Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki was previously subpoenaed to testify in a deposition as part of a state-led lawsuit alleging collusion to censorship between the Biden administration and the Big Tech companies and social media platforms.
Psaki had attempted to “quash” that subpoena and avoid the deposition, but a federal judge just rejected that motion and once again ordered her to provide the sworn testimony that is sought by two state attorneys general, the Tampa Free Press reported.
The former press secretary will now be compelled to answer questions under oath about allegations and evidence that the Biden administration colluded with or coerced several tech companies and platforms to censor, silence, and suppress predominately conservative and independent accounts that contradicted or dissented from the administration’s preferred narratives.
Psaki must testify in under oath deposition
In a 7-page ruling issued Monday, District Judge Terry Doughty of Louisiana rejected Psaki’s motion to quash the subpoena as well as, alternatively, her request for an indefinite stay and delay of the deposition that had been previously ordered on October 21.
The judge had previously allowed for the Republican attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana to depose under oath eight current and former administration officials with regard to allegations that the administration had “colluded with and/or coerced social media companies to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social media platforms by labeling the content ‘dis-information,’ ‘mis-information,’ and ‘mal-information.'”
According to CBS News, Psaki had filed her motion to quash the deposition in a federal court in Virginia, but that judge in Virginia simply transferred the motion to the Louisiana judge that has handled the lawsuit thus far.
No “undue burden,” no reason for further delay
Psaki had argued that she likely had no relevant information to give and that preparing for and participating in the deposition would be an “undue burden” on her, but Judge Doughty disagreed.
It was noted that the court had already determined that Psaki had “made a series of public statements that (1) attested to her personal knowledge of the participation of high-level White House officials pressuring social-media platforms and (2) reinforced the public threats of adverse legal consequences to social-media platforms, if they did not increase censorship of views disfavored by federal officials.”
As for her claim that the deposition would impose an “undue burden” on her, the judge ruled that any “potential burden upon Psaki was outweighed by the need to determine whether free speech had been suppressed.”
Given all of that, Judge Doughty denied the motion to quash the subpoena and also denied Psaki’s alternative motion to issue a stay to delay the deposition and indicated again that “the public interest lies in determining whether First Amendment free speech rights have been suppressed.”
Government can’t censor free speech, either directly or indirectly
The Free Press noted that in addition to Psaki, the attorneys general in the lawsuit also won the opportunity to depose under oath several other current and former top administration officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, among others.
The First Amendment prohibits the federal government from censoring free speech, and that prohibition extends to private companies working on behalf of, in coordination with, or under coercion by the government to do what the government itself is specifically barred from doing.