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Judge Fines Daleiden $200,000 for Posting of Undercover Planned Parenthood Videos

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick charged David Daleiden and his attorneys about $200,000 in fines for releasing undercover videos from a National Abortion Federation conference which the judge had barred from release.

Orrick held Daleiden in contempt of court in July after his attorneys posted the undercover videos to their website.

Matthew Geragos, who is representing Daleiden’s attorneys, Steve Cooley and Brentford Ferreira, argued at the time that the lawyers didn’t think they were bound by the injunction in the civil case, and posted links to the videos in order to find witnesses who could support Daleiden’s defense.

The judge fined the defendants $195,359.04, less than the roughly $287,482.00 that the National Abortion Federation requested.

“In setting this amount, I have considered the magnitude of ‘the harm threatened by continued contumacy, and the probable effectiveness of any suggested sanction in bringing about the result desired,’” Orrick wrote.

“NAF’s counsel have not justified their requested rates in reference to fee awards in other cases or with affidavits demonstrating that the requested rates are reasonable for similarly situated attorneys in similar practice areas,” he added.

“Obviously any lowering of the amount is appreciated except for the fact that the injunction is still in place and has a chilling effect on criminal defense counsel,” Geragos said of the decision.

Ferreira on Monday called the federal judge’s contempt order “an unprecedented infringement on a state criminal case.”

Daleiden said that the fine was an unconscionable attack on his rights to defend himself. Geragos told the Associated Press that he is appealing.

Daleiden’s Center for Medical Progress is behind a series of undercover videos which expose Planned Parenthood employees discussing trafficking in fetal remains. When the videos were initially released in 2015, even Hillary Clinton called the footage, which led to a Congressional inquiry, “disturbing.”

Daleiden has questioned Judge Orrick’s objectivity in the case, highlighting the judge’s past ties with Planned Parenthood, and has appealed the gag order on his videos to the Supreme Court.

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