Attorneys for citizen journalist and pro-life activist David Daleiden filed a motion this week for California Attorney General Rob Bonta to recuse his office from Daleiden’s prosecution for the investigative journalism that uncovered Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of aborted baby body parts.
The criminal prosecution has been ongoing for seven years now, making Bonta the second attorney general to inherit the work of former Attorney General Kamala Harris, who first launched the political investigation against Daleiden. Xavier Becerra, now secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, picked up where his predecessor Harris left off when he filed 15 criminal charges against Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress colleague Sandra Merrit in 2017.
In 2016, on behalf of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation (NAF), Harris ordered a raid on Daleiden’s home, seizing his camera equipment and hard drives. As I wrote in 2019 during preliminary hearings, this was a political hit job to protect the abortion giants whose criminal activity Daleiden exposed:
Harris personally met with six Planned Parenthood executives in March 2016, at the attorney general’s Los Angeles office. An email outlining action items from the meeting shows that they discussed both Planned Parenthood’s political agenda in the state of California and her investigation into Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress. Two of the six executives in that meeting were used as witnesses in Harris’ criminal investigation.
Two weeks after that Los Angeles meeting, Harris ordered a search warrant specifically seeking Daleiden’s unreleased videos and documents, which should have been protected by the California shield law protecting citizen journalists’ unpublished materials. Harris has received tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions from Planned Parenthood-affiliated entities.
This latest motion from Daleiden’s legal team recounts how the attorney general’s office under Harris’s leadership “invidiously targeted Mr. Daleiden’s exercise of First Amendment rights.” They detail how Harris colluded with Planned Parenthood and NAF officials, the latter of which spent over $22,000 in attorney fees consulting with the attorney general’s office on key parts of the search warrant to seize Daleiden’s videos and equipment.
In addition to asking for Bonta’s administration to recuse the attorney general’s office for his predecessor’s “discriminatory intent,” this latest motion asks for the discovery of potentially new and additional conflicts of interest stemming from Harris’s political prosecution.
Daleiden’s legal team alleges that the attorney general’s office never disclosed the identities of all the individuals present at the raid of Daleiden’s home in 2016. Daleiden and his attorneys believe an official for either NAF or Planned Parenthood was present with state agents at the search. The allegation is particularly concerning considering evidence that NAF attorneys reported the day after the search warrant was executed that they were“coordinating review of new videos.”
“The unarmed woman who was present at the search must be identified and subpoenaed to testify at an evidentiary hearing,” the motion states. “It is suspected that she was obtaining the new videos that were given to a colleague of Mr. Foranat Morrison and Forester, the next day.”
Despite the fact that Daleiden’s undercover reporting has been corroborated by the successful prosecution of fetal body parts sales reported in southern California and by multiple congressional investigations, the attorney general’s office enters its seventh year of pursuing Daleiden as the first person ever in the state of California to be prosecuted under the state’s electronic eavesdropping law, penal code 632.
There is no shortage of examples of activists and journalists who use concealed-camera videos in California to expose criminal behavior, such as the undercover stings investigating animal cruelty at farms and slaughterhouses. California prosecutors only seem to take issue with undercover videos when they expose cruelty to women and unborn children.
In 2019, Daleiden told The Federalist these videos are his life’s work. “I’m absolutely willing to take it as far as it has to go to make sure that the First Amendment civil rights of … all Americans are protected and not able to be preyed upon by people like Kamala Harris,” he said.
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