Judge blocks Trump's deposition in lawsuits involving former FBI agents

May 14, 2023

NBC News reports that a federal judge has just called off a deposition of former President Donald Trump that was set to take place later this month. 

The deposition regards two separate lawsuits filed by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the former FBI officials whose leaked text messages revealed not only their affair but their anti-Trump bias - a significant fact considering that they were major players in the Russia-Trump collusion investigation.

Page and Strzok have each brought their own lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Page, in her lawsuit, is alleging that her text messages with Strzok were released illegally and that the subsequent attacks that she faced from Trump and others harmed her reputation.

Strzok, in his lawsuit, is claiming that he was wrongfully terminated.

Here's what was supposed to happen:

Strzok's legal team has been looking to depose former President Trump in order to question him about whether or not he or one of his agents - such as a member of the White House - pressured the FBI and the DOJ to terminate Trump.

In addition, lawyers are also looking to question FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Previously, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that both men could be deposed. Berman Jackson placed limits on the depositions, including that the questioning is only allowed to focus on a "narrow set of topics" and is only allowed to last for, at most, two hours.

Berman Jackson, however, did not specify the order in which the men are to be questioned. The significance of this will become clear in a moment.

Trump's deposition was scheduled to take place on May 24 - a little more than a week from now. But, now, Trump's deposition has now been called off.

The "why?"

It was actually the DOJ that recently filed a motion asking Berman Jackson to call off the deposition of Trump.

The DOJ cited a doctrine that requires lower-ranking government officials to be deposed first. The idea is that the lower-ranking official's testimony may make the higher-ranking official's deposition unnecessary. So, the DOJ wanted Wray to be questioned first.

Here's what Berman Jackson wrote in her ruling:

The Court is somewhat surprised to learn that since then, the parties have done nothing more than wrangle over the order of the two depositions. The government seems chagrined that the Court did not order that the deposition of the FBI Director be completed first, but it may recall that it was the Court’s view that it was Director Wray, the only current high-ranking public official in the group of proposed deponents, whose ongoing essential duties fell most squarely under the protection of the doctrine in question.

Berman Jackson went on to defend her previous ruling.

But, the bottom line is that Trump's deposition, at least for now, is canceled.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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