Court Stops AGs From Deposing Jen Psaki In Social Media Censorship Case

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Trevor Schakohl Legal Reporter
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UPDATE: This piece has been updated to include a response from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday blocked Republican attorneys’ general push to depose former White House press secretary Jen Psaki in a lawsuit alleging Biden administration authorities and social media companies colluded to suppress free speech, Politico reported.

The lawsuit, first filed by then Republican Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry in May, claims President Joe Biden and administration parties colluded with or coerced the companies to “suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content” on their platforms with “dis-information,” “mis-information” and “mal-information” labels. Western District Court of Louisiana Judge Terry Doughty denied a Psaki’s November request to quash the subpoena for her to testify, but the circuit court declared Thursday he had not adequately factored in established legal principles for limiting current or former senior officials depositions to essential circumstances, according to Politico.

“As Press Secretary, Psaki’s role was to inform the media of the administration’s priorities, not to develop or execute policy,” the judges argued, the outlet reported. “Unsurprisingly, then, the record does not demonstrate that Psaki has unique first-hand knowledge that would justify the extraordinary measure of deposing a high-ranking executive official.” (RELATED: Trump Could Soon Be Free From Facebook Jail. Here’s What He’ll Do Next)

The court disputed plaintiffs’ contentions that Psaki’s comments about encouraging social media companies to remove COVID-19 and election fraud-related misinformation are grounds to question her, according to Politico. It pointed out that plaintiffs’ said Psaki had to be deposed to reveal what her statements meant, countering that the record already provided much of that insight.

“We have no problem with the court’s request. We look forward to obtaining more discovery,” Landry said in a statement sent to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Schmitt is now Missouri’s junior senator. Current Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s office declined to comment on the circuit court’s decision.

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