October 31, 2023

Thomas More Society Files Motion to Dismiss Political Charges Against Undercover Journalist David Daleiden

David Daleiden
On October 26, Thomas More Society attorneys representing pro-life undercover journalist David Daleiden filed a motion to dismiss political charges brought against him by pro-abortion California prosecutors and Planned Parenthood. The motion alleges that California's law prohibiting the recording of "confidential" conversations violates the First Amendment.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July 2023 (Project Veritas v. Schmidt) that Oregon's law prohibiting so-called "confidential" conversations in public spaces violated the First Amendment. Thomas More Society attorneys argue that California's recording law is similar, and therefore also violates the First Amendment.

Daleiden currently faces nine felony counts for alleged violations of California recording and other related laws. In 2015, he posed as a worker for a medical research company seeking to purchase body parts harvested from aborted children. He recorded conversations with Planned Parenthood officials, during which they disclosed information about their harvesting techniques. These techniques illegally modified abortion procedures in an effort to obtain more intact body parts. Further, the recorded footage suggests that Planned Parenthood harvested organs from children born alive during attempted abortions.

“The Ninth Circuit has recognized the First Amendment value in undercover recording, especially in public settings and on topics of public interest,” shared Peter Breen, the Thomas More Society's executive vice president and head of litigation. “David Daleiden did exactly that, recording high level Planned Parenthood personnel in open settings, discussing and admitting conduct that violates numerous state and federal laws. It’s long past time for this political prosecution to be dismissed.”

“There is absolutely no compelling government interest in prohibiting recordings of speech in public settings, including those at issue in this case,” Breen continued. “David Daleiden’s 30-month investigation generated videos and evidence that spurred Congressional hearings, criminal referrals, policy and law changes, along with nationwide efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.”