By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday granted a preliminary injunction stopping the distribution of surreptitious videos taken by anti-abortion activists who alleged Planned Parenthood staff discussed the illegal sale of aborted fetal tissue.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF), a nonprofit representing abortion providers, accused the Center for Medical Progress and its founder, David Daleiden, in a lawsuit last year of illegally infiltrating and recording its private meetings.
San Francisco federal judge William Orrick last year issued a temporary order prohibiting the distribution of the videos, which he extended on Friday until the litigation is over. Orrick said he reviewed the videos and found no evidence of criminal activity by NAF members.
Catherine Short, an attorney for the Center for Medical Progress, said they had expected the ruling. Derek Foran, an attorney for the National Abortion Federation, said they are pleased.
"NAF's members can sleep a little easier tonight," Foran said.
The videos released last summer purported to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to negotiate prices for aborted fetal tissue. Under federal law, donated human fetal tissue may be used for research, but profiting from its sale is prohibited.
Daleiden was indicted last month by a Houston-area grand jury on a charge of tampering with a governmental record. He was offered a probation deal, but Daleiden's lawyers said he planned to reject it.