By Cheryl Sullenger
San Francisco, CA – Attorneys with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), who represent Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, filed an appeal brief last week with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal seeks a reversal of a hefty $16 million total judgment brought against him and three co-defendants in a retaliatory lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood after an undercover journalism project exposed their involvement in the illegal trafficking of aborted baby body parts.
Newman’s 68-page brief was one of four appeals briefs filed in the Planned Parenthood case. The other briefs were submitted by attorneys for Newman’s co-defendants David Daleiden, Sandra Merritt, and Albin Rhomberg.
Newman’s attorneys argue that the jury erred in finding Newman culpable for violating the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law while consulting on the three-year undercover investigation into the sale of aborted baby remains by Planned Parenthood, members of the National Abortion Federation, and other abortionists.
They also argue that Newman’s Constitutional Rights were violated when the jury was allowed to draw twenty negative inferences from invocations of Fifth Amendment privilege by Newman, despite clear court precedence that states no negative inferences can be drawn from invoking the Fifth Amendment. Newman’s attorneys also argue that some of the adverse inferences were not supported by evidence presented during the trial.
Newman served as a Board Member for the Center for Medical Progress, which conducted the undercover investigation that recorded public conversations with Planned Parenthood executives and others that revealed discussions about the sale of aborted baby tissues and organs. Once the videos were released beginning in July 2015, Planned Parenthood launched a manipulative public relations campaign that attacked the videos as being “fake” and “deceptively edited.”
However, at the time of trial last fall, Planned Parenthood admitted in court that the undercover footage was indeed authentic. Nevertheless, attorneys for all four defendants were prohibited from making any defense based on the veracity of the videos.
During the Trump Administration, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was transformed from the most liberal and most overturned court in the country to one that is more ideologically balanced. This has given Newman new hope that he and all the other pro-life defendants in this case may be given an opportunity to receive impartial justice.
“I am grateful to Ed White and the rest of my ACLJ legal team for my excellent defense throughout this case. I look forward to the outcome of this appeal and expect that I will be fully exonerated either by the Ninth Circuit or by the U.S. Supreme Court, should the case get that far,” said Newman. “I am proud of the work done by the Center for Medical Progress in exposing the unethical – and likely illegal – activity committed by Planned Parenthood. That work launched a national conversation about the immorality of trafficking in aborted baby remains. Even though we did nothing wrong, Planned Parenthood sought retaliation against the four of us through the courts. Justice in this case would be a reversal of all claims against us all.”