Sunday, January 17, 2016

Planned Parenthood Files RICO Lawsuit Over Videos

On Thursday, Planned Parenthood filed a wide ranging lawsuit against the Center for Medical Progress over heavily edited widely-publicized videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling fetal tissue to researchers.  The videos led to federal and state legislative investigations and efforts to cut off government funding.  The complaint (full text) in Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. v. Center for Medical Progress, (ND CA, filed 1/14/2016) alleges violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization statute, as well as invasion of privacy, conspiracy, breach of contract, trespass and wiretapping. The 65-page complaint alleges in part:
This complaint details a complex criminal enterprise conceived and executed by anti-abortion extremists. The express aim of the enterprise— which stretched over years and involved fake companies, fake identifications, and large-scale illegal taping— was to demonize Planned Parenthood, harass and intimidate its dedicated staff, and interrupt its operations, all with the ultimate goal of interfering with women’s access to legal abortion....
Defendants ... went public with a vicious online video smear campaign, releasing a series of YouTube videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood violated federal law related to tissue donation. In fact, these videos were heavily manipulated, with critical content deliberately deleted, and disconnected portions sewn together to create a misleading impression.
TPM reports on the lawsuit.