Journalist and abortion activist David Daleiden took the witness stand in a San Francisco courtroom on Tuesday, where he testified that it was an undercover ABC News “20/20” report on fetal tissue trafficking that inspired him to record similar undercover videos.
Daleiden and members of his team at the Center for Medical Progress are in the midst of a jury trial, where they are being sued by Planned Parenthood for allegedly wiretapping, trespassing, and breaking confidentiality while recording undercover videos. The videos in question featured Planned Parenthood executives discussing the profit motives and process of selling the body parts of aborted babies.
So far, the presiding judge has resisted allowing certain videos Daleiden recorded to be shown to the jury. As Planned Parenthood would prefer, the attorneys have been pushed focus only on the legality of the recordings and not the content of the videos recorded. But on Tuesday, the judge allowed defense attorney Charles LiMandri to show an investigative ABC News report that Daleiden said influenced his own undercover project.
Before the video was shown, the judge prefaced the video to the jury with an explanation about differences in state recording laws. “So I’m going to instruct you at the end of the case on the relevant laws that apply in this case. The fact that ABC taped in a restaurant in another state should not impact your decision in this case,” he said.
This video, a story reported by journalist Chris Wallace that aired on March 9, 2000, was played in court on Tuesday.
“The ABC 20/20 producers did their own undercover investigation as well with participants in that fetal organ trafficking ring,” Daleiden said during cross-examination.
Similar to Daleiden’s own undercover work, the video features footage recorded by an undercover ABC producer posed as a potential investor. The producer interviews an abortionist talking about the profits he made from the sale of body parts he harvested from the bodies of babies he aborted.
“We wanted to find out for ourselves how these companies do business,” Wallace says in the report.
In his own investigation, Daleiden also posed as a potential buyer of whole fetal body parts in order to record conversations with Planned Parenthood executives and medical directors. Daleiden’s defense attorney Peter Breen said Planned Parentood’s argument has been to tar Daleiden’s character and paint his team’s investigation as done in bad faith or incorrectly.
“When you look at the ’20/20′ video and you look at the video that was actually brought forward in the Center for Medical Progress investigation, very, very similar,” Breen said. “You can’t say that there was bad faith. In fact, it shows there was incredible good faith.”
Wallace also interviewed former Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt, who said trafficking of fetal organs is inappropriate and that, “Where there is wrong-doing, it should be prosecuted and people who are doing that kind of thing should be brought to justice.”
The trial will continue through Nov. 15.