Ninth Circuit Rebuffs|Anti-Abortion Group

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – For the second time, the Ninth Circuit on Thursday denied an anti-abortion group’s petition to stay discovery in a lawsuit over its secretly taped videos.
The Center for Medical Progress in November appealed a ruling ordering it to reveal the names of those who received information from its infiltration of an abortion trade group’s meetings in April 2014.
U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick III in July barred the release of information and videos obtained through the infiltration, hours after the National Abortion Federation sued the group for allegedly breaching confidentiality contracts and invading its members’ privacy .
On Oct. 30, Orrick ordered the center to disclose the names of people and organizations redacted in emails that were turned over in response to discovery requests.
The Ninth Circuit denied the first petition from the center in September, in which it claimed that its anti-SLAPP motion should stop discovery in the case.
The center and its founder, David Daleiden, filed a new appeal on Nov. 25, claiming the judge’s latest discovery ruling violates their First Amendment right to freedom of association.
“The First Amendment protects against compelled disclosure of political or expressive association, especially the identities of an association’s members, supporters, or donors,” the center said in its 23-page emergency motion to stay.
On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit denied the center’s appeal, finding Orrick did not improperly disregard First Amendment issues in his ruling.
The center cited the 1958 ruling in NAACP v. Alabama, in which the U.S. Supreme Court found the state could not compel disclosure of the NAACP’s membership and contribution lists.
But the Ninth Circuit found that the case at hand involved only “a handful of supporters” in the alleged conspiracy, unlike the NAACP case, in which Alabama demanded a list of all of the organization’s members, donors and supporters.
The Ninth Circuit panel also found the ruling was issued in response to “a carefully tailored request for the production of highly relevant information” and that the disclosure was restricted to attorneys’ eyes only and subject to a protective order.
“The district court therefore did not clearly err in concluding that the disclosures would not infringe on the Center’s First Amendment rights,” the panel wrote.
The Ninth Circuit denied the center’s writ of mandamus and dismissed its emergency motion to stay discovery.
The center has also filed a motion to quash a subpoena that would allow the foundation to question Daleidan’s “close friend,” Charles C. Johnson, about the source of a leaked video posted on his news blog, gotnews.com.
Johnson posted videos from the foundation’s April 2014 meeting in early October, claiming the videos were leaked by a source on Capitol Hill after the center turned over court-restricted materials in compliance with a congressional subpoena.
A hearing on the motion to quash the Johnson subpoena is scheduled for Dec. 23.
A hearing on the foundation’s amended motion for a preliminary injunction and a motion to show cause why the center and Daleiden should not be held in contempt of court is scheduled for Dec. 18.
The Center for Medical Progress also is at the heart of public controversy over whether its secretly filmed and heavily edited videos inside a Planned Parenthood center fueled violence that left three people dead a week ago at a clinic in Colorado Springs.

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