When Judge William Orrick slapped a restraining order on David Daleiden's Center for Medical Progress last week, the ruling was far more devastating to Daleiden than had been previously reported.
In his 42-page ruling, Judge Orrick said this:
Having reviewed the records or transcripts in full and in context, I find that no NAF attendee admitted to engaging in, agreed to engage in, or expressed interest in engaging in potentially illegal sale of fetal tissue for profit. The recordings tend to show an express rejection of Daleiden’s and his associates’ proposals or, at most, discussions of interest in being paid to recoup the costs incurred by clinics to facilitate collection of fetal tissue for scientific research, which NAF argues is legal.
In the text of the ruling, he outlines the sleazy and underhanded tactics employed by Daleiden to try and elicit a damning statement on the part of NAF members, but when none was forthcoming, he instead edited the videos to make it seem as though they said it, just as they did to Planned Parenthood.
As for Daleiden's allegations of criminal wrongdoing, Judge Orrick had some answers to that as well.
I have reviewed the recordings relied on by defendants and find no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. At the very most, some of the individuals expressed an interest in exploring a relationship with defendants' fake company in response to defendants entreaties of how "profitable" it can be and how tissue donation can assist in furthering research. There are no express agreements to profit from the sale of fetal tissue or to change the timing of abortions to allow for tissue procurement.
Judge Orrick also dealt with the questions of public interest as weighed against the privacy of NAF participants, especially with regard to "new information," characterized as the insensitive approach Dr. Nucatola and others took in speaking of abortion and medical research. He wasn't buying the argument that it was new information, specifically citing other cases and Congressional testimony about the subject.
He ruled this way:
The public interest in additional information on this issue cannot, standing alone, outweigh the competing interests of NAF and its members' expectations of privacy, their ability to perform their professions, and their personal security.
It is also this very information that could -- if released and taken out of the context that it was shared in by NAF members -- result in the sort of disparagement, intimidation, and harassment of which NAF members who were recorded during the Annual Meetings are afraid.
In other words, Mr. Daleiden, using information like that and twisting it to your cruel ends really does have consequences for real, flesh-and-blood people.
And yes, it was entirely on purpose, as Judge Orrick also notes:
The record before me demonstrates that defendants infiltrated the NAF meetings with the intent to disregard the confidentiality provisions and secretly record participants and presentations at those meetings. Defendants also admit that only a small subset of the total material gathered implicate any potential criminal wrongdoing. I have reviewed those transcripts and recordings and find no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. That defendants did not promptly turn over those recordings to law enforcement likewise belies their claim that they uncovered criminal wrongdoing and instead supports NAF's contention that defendants' goal instead is to falsely portray the operations of NAF's members through continued release of its "curated" videos as part of its strategy to alter the political landscape with respect to abortion and the public perception of NAF's members.
[h/t Little Green Footballs]