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Breaking News Alert This Week In Lawfare Land: What Happens Next?

Court: Jen Psaki Must Testify Over White House’s Collusion With Big Tech To Silence Covid Dissent


A federal judge ruled on Monday that former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki must comply with an investigation that seeks to uncover the federal government’s collusion with Big Tech to suppress Covid-related posts they deemed “misinformation.”

Writing for the Western District of Louisiana District Court, Judge Terry A. Doughty denied a request by Psaki to quash a subpoena seeking her deposition in a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. In his reasoning, Doughty said that “[p]reparing for and giving a deposition is part of the normal process for every person subpoenaed for a deposition” and that despite Psaki’s contention, it is “not an undue burden.”

Psaki’s request for the Louisiana court to “stay the deposition pending appeal” was also denied, with Doughty reasoning that Psaki and federal defendants did not make a “strong showing” for why their case would likely succeed. (A stay is when a court takes action to halt a judicial proceeding or the actions of a party.)

The ruling came a day after a separate federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, refused to quash the subpoena and summarily transferred the case back to Louisiana where the lawsuit was filed.

“Ms. Psaki’s effort to eliminate or delay her deposition in this action had failed because of the swift action of two judges in widely dispersed courts, one in Virginia and one in Louisiana, and by the implausibility of her reasons for not testifying as to Federal efforts to censure social media that made quick resolution possible,” said John J. Vecchione, who serves as senior litigation counsel for the New Civil Liberties Alliance (a party in the suit), in a statement.

The Monday ruling from Doughty comes a month after he ordered Psaki, along with other high-profile Biden administration officials such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, to comply with Schmitt and Landry’s investigation.

In the early stages of their lawsuit, the Missouri and Louisiana AGs uncovered a trove of communication records from top-ranking Biden administration officials showing coordination with companies such as Facebook and Twitter to censor Covid-related information that disputed the government’s approach to the virus. In a July 2021 email addressed to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, for example, a representative from Facebook noted how the company and Biden administration officials had previously met “to better understand the scope of what the White House expects from [Facebook] on misinformation going forward.”

A separate email from later that month also shows the social media platform asking the CDC if the agency would be interested in “doing a monthly [Covid] misinfo/debunking meeting” with Facebook employees, to which an agency official replied, “Yes, we would love to do that.”

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