A federal jury found Friday that an anti-abortion activist illegally secretly recorded workers at Planned Parenthood clinics and is liable for violating federal and state laws, the AP reports. The jury ordered him, the Center for Medical Progress, and other parties to pay nearly $2.3 million in damages. The jury awarded $1 million in damages, but offenses under the federal Racketeer and Corrupt Organizations Act are considered acts of organized crime and penalties awarded for them are automatically tripled. After a six-week civil trial, the San Francisco jury found David Daleiden trespassed on private property and committed other crimes in recording the 2015 videos. He and the Center for Medical Progress and various employees were ordered to pay varying amounts.
Daleiden and a co-defendant, Sandra Merritt, are set to go on trial starting Dec. 6 on 14 counts each of invasion of privacy. They have pleaded not guilty and argue they are undercover journalists shielded from prosecution. Planned Parenthood sued the activists as part of what the group called "a multi-year illegal effort to manufacture a malicious campaign." Planned Parenthood's acting president and CEO, Alexis McGill Johnson, said "the jury recognized today that those behind the campaign broke the law in order to advance their goals of banning safe, legal abortion in this country, and to prevent Planned Parenthood from serving the patients who depend on us." Daleiden accused the judge of bias and suppressing video evidence. (Planned Parenthood built a huge clinic in secret.)