PPFA CAPS Director Jen Castle, Director of Medical Standards June Gupta, and CMP’s David Daleiden took the stand today. Daleiden was brought to the stand by Planned Parenthood in what will likely be several days of testimony and cross examination.
- Both Castle and Gupta testified that Planned Parenthood did not get permission from them to bring the lawsuit against CMP et al on their behalf.
- Defense attorney Paul Jonna asked PPFA’s Director of Medical Standards June Gupta in cross examination whether she was concerned by comments made by PPFA’s Dr. Deborah Nucatola and PPOSBC’s Dr. Jennefer Russo discussing the change of medical procedures to harvest more intact fetal body parts, Gupta stated she was not concerned.
- Gupta also revealed Nucatola directed her to connect StemExpress and to other PP affiliates for potential business partnerships.
- PP attorney Rhonda Trotter began questioning David Daleiden mid-morning. Most of Trotter’s questions were related to CMP and Biomax founding documents as well as Daleiden’s Human Capital Project, the undercover baby body parts trafficking investigation.
- Trotter attempted to elicit an answer from Daleiden as to whether or not Biomax would ever carry out its supposed business purpose to procure baby body parts. Daleiden said ultimately there was no ethical and legal justification for Biomax to do so.
- Disturbed by what he saw during his investigation, Daleiden testified to having held aborted baby body parts in his hands while visiting both Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Texas and Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
The proceedings continue at 8 A.M. on Tuesday, October 22, in San Francisco Federal District Court at 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102, in Courtroom 2 on Floor 17.
Plaintiff Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Chief Operating Officer Melvin Galloway testified for most of Day 9 on PPFA’s damages claims in the lawsuit. Plaintiff Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s Ambulatory Surgical Center Administrator Tram Nguyen gave testimony via videotaped deposition.
- Galloway claimed Planned Parenthood cares about “openness” and referenced this as a “value” multiple times, indicating the organization had nothing to hide. But when asked by the defense about Planned Parenthood’s commitment to transparency, Galloway failed to recall his previous testimony.
- Galloway testified that Planned Parenthood is seeking nearly $600,000 in compensation from CMP for various security upgrades. Included in the damages bills Galloway approved for the lawsuit is money spent on security for political fundraisers, house parties, and other events as well as online social media monitoring services for former CEO Cecile Richards. Nearly $400,000 in invoices are consulting fees to review and make more thorough screening and vetting protocols for newcomers to Planned Parenthood conferences. Galloway was shown an email from Plaintiff Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains CEO Vicki Cowart shortly after the undercover video release, in which PPRM told PPFA that a simple Google search would have alerted conference organizers to the fact that BioMax had no physical address. Galloway discounted PPRM’s suggestion that PPFA was never even doing basic review of new exhibitors at conferences and suggested that PPFA simply had too many exhibitors at conferences to vet them all.
- During Galloway’s cross examination, it was revealed PP has over $1.8 billion worth of assets and an operating budget of $1.5 billion.
- Tram Nguyen testified that she believed what she told BioMax representatives was confidential because of the PPGC NDA, but then admitted she never knew about the NDA itself at the time of the conversations and never identified any information as confidential before disclosure as required in the agreement.
- Nguyen testified that after BioMax emailed PPGC a draft contract that would pay $750 for fetal livers and $1600 for paired liver and thymus from the same fetus, Nguyen forwarded the draft to her supervisor Dyann Santos and stated she wanted to move forward with the agreement.
The proceedings continue at 8 A.M. on Monday, October 21, in San Francisco Federal District Court at 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102, in Courtroom 2 on Floor 17.
Om Day 8 of the jury trial in Planned Parenthood’s federal civil lawsuit, witnesses for Plaintiff Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast lent little credibility to the Houston, TX abortion center’s legal claims.
- Jeffrey Palmer, the CFO of PPGC, testified that CMP investigators only entered PPGC facilities by invitation and not by force. He also testified that defendants did not destroy, vandalize, or cause any damage to the $16 million facility.
- PPGC tried to base several claims off of a non-disclosure agreement signed by BioMax with PPGC prior to the site visit, which specified that any information to be treated as “confidential” must be “identified at the time of disclosure.” PPGC’s Vice President of Research, Melissa Farrell, testified via deposition video that she could not and did not identify any class of information that was “confidential” in her discussions with CMP undercover investigators. In fact, undercover video played of the meeting shows Farrell explicitly telling the BioMax representatives that they will not be discussing anything confidential at the site visit.
- PPGC’s Bonnie Smith, former Vice President of Medical Services, testified that a brief undercover video of her in which she discusses PPGC’s “off and on” history of supplying fetal organs and tissue for experimentation was never released publicly, and that she did not find out it even existed until after Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit was filed. She did not receive any threats or harassment because of the filming.
The proceedings continue at 8 A.M. on Friday, October 18, in San Francisco Federal District Court at 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102, in Courtroom 2 on Floor 17.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.