California AG seeks gag order to restrict pro-life reporting on Daleiden hearing
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SAN FRANCISCO, California, September 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — California’s attorney general has asked for a gag order against the lawyers for David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt during the preliminary criminal hearing of the pro-life investigative journalists.
Daleiden and Merritt are charged with 15 felony counts of illegal taping of confidential information in connection with undercover videos they released in 2015 after a three-year covert investigation into Planned Parenthood’s buying and selling of baby body parts.
Filed by Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Deputy Attorney General Johnette Jauron, the motion cited a LifeSiteNews article on the testimony of “Doe 12,” the CEO of StemExpress, when it asked for a gag order “to protect the safety of the Does witnesses.” (Read the full motion here.)
The motion also cites the Center for Medical Progress Twitter account for "describing testimony by the Does in an almost live feed."
The motion asks Judge Christopher Hite, who is presiding over the hearing, to “order the defendants to not reference the victims or any matter which may be taken to identify them or their livelihood in any matter. We request an order to protect the safety of the Does witnesses."
The order also asks that the court "exercise its discretion to limit the statements the parties may make in public in regards to the witness testimony until after the conclusion of the preliminary hearing."
Hite had previously ordered that the names of the 14 accusers of Daleiden and Merritt remain sealed during the prosecution, but said all testimony heard in court can be published.
The motion for the gag order states that California Department of Justice Special Agent Brian Cardwell, who testified at the preliminary hearing Tuesday (see related story), interviewed Doe 12 “after her preliminary hearing testimony on Thursday, September 5, 2019 in this Department. In that interview, Doe 12 expressed fear and harassment she and her company have suffered immediately after her testimony.”
The motion states that the “news site lifesite news quotes one of Daleiden’s counsel discussing, inaccurately, testimony of Doe 12.”
LifeSiteNews reported that Doe 12 essentially admitted in her testimony last Thursday that StemExpress supplies beating fetal hearts and intact fetal heads to medical researchers.
She also admitted that the baby’s head could be procured attached to the baby’s body or “could be torn away.”
Jauron filed the motion at the end of the day on Tuesday, and Hite requested the defendants be prepared to argue their case 9:00 a.m. Wednesday.
“The prosecution had given us an indication they might be doing this at the close of the day,” said Peter Breen, lawyer for Daleiden and vice president and senior counsel with the Thomas More Society, which is defending Daleiden pro bono.
“They filed a motion for a gag order against defence counsel. We’re going home tonight to be back in front of the judge at 9 o’clock tomorrow morning to address it,” said Breen.
“We think it’s outrageous,” he added.
“We’re going to fight it very, very hard. It’s an incredible violation of the First Amendment, of the people’s right to know, of the right to a public trial,” Breen told LifeSiteNews.
“Everything that Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation have been trying to do is to shut down anyone knowing about their scheme to sell fetal parts and organs for profit which involves babies born alive, manipulating abortion techniques without telling women that they’re doing that to them, terrible things that they’re doing for money and not for the best interests of the patients,” he said.
“And of course, for us who are pro-life, they’re taking and treating these poor little children like they’re cattle to be chopped up and shipped out,” he said.
“It’s disgusting and so we’re fighting very hard on that front to get word about it and we’re doing it in a way that’s legal and appropriate.”
Watch this special report where LifeSite Managing Editor Patrick Craine speaks with reporter Lianne Laurence who is on the ground in San Francisco covering the criminal case against pro-life investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt: