Doug Mainwaring reports for LifeSiteNews — A judge in San Francisco has ruled that the pro-life defendants in the Planned Parenthood Federation of America v. Center for Medical Progress case – popularly known as the “baby body parts case” – must pay Planned Parenthood over $1.5 million, not including attorney fees which will likely add millions more to what they owe the abortion-committing behemoth.
In November, after the six-week courtroom drama presided over by United States District Judge William H. Orrick concluded, a jury took less than two days to find the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and its undercover investigators guilty of multiple crimes, including violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, wiretapping, and engaging in civil conspiracy.
The roster of those found liable reads like a who’s who of pro-life all stars: Troy Newman, longtime pro-life activist and president of Operation Rescue; David Daleiden, project lead of CMP who became the face of the investigation; Sandra Merritt; Albin Rhomberg; and Gerardo Adrian Lopez. Each has been found “joint and severally liable” for the $1,555,084 judgment.
“It is no longer in dispute that Planned Parenthood sold aborted baby parts for profit and that our video evidence was authentic. They admitted it during our trial,” Newman said in a just-released statement. Newman served as a founding board member of CMP during the undercover investigation.
“I believe when the full truth is finally told – and it wasn’t at our trial – we will all be exonerated, and it will be Planned Parenthood that will be held liable for their crimes in a court of law,” said Newman. “I look forward to that day.”
In 2015, CMP released videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s apparently illegal trade in aborted baby body parts after a 30-month undercover operation.
The groundbreaking videos showed top-level Planned Parenthood executives haggling over prices of aborted baby body parts and discussing how to change abortion procedures to obtain more intact organs. The videos sparked public outrage, congressional and senate hearings, and an ongoing Department of Justice criminal investigation into Planned Parenthood.
The lawsuit pitted “those who practice, advocate for, and profit from unthinkably cruel and barbaric acts on the tiniest of humans against a few individuals who had the tenacity, courage, resourcefulness, and faith to walk into the heart of darkness to expose trafficking in the brains, hearts, livers, lungs, and limbs of pre-born babies,” said LifeSiteNews’ Lianne Laurence, who travelled to San Francisco last fall to cover the civil trial.
In her analysis of the proceedings, Laurence explained:
The significance of the case cannot be overestimated.
This lawsuit is Planned Parenthood’s desperate attempt to permanently discredit the undercover videos the Center for Medical Progress released in 2015 that exposed its part in trafficking baby body parts. The casual brutality of abortionists discussing crushing unborn babies and haggling over the price of fetal organs shocked the world and Planned Parenthood wants to convey that those who exposed them – not their giant abortion corporation – are in the wrong.
It’s also a retaliatory action: Planned Parenthood wants to to crush the pro-life advocates who went undercover and exposed them. The plaintiffs allege CMP’s project lead David Daleiden, undercover journalists Sandra Merritt and Geraldo Adrian Lopez, and founding board members Troy Newman and Albin Rhomberg, committed 15 crimes while carrying out the undercover video project, ranging from breach of contract to racketeering. They claim CMP is liable for paying for everything Planned Parenthood’s personnel bought, such as security upgrades and staff counselling hotlines, after they realized they’d been recorded.
The defendants named in the judgment are:
- David Daleiden, 31, developed and ran the undercover sting operation and is the high-profile, public face of CMP.
- Troy Newman, 54, a veteran pro-life activist, is well-known as the president of Operation Rescue.
- Sandra Merritt, 66, a grandmother who ran a home business and was a part-time teacher, is familiar as co-defendant with Daleiden in an ongoing California state criminal prosecution.
- Gerardo Adrian Lopez, 28, is employed by the Navy as a hospital corpsman in an intensive care neonatal unit, and got involved in the undercover operation after Daleiden met him when he worked at Starbucks and hired him to transcribe the videos.
- Albin Rhomberg is a longtime pro-life advocate and investigator who did graduate studies in high-energy particle physics, taught physics at the University of Wisconsin, and worked in the space program at Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory and at the Johnson Space Flight Center in Texas: in other words, he’s a rocket scientist.
Lawyers from four law firms and four pro-life legal associations represented the five individual defendants, as well as CMP and its alter-ego BioMax.