned Parenthood of videotaping so-called “private” conversations at a National Abortion Federation trade show in Baltimore, MD, yet defense attorney Paul Jonna was not allowed to play video of the conversation itself, a graphic discussion with Plaintiff Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast leadership, to allow Lopez and CMP to defend against Planned Parenthood’s accusation. Ironically, Planned Parenthood was allowed to play multiple recordings of undercover conversations during their questioning.
  • Lopez testified that he was motivated to go undercover to investigate criminal harvesting and trafficking of fetal organs and tissues in part by evidence like the online order form for fetal body parts on the website for StemExpress, the business partner of Plaintiffs Planned Parenthood Mar Monte and Planned Parenthood Northern California. “You go in there and it’s basically a custom order for fetal tissue. You put — there is a drop-down menu for gestational age. There is a drop-down menu for what type of tissues you want, quantities and so forth,” and “when I saw that there was a website where you can order it, I think that just– that kind of did it for me.” Judge Orrick refused to allow screenshots of the StemExpress order form to be shown to the jury.
  • When defense attorney Paul Jonna attempted to merely question the witness about a StemExpress training document showing the bonus structure for different types of fetal body parts, Judge Orrick cut off the line of questioning, invoking Planned Parenthood’s attorney Amy Bomse: “Sustained. The objection that Ms. Bomse was about to make by standing up is sustained.” Bomse never made an objection–all she did was stand up.

The proceedings continue at 8 A.M. on Thursday, October 10, in San Francisco Federal District Court at 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102, in Courtroom 2 on Floor 17.

10/4 – Day 2 – PPFA v. CMP Trial Summary

CMP investigator Sandra Merritt took the stand for most of day 2 of the civil trial in San Francisco after a Planned Parenthood Plaintiff-Affiliate CEO was cross-examined by defense lawyers:

  • During Day 1 of the trial, Planned Parenthood lawyers peppered Jenna Tosh, CEO of Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, with questions about NAF and Planned Parenthood conference security. Today, defense lawyers cross-examined Tosh about her assertions that the Planned Parenthood conferences CMP investigators attended had “stringent” and “impressive” screening procedures. Tosh backtracked under oath and admitted she has no first-hand knowledge of the actual security or screening protocols undertaken at each conference as it relates to vendors like CMP’s undercover subsidiary BioMax Procurement Services, LLC.
  • Sandra Merritt took the stand for most of the day and Planned Parenthood questioned Merritt extensively about her involvement in the undercover videos. Merritt reaffirmed multiple times that she accepted the job working on the undercover project to investigate violet crimes committed by Planned Parenthood and others in the fetal trafficking industry.
  • When Merritt’s attorney Horatio Mihet began to ask Merritt questions about what she had learned from information provided by StemExpress/Planned Parenthood Mar Monte whistleblower Holly O’Donnell, Judge Orrick paused the proceedings, ordered the jury to take a break, and instructed Mihet not to continue the line of questioning. When Merritt later began to describe learning about the Langendorff perfusion device used to keep a living heart beating outside the body, and its requirements to cut a beating heart out of a fetus, Judge Orrick cut off Merritt’s answer.

Proceedings continue at 8 A.M. on Tuesday, October 8, in San Francisco Federal District Court at 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102, in Courtroom 2 on Floor 17.

10/3 – Day 1 – PPFA v. CMP Trial Summary

On October 3, federal civil jury trial began in Planned Parenthood’s retaliatory lawsuit against The Center for Medical Progress, with opening statements on behalf of each of the co-defendants. Highlights included:

  • Judge Orrick instructed the 12-member jury that the case “is not about the truth of whether plaintiffs profited rom the sale of fetal tissue or otherwise violated the law in securing tissue for those programs,” and that, “Those issues are a matter of dispute between the parties in the world outside this courtroom.”
  • Planned Parenthood’s lead trial lawyer told the jury in opening statement that this case is about an attempt to “destroy” Planned Parenthood using “any means.”
  • Harmeet Dhillon, counsel for CMP and its undercover subsidiary BioMax Procurement Services, LLC, stated, “What this case is really about is the story of what happens when a powerful, large corporation gets a little negative publicity that it doesn’t like and responds by hitting back at a small start-up company and a handful of individuals, who are the defendants in this case.”
  • Charles LiMandri of Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, representing David Daleiden, explained that before David went public with the information in CMP’s undercover videos, “he took it to law enforcement, over ten separate contacts with law enforcement and public officials within a one-year period.”
  • Paul Jonna, also with FCDF, representing CMP undercover investigator Adrian Lopez, told the jury, “This case is about undercover reporting, the First Amendment, the rights of ordinary citizens to expose unethical and potentially illegal conduct on the part of large and powerful corporations.”
  • Horatio Mihet of Liberty Counsel, on behalf of CMP undercover investigator Sandra Merritt, told the jury that “as difficult as it was for Ms. Merritt to hear that evidence [of violent crimes in fetal organ harvesting], she will tell you that she just couldn’t ignore it. She believed that the public had a right to know what Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry were doing.”

Proceedings continue at 8 A.M. on Friday, October 4, in San Francisco Federal District Court at 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102, in Courtroom 2 on Floor 17.

9/12 Day 6 Planned Parenthood Undercover Video Prosecution Summary

After six days of top Planned Parenthood doctors and abortion industry-big wigs making shocking admissions on the witness stand, the California Attorney General’s office has finally rested in their baseless case against CMP investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Today’s questioning of Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Doe 10 and CA DOJ Agent Cardwell yielded big revelations:

  • In the lunch meeting with Daleiden and Merritt, Doe 10 discusses a “less crunchy” technique to get more whole fetal specimens. When asked by Defense what she meant, Doe 10 said she meant switching between electric vacuum vs manual suction syringe to harvest intact fetal tissue.
  • Doe 10 testified yesterday she expected the lunch meeting to be private, yet after prompting by Defense today about communicating her expectation of privacy to parties involved at luncheon, Doe 10 said she never did.
  • Defense counsel showed Doe 10 several clips in which she continued her conversation in front of restaurant wait staff, and then asked Doe 10 if she lowered her voice, changed the subject, or paused. Doe 10 said she did not.
  • Special Agent Cardwell, the lead investigator on the AG’s case, indicated his focus was finding “potential victims” for the AG’s office to include in prosecution as he was tasked, not investigating the elements of the California recording law.
  • Defense attorneys asked Agent Cardwell if he watched all of the CMP undercover videos being used as evidence by the AG’s office to prosecute David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, and he said he didn’t. Defense asked how he could have conducted thorough investigation if he didn’t watch all of the Does’ videos. He responded he was only looking to identify “potential victims” for the AG’s case.
  • The California recording law, PC 632, defines “confidential communication” to exclude “any other circumstance in which the parties to the communication may reasonably expect that the communication may be overheard or recorded.” When questioned if he asked Does 6, 7, 11, 13, 14 if they could be overheard, Agent Cardwell said he never asked the Does that question.
  • When presenting evidence to judge for AG’s arrest warrant against Daleiden and Merritt, the warrant affidavit did not mention Doe’s 5 statement to Agent Cardwell that she could be overheard or the public setting in which Doe 4 was recorded (elevator and hotel lobby) or explain how these circumstances hold up against CA Penal Code 632.
  • Agent Cardwell admitted that in the course of his investigation for the AG’s office he never visited the Westin St. Francis hotel where the 2014 National Abortion Federation annual meeting and the recordings of Does 1 through 8 took place.
  • Agent Cardwell testified that when he took statements from the Does in his investigation for the AG’s office, he did not check their claims of “confidentiality” against the elements of the California recording law.
  • Deputy Attorney General Johnette Jauron, the lead prosecutor on the case, objected that the CA recording law PC 632 has no definition of confidentiality, to audible laughter in the courtroom. In reality, PC 632 defines “confidential communication” in subsection (c).

Proceedings will continue at 9:00 A.M. on Friday, September 13, in Department 10 of the San Francisco Superior Court, 850 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA 94103.

9/11 Day 5 Planned Parenthood Undercover Video Prosecution Summary

It was a contentious fifth day at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco. First, Judge Christopher Hite heard arguments on the Attorney General’s request for a gag order against Daleiden, Merritt and their attorneys for the duration of the public hearing. The AG’s request was baseless and Judge Hite ruled against the gag order on First Amendment grounds. Next, StemExpress’ Doe 12 returned for cross examination after her gruesome testimony last Thursday. She was followed by former PPLA Medical Director Doe 10.

  • AG’s office not only sought gag order but also sought an unfounded ‘stay away’ order against Daleiden on behalf of Doe 12. Judge Hite ruled against the AG on First Amendment grounds and the lack of any evidence of wrongdoing by the Defendants.
  • When the defense asked Doe 12 if her Medical Director, Dr. Ronald Berman, also worked for Planned Parenthood as an abortion provider at the same time he was employed by StemExpress, Doe 12 refused to answer. Later she admitted to knowing her medical director did, at some point, perform abortions at multiple locations.
  • The defense presented Doe 12 with the 2010 contract submitted by Planned Parenthood to the U.S. Congress which set out the terms for StemExpress’ purchase of “products of conception” from abortions at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. Doe 12 questioned the veracity of the document.
  • Doe 12 impugned Daleiden and Merritt on the stand several times, enough to be admonished by Judge Hite. She was told to answer only the questions asked of her by defense counsel.
  • Shortly after CMP’s videos were released, StemExpress sued CMP. Documents from that lawsuit included a sworn declaration by Doe 12 in which she admitted an NDA was sent to Biomax representatives only after their undercover dinner meeting with StemExpress. When asked about the prior testimony she signed, Doe 12 stubbornly refused to recognize it as her own. Doe 12 accused defense counsel and Daleiden of doctoring documents.
  • Doe 10, a longtime Planned Parenthood medical director, stated she expects her “business” meetings in “public” places like restaurants to be private and confidential.
  • Doe 10 testified that while she was medical director of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, there were no rules at PPLA against changing abortion “techniques” in order to harvest better quality fetal organs and tissue. She also stated that prior to the release of CMP’s undercover videos, Planned Parenthood did not make a distinction between changing an abortion “method” and changing an abortion “technique” to get better fetal tissue.
  • Doe 10 indicated at first that PPLA supplied fetal tissue directly to university researchers, but then after watching an undercover video clip of herself saying the same thing, claimed that PPLA only supplied fetal tissue to middleman company Novogenix Laboratories, LLC.

Proceedings resume at 9:00 A.M. Thursday, September 12, in Department 10 of the San Francisco Superior Court, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.

9/10 Day 4 Planned Parenthood Undercover Video Prosecution Summary

Day 4 of the Preliminary Hearing in the California Attorney General’s case against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, brought on behalf of Planned Parenthood, moved at a much slower pace than the first three days last week. On the stand for the entire day was the Attorney General’s lead investigator on the case from the California Department of Justice, who participated in serving Kamala Harris’ political search warrant in a political raid on Daleiden’s home.

  • The AG’s office attempted to submit into evidence documents entirely irrelevant to the charges brought against Daleiden and Merritt, such as exhibit booth applications from Maryland and documents from Planned Parenthood in Texas. The AG tried to pass off rough draft undercover business cards with Microsoft Word placeholder “Lorem Ipsum” characters as “fake identification” to laughter in the courtroom.
  • The prosecution attempted to describe paper print-outs of undercover photo IDs as “counterfeit drivers’ licenses.” The CA DOJ agent admitted on cross examination that the documents were not capable of being used for government purposes and he would not arrest someone possessing them.
  • The CA DOJ agent also testified that he spoke to Planned Parenthood lawyers about what kind of evidence to collect from David Daleiden’s home, especially Daleiden’s recording devices.
  • California law specifically authorizes recording of even confidential conversations if the purpose is to gather evidence of violent crime. The CA DOJ witness testified that he did not write the footnote in his arrest affidavit for Daleiden and Merritt that disregarded this key provision of the California recording law, indicating it was never investigated at all.
  • Although the preliminary hearing is public, the AG’s office filed a last-minute motion to place a gag order on the proceedings, falsely and irrationally alleging some kind of link between David Daleiden’s defense of First Amendment civil rights on Tucker Carlson Friday night, and unconfirmed threats reported by Doe 12 on Thursday night. Doe 12’s credibility is already in question since the inconsistencies in her testimony on Thursday.

Proceedings continue at 9 A.M. Wednesday, September 11, in Department 10 of the San Francisco Superior Court, 850 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA 94103.