David Daleiden, one of the pro-life journalists facing charges for his part in an undercover investigation into Planned Parenthood's selling of baby body parts, is speaking out against the trial judge.
He's suggesting Judge William Orrick is so biased against him and his co-defendant, Susan Merritt, that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals should remove him from the case.
"Judge Orrick is part of the Planned Parenthood family," stated Daleiden, head of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) investigative journalists.
During a call-in news conference, Daleiden and his legal team accused Orrick and his wife of helping to get a Planned Parenthood clinic into a San Francisco family resource center and then maintain it.
That clinic is Planned Parenthood Northern California, which is a plaintiff against Daleiden and Merritt.
Daleiden Accused of 'Domestic Terrorism'
They also charge that Orrick's wife has used his image on Facebook to back Planned Parenthood's accusations against CMP and its undercover videos targeting the trade in baby body parts.
"Judge Orrick's image has been deployed repeatedly online in support of terrible statements referring to the CMP videos as 'domestic terrorism,' literally 'domestic terrorism,'" stated Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, a pro-life legal group.
"And they were posted there not by a stranger, not by a third party, but by his own spouse," Breen noted. "That to us is egregious behavior. It is clear evidence of bias."
Charles LiMandri of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund agreed.
"If that doesn't raise an appearance of partiality towards one side, honestly, I don't know what would," said LiMandri said.
Daleiden warned, "Whenever you hear Planned Parenthood or their allies churning out the talking point that 'these videos have been discredited because a federal judge has found that the videos are dishonest' or 'a federal judge has found that these videos don't show any criminality,' Judge Orrick is the judge they're referring to."
LiMandri insisted the legal team's petition to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals presents strong evidence that, as he put it," Judge Orrick is in fact biased and cannot be impartial to David Daleiden, the Center for Medical Progress and the other defendants in this case."
Planned Parenthood's 'Last Best Weapon'
Breen cited the judge's own words as evidence of his partiality.
"During oral argument, Judge Orrick had stated that David was trying to 'cause real harm to human beings.' We believe that was a statement that was gratuitous. It was put forward without supporting evidence," he said.
According to Breen, "It shows for us further evidence of a bias."
"He is the last best weapon that Planned Parenthood has on their side as they're now facing federal investigation from the Department of Justice," Daleiden said of Orrick.
LiMandri noted, "Planned Parenthood knows they're in serious trouble. The public perception of them turned dramatically when these videos were released."
LiMandri suggested the abortion provider and its allies – allegedly Judge Orrick among them – are coming out with both barrels blazing as a warning that, "They're going to punish anybody that tries to bring to light their transgressions."
Assault on the First Amendment
Brent Ferreira, one of Daleiden's defense attorneys, claimed, "There has never been a case where so much government authority has been brought to bear to silence one journalist."
"It's the most corrupt assault on the First Amendment I have ever seen," he added.
Another Daleiden defense attorney, former Los Angeles County district attorney Steve Cooley, suggested, "It's time for the media to recognize the extent this happens to a citizen journalist like David Daleiden and Susan Merritt on such an important issue – if this can happen to them, it can happen to other honest investigative journalists depending on the issue and who's running the show."
Breen added, "The most important thing is to shine a bright spotlight on the wrongdoing that is occurring."
Daleiden insisted, "Basically all of Planned Parenthood's advantages or any victories that they've had so far in the past three-and-a-half years are just based on rigging the system."
He said this petition to toss Judge Orrick off the case "is our effort to unrig the system."