Friday, November 15, 2019
New York Times (Nov. 15, 2019): Planned Parenthood Awarded More Than $2 Million in Lawsuit Over Secret Evidence, by Sabrina Tavernise:
On Friday, a jury in San Francisco found that the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and awarded punitive and compensatory damages of $2.3 million. In 2015, the organization's leader David R. Daleiden and Sandra Merritt created a phony tissue procurement company and used false identities to meet with Planned Parenthood employees. Daleiden secretly taped the meetings and posted deceptively edited videos. The jury found CMP, Daleiden and Merritt committed fraud, trespass, and made illegal recordings and breached contractual confidentiality provisions. The jury found that Planned Parenthood was entitled to $469,361 in compensatory damages and $870,000 in punitive damages. Under RICO, compensatory damages are tripled.
Daleiden and Merritt argued that they were undercover journalists. However, the district judge in the case ruled that journalism is not a defense for the illegal acts of fraud, trespass and secret recording.