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.