By Sarah Ferris - 09/18/15 04:39 PM EDT
A federal judge said Friday that the anti-abortion group targeting Planned Parenthood with hidden cameras cannot refuse to turn over potential pieces of evidence by pleading the Fifth Amendment.
Judge William Orrick said in a hearing that the Center for Medical Progress must comply with the court’s requests for documents, escalating the weeks-long legal battle over the secret videos. The organization’s founder, David Daleiden, had previously told the court that the group planned to invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The move is good news for the National Abortion Federation, a group of providers that includes Planned Parenthood clinics, which had filed the lawsuit.
"It's telling that the defendants have been very vocal in the media saying that they have nothing to hide, yet in Federal court they want to plead the Fifth," Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, wrote in a statement. "We are pleased with the results of today's hearing, and are eager to move forward with the discovery process."
The Center for Medical Progress has released 10 videos targeting Planned Parenthood, several of which include footage from private meetings and events. The members gained access to the events by posing as buyers for a medical research company, which Planned Parenthood and its supporters have argued is illegal.
The National Abortion Federation took legal action demanding the court block additional footage from being released, arguing that it puts their providers in danger.
"Our priority is the safety and security of our members, their staff, their patients, and their families," said Saporta. "Moving forward with discovery will help us take steps to ensure our members' safety during this period of escalating hate speech, threats, and criminal activity."
The Center for Medical Progress has insisted that it followed the law while pursuing its undercover investigation.