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David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, Sept. 18, 2019. Lianne Laurence / LifeSiteNews

(LifeSiteNews) — Lawyers representing the undercover investigators who exposed Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting scandal filed a petition last week to review the case, arguing the court made mistakes that provide grounds for a new trial.

The petition was filed December 5 with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case Planned Parenthood Federation of America v. Troy Newman, et al. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) argued in the brief that “rehearing is needed to secure and maintain uniformity of this Court’s decisions and to address questions of exceptional importance, that is, the proper application of RICO and the Fifth Amendment in a civil action.”

ACLJ’s petition comes years after pro-life undercover journalist David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and his partners faced felony charges for exposing Planned Parenthood’s actions of harvesting baby body parts after abortions. The petition calls for a new trial on the grounds of interpretation and implementation errors regarding the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and the Fifth Amendment.

“The purely intrastate production and acquisition of a few IDs did not constitute a violation of the predicate statute, and there is no RICO liability,” the brief states. “By taking an incorrectly broad view of the conduct encompassed within Sections 1028(a)(1)-(2), the panel wrongly broadened the definition of ‘racketeering activity.’”

The document explains that RICO violations include the “knowing production and transfer of false identifications in, or affecting, interstate commerce without lawful authority.” However, the ACLJ argued that Daleiden and his partners did so only within the state of California.

“None of Daleiden’s actions constituted an unlawful production or transfer of IDs in, or affecting, interstate commerce. The district court held, however, that these acts constituted an unspecified number of predicate offenses,” the document states about a claim that the IDs were used to attend events and enter out-of-state locations. “This holding is wrong. A plaintiff must prove that the purportedly unlawful productions or transfers — not any subsequent use of the IDs — were in, or affected interstate commerce.”

The brief also challenged the panel’s qualification of internet use to a RICO violation and argued that “no Plaintiff was directly injured in its [Daleiden, CMP] business or property by reason of the modification, acquisition, or transfer of a few IDs.” Direct injury must be proved to support a legitimate RICO violation, and “it was only through a series of subsequent non-predicate acts that Plaintiffs had any interaction with the IDs.”

In addition to challenging the claims of RICO violations, the ACLJ argued that the court “conveyed to the jury the impression that these individuals were likely hiding evidence of criminal activities” when it “instructed the jury … that it could draw 14 adverse inferences against all Defendants from Defendant Newman’s assertion of his Fifth Amendment privilege, and six additional adverse inferences from two non-parties’ assertion of the privilege.”

The brief explains that the panel presented the inferences as the only way to have gathered the information they provided, whereas attorneys argue that “this is not a case where a witness invoking the privilege was in exclusive possession or control of key information, and no other witnesses or documents could provide that information.”

The lawsuit is one of many filed after CMP released an undercover video of Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, discussing the organization’s role in using partial birth abortion to sell the organs of innocent babies. Although the shocking revelations were met by much horror and backlash, the investigators responsible for unveiling the abortion giant’s scandal were slapped with many legal battles, and the pro-lifers bore the brunt of the punishment in court.

In 2016, Daleiden and fellow undercover journalist Sandra Merritt were charged for false identification and participating in the buying and selling of human body parts while Planned Parenthood walked away with no charges. Similar to the arguments being made within the Ninth Circuit, Daleiden’s attorney, Peter Breen, told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview at the time that “the charges are baseless.”

In April, the pro-lifers appealed the multimillion-dollar punishment they received after exposing Planned Parenthood’s illegal activity.


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