Judge to consider contempt against antiabortion group leader after release of Planned Parenthood videos

David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, in a 2015 file photo.
David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, in a 2015 file photo.
(Washington Post / Getty Images)

A federal judge said Thursday that he would consider holding the leader of an antiabortion group in contempt after links to videos that the judge had barred from release appeared on the website of the man’s attorneys.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick ordered David Daleiden and his attorneys Steve Cooley and Brentford J. Ferreira to appear at a June 14 hearing to consider contempt sanctions.

A phone message left at Cooley and Ferreira’s law firm was not immediately returned. A representative for Daleiden said she expected to have a statement later.


Daleiden is a leader of the Center for Medical Progress, which has released several secretly recorded videos that it says show Planned Parenthood employees selling fetal tissue for profit, which is illegal. Planned Parenthood said the videos were deceptively edited to support false claims.

Special report: How anti-abortion activists used undercover Planned Parenthood videos to further a political cause »

The videos stoked the American abortion debate when they were released in 2015 and increased congressional heat against Planned Parenthood that has yet to subside.

Daleiden is facing felony charges in California accusing him of recording people without their permission in violation of state law.

Orrick issued a preliminary injunction that blocked the release of videos made by the Center for Medical Progress at meetings of the National Abortion Federation, an association of abortion providers. He also blocked the release of any names of NAF members.

The National Abortion Federation had argued that releasing the videos and names would endanger its members.


A federal appeals court in March upheld Orrick’s ruling. Daleiden has criticized the injunction as an attack on the 1st Amendment.

Orrick said another attorney for Daleiden, Catherine Short, confirmed during a conference call with him on Thursday that links to the barred videos and the names of at least 11 NAF members had appeared on Cooley and Ferreira’s website. Neither Daleiden nor Cooley nor Ferreira participated in the call, Orrick said.

Orrick ordered any video links and references to the identities of any NAF members taken down.