In a Social Media Censorship Lawsuit, Appeals Court Blocks Deposing Biden Administration Officials
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals put off three depositions of Biden administration officials. This was done in response to a complaint that said the government worked with social media companies to stop people from talking about COVID, election security, and The Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story.
In October, Louisiana District Judge Terry Doughty ordered Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly, and White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty to schedule depositions in a lawsuit brought by Republican attorneys general Eric Schmitt of Missouri and Jeff Landry of Louisiana.
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The panel said Doughty didn’t consider whether Schmitt and Landry could get the information elsewhere. The two attorneys general want to prove that President Biden and others broke the First Amendment by forcing social media companies to delete content.
Jen Easterly talks during NASS’s summer convention in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Before any depositions may proceed, the district court must examine whether the information requested may be obtained in less invasive, alternative ways,” the 5th Circuit panel stated Monday.
As the district court decided, it’s not enough for officials to have “personal knowledge” of particular conversations. The court says that this information may be widely known or not very important compared to the deponent’s “possible hardship.”
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Trump appointed Doughty to a Louisiana court. Edith Clement, Leslie Southwick, and Stephen Higginson were appointed by George W. Bush and Barack Obama, respectively. Unanimous.
Other Biden administration leaders, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Jen Psaki, will be deposed. Politico says Psaki’s deposition is Dec. 8.