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David DaleidenJim Hale / LifeSiteNews

SAN FRANCISCO, October 23, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Defense lawyers say they scored a major breakthrough on Day 12 of the Planned Parenthood federal civil trial when the judge let the jury see ABC's 20/20 exposé of illegal trafficking in aborted baby body parts that inspired David Daleiden to undertake a similar covert investigation in 2013.

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Moreover, the screening of ABC journalist Chris Wallace’s 12-minute investigative report from 2000 ended Daleiden’s second day of testimony Tuesday, so was likely top of mind for the nine men and three women of the jury as they left the court, and gave them ample time to consider the similarities between Wallace’s and Daleiden’s Center for Medical Progress (CMP) undercover stings.

“That is how the jury went home today, with that video in their minds to consider overnight, so really good day,” noted Peter Breen, Thomas More Society senior counsel and one of Daleiden’s attorneys, in a video update on the trial, now in its third week.

Daleiden testified that seeing the 20/20 exposé in 2010 prompted him to start investigating the illegal market in aborted baby body parts, which had thrived in 10 years since the ABC episode aired.

“We’ve been fighting very hard since the beginning of this trial to try to show that video in the federal civil case,” said Breen, adding that the 20/20 episode had been shown in the preliminary hearing of a parallel criminal case against Daleiden and Merritt.

Ironically, in the ABC exposé, then-Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt acknowledged to Wallace that the selling aborted baby parts for profit is a crime and perpetrators should be prosecuted.

However, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has taken a vastly different view of the undercover videos CMP released in 2015 after a 30-month sting operation that Daleiden, 30, planned and executed. 

The groundbreaking videos show the abortion giant’s top executives haggling over the price of aborted baby parts and discussing altering abortion procedures, including changing the baby’s position to breech — a description of the illegal partial-birth abortion method — to obtain intact organs for market.

The shocking revelations outraged the public and sparked congressional and senate investigations, both of which then requested that the Department of Justice and FBI investigate Planned Parenthood for criminal activity.

In retaliation, PPFA and 10 affiliates are suing Daleiden, CMP undercover reporters Sandra Merritt and Geraldo Lopez, and CMP founding board members Albin Rhomberg and Troy Newman of Operation Rescue for potentially millions of dollars in damages. They have accused the five of multiple crimes, the most serious of which is violating RICO laws.

Planned Parenthood is “trying desperately” to tar the pro-life investigators as being in bad faith, said Breen.

But “when you look at the 20/20 video,” and at the CMP video the jury saw last Thursday of Dr. Deborah Nucatola, in which she discussed how she would “crush above” and below the baby’s thorax to obtain intact organs, they are “very, very similar,” he pointed out.

“You can’t say that there was bad faith. In fact, it shows that there was incredible good faith,” Breen said. “That’s was one of the wonderful points of this 20/20 video today.”

Jurors would be bound to wonder why there “was no problem with ABC 20/20 doing this undercover investigation, very similar to David Daleiden, yet in this case, they’re suing the person who did the undercover video,” echoed TMS senior counsel Matt Heffron.

“The jury has to be thinking to themselves this lawsuit doesn’t make any sense.” 

However, as federal Judge William Orrick explained to the jury, there is an essential difference between the CMP and the ABC covert investigations.

The latter took place in Kansas, which does not require two-party consent to the recording of confidential communications, as California does, and breaking that California law is among the crimes of which Planned Parenthood is accusing the defendants.

The pro-life legal team is arguing the law stipulates that conversations that can be overheard are not confidential, and it exempts covert recording without consent when those doing so believe they are collecting evidence of violent crimes against the person.

Much of Tuesday was taken up with Planned Parenthood lawyers grilling Daleiden about this covert operation. He calmly explained that he believed the laws banning the sale of human baby body parts for profit were not being enforced, and that this needed to be brought to light and to the attention of law enforcement.

Indeed, even though Planned Parenthood called Daleiden to the stand as their witness, his “excellent” testimony “helped our side much more than it helped them,” observed Heffron.

After Daleiden’s testimony today, the court will adjourn until October 31. It is expected that the federal civil trial will continue until Thanksgiving. 

To read the full transcript of Tuesday’s proceedings, go here.