A federal judge on Wednesday denied former White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s request to get out of a deposition as part of a lawsuit against the Biden administration alleging it colluded with social media companies to suppress free speech that was detrimental to its interests.
Republican Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry filed the lawsuit in May that accused the White House, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services of coordinating and coercing social media companies to “suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content” on their platforms with “dis-information,” “mis-information” and “mal-information” labels.
Psaki asked in a motion last week to be excused from testifying as she was ordered to do on October 21, but it was denied by Judge Terry Doughty of the Western District Court of Louisiana.
The plaintiffs in the case argue that Psaki made statements as press secretary that “(1) attested to her personal knowledge of the participation of high-level White House officials in pressuring social-media platforms, and (2) reinforced the public threats of adverse legal consequences to social-media platforms if they do not increase censorship of views disfavored by federal officials.”
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Elvis Chan, and Surgeon General Vivek Murphy were also ordered to testify in the case despite their opposition to doing so.
“The public interest lies in determining whether First Amendment free speech rights have been suppressed,” Doughty stated in a memorandum about the ruling.
The memorandum said that Psaki and others ordered to testify “were making an ‘end-run’” around the court’s previous ruling by trying to get the subpoenas quashed.
Doughty was appointed by former President Donald Trump.
Will changes come?
If the Republican AGs win their case and prove that Biden colluded with social media, it could bring about changes in the way both are allowed to operate going forward.
While conservatives have done a good job creating alternative media sources that report stories the mainstream media ignores because they make Democrats look bad, social media has used its algorithms to throttle traffic to those pages, which means fewer readers to find out what’s really happening.
If social media was directly asked to censor content and did so, it violates free speech codes, and potentially the laws surrounding such communication.
In any case, Psaki’s former ties to Biden are coming back to haunt her, and she will have to face the music in court.