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Pro-life filmmakers say judge who has ties to Planned Parenthood should be removed from videos cases

The Center for Medical Progress released a series of undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood employees appearing to negotiate the price of aborted fetal body parts. The organization is seeking to disqualify the judge in lawsuits brought against them. (Image source: YouTube/The Center for Medical Progress)

The Center for Medical Progress is seeking to have the judge in lawsuits brought against them by Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation disqualified, citing his ties to a Planned Parenthood clinic.

What happened?

The Center for Medical Progress filed a petition for a writ of mandamus Wednesday at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in an effort to have Judge William Orrick removed from Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation’s lawsuits against the pro-life group.

The FBI is now investigating allegations raised by the videos that Planned Parenthood made a profit from the sale of aborted fetal body parts. Planned Parenthood has denied illegal conduct.

David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, told reporters Wednesday that Orrick “helped open, run, and fund a Planned Parenthood clinic” in partnership with a California family resource center. That clinic is part of Planned Parenthood Northern California, one of the affiliates now suing the Center for Medical Progress.

Daleiden also said that Orrick and his wife made financial contributions to the partnership between the family resource center and the Planned Parenthood clinic, and that Orrick's wife uses her husband’s image in Facebook posts supportive of Planned Parenthood that describe the pro-life group’s videos as “domestic terrorism.”

Orrick is behind the gag order preventing the Center for Medical Progress from releasing the remainder of its undercover footage. Daleiden called the unreleased footage “damning and incriminating” and said Orrick is “censoring” it.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Peter Breen told reporters that such a measure is “extraordinary” and it should be taken seriously.

Brent Ferreira, one of Daleiden's defense attorneys, told reporters, “There has never been a case where so much government authority has been brought… to silence one journalist.”

Ferreira argued that the videos are also a defense of his client because they depict “the crimes he was investigating.”

“It’s the most corrupt assault on the First Amendment I have ever seen,” Ferreira said of the case.

The pro-life group has asked the Supreme Court to lift Orrick’s gag order.

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