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Judge holds David Daleiden's lawyers in contempt for releasing Planned Parenthood videos

(Reuters/Ruthy Munoz//File Photo)Anti-abortion activist David Daleiden speaks at a news conference outside a court in Houston, Texas February 4, 2016.

A federal judge has found David Daleiden's defense attorneys in contempt of court for releasing undercover videos that feature Planned Parenthood employees allegedly discussing dismemberment abortions and sales of body parts.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick III found Steve Cooley and Brent Ferreira in violation of his federal court order that prohibited the release of undercover videos recorded by Center for Medical Progress (CMP) during the National Abortion Federation (NAF) conferences in 2014 and 2015.

The video, released by CMP in May, features Planned Parenthood staffers attending the conferences and allegedly discussing gruesome details about aborted babies. In one clip, several attendees reportedly joked about eyeballs from aborted babies "rolling down into their laps."

Daleiden, the lead investigator for CMP, has refused to say whether he published the video. The judge is still considering whether to hold Daleiden and CMP in contempt, according to Life Site News.

Orrick had issued an injunction prohibiting the release of the footage last year after Daleiden was taken to court by the NAF over the video.

During the contempt hearing, Cooley and Ferreira argued that the videos are key in providing proper defense in Daleiden's criminal case.

However, Derek Foran, a lawyer for the NAF, contended that the postings "placed NAF and its members in danger."

In June, Daleiden's attorneys tried to get Orrick disqualified from the case, arguing that he has links to the abortion industry. They alleged that the judge has had a long relationship with a group that partners with Planned Parenthood and that his wife had publicly supported abortion online.

Orrick reportedly served on the board for Good Samaritan Family Resource Center in San Francisco, which partners with Planned Parenthood, allowing the organization to operate out of its space.

A formal contempt order is yet to be released by Orrick, but Daleiden and his lawyers may be required to pay damages to the NAF. The judge could also refer the attorneys to the State Bar of California for discipline. After the hearing, CMP expressed plans to appeal Orrick's "unconstitutional gag order."

Daleiden and fellow investigator Sandra Merritt are also facing criminal charges in California for allegedly recording private conversations without people's consent.

The San Francisco Superior court dismissed 14 of 15 charges in June, but California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed amended charges against the two investigators last week.

CMP stated that Daleiden's attorneys are being persecuted "just for trying to use the same video evidence in his defense that the California AG is using in his prosecution."

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