RedState has been reporting on the lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry against the Biden administration alleging that they colluded with social media companies to suppress and censor free speech on several topics, including Hunter Biden’s “laptop from hell” and the Wuhan lab leak theory surrounding the origins of COVID-19.
Already, the discovery process has exposed damning emails showing significant coordination between the Biden administration and social media companies.
On Friday, the Plaintiffs scored another victory when Judge Terry A. Doughty of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued an Order granting their request to take the depositions of Dr. Anthony Fauci and Jen Psaki, as well as FBI Supervisory Special Agent Elvis Chan, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and several others. In the 28-page Order, Judge Doughty laid out the rationale for allowing each of the depositions to proceed.
With regard to Fauci, the Court stated:
After reviewing the Plaintiffs and the Defendants’ arguments, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have proven that Dr. Fauci has personal knowledge about the issue concerning censorship across social media as it related to COVID-19 and ancillary issues of COVID-19. The Court has considered that Dr. Fauci is a high-ranking official, especially as he is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President. The Court sees the only potential burden imposed on Dr. Fauci as a result of him being deposed is that of his time. However, the Court acknowledges that any person who is being deposed must sacrifice their time, and it does not see any burden imposed on Dr. Fauci that outweighs the Court’s need for the information in order to make the most informative decision on the pending Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by Plaintiffs. Finally, the Court is aware of a number of substantive reasons why Dr. Fauci’s deposition should be taken. The first is the publicly available emails that prove that Dr. Fauci was communicating and acting as an intermediary for others in order to censor information from being shared across multiple social-media outlets. The second is that Dr. Fauci has yet to give any statements under oath in this matter. The third is that the Court has no doubt that Dr. Fauci was engaging in communications with high-ranking social-media officials, which is extremely relevant in the matter at hand. Additionally, the crux of this case is the fundamental right of free speech. Any burden that may be imposed on Dr. Fauci is wholly outweighed by the importance of Plaintiffs’ allegations of suppression of free speech. Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have satisfied their burden of proving why a deposition of Dr. Anthony Fauci is necessary in this case, and exceptional circumstance are present. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Dr. Anthony Fauci cooperate in the Plaintiffs’ request to depose him for purposes of their preliminary injunction discovery.
As to Psaki, the Court stated:
The Court finds that Plaintiffs have proven that Jennifer Psaki has personal knowledge about the issue concerning censorship across social media as it related to COVID-19 and ancillary issues of COVID-19. The Court has considered that Psaki was a high-ranking official at the time that she made the statements at issue, especially as she served as the White House Press Secretary. However, this rank does not mitigate the relevance and the need of her deposition as it relates to this case. Any burden on Psaki is outweighed by the need to determine whether free speech has been suppressed. Lastly, the Court has determined that there are substantive reasons for taking the deposition. Extraordinary circumstances are present. As stated above, Psaki has made a number of statements that are relevant to the Government’s involvement in a number of social-media platforms’ efforts to censor its users across the board for sharing information related to COVID19. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Jennifer Psaki cooperate in the Plaintiffs’ request to depose her for purposes of their preliminary injunction discovery.
Following the issuance of the Order, AG Schmitt’s office released the following statement:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced today that the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted Missouri and Louisiana’s request for depositions from top-ranking officials in the federal government. This is movement in his lawsuit against top-ranking Biden Administration officials for allegedly colluding to suppress freedom of speech. The list of granted depositions includes Dr. Anthony Fauci, former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Director of White House Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, CISA Director Jen Easterly, and FBI Supervisory Special Agent Elvis Chan.
“After finding documentation of a collusive relationship between the Biden Administration and social media companies to censor free speech, we immediately filed a motion to get these officials under oath,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “It is high time we shine a light on this censorship enterprise and force these officials to come clean to the American people, and this ruling will allow us to do just that. We’ll keep pressing for the truth.”
The original lawsuit was filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry on May 5, 2022. Missouri and Louisiana filed a Motion for Expedited Preliminary Injunction-Related Discovery on June 17, 2022, and that motion was granted on July 12, 2022, clearing the way for Missouri and Louisiana to gather discovery and documents from Biden Administration officials and social media companies.
The request for depositions was filed on October 10, 2022, and that motion was granted on October 21, 2022, allowing Missouri and Louisiana to depose top-ranking officials in the federal government under oath.
No word yet as to when the depositions will take place. The Defendants may decide to appeal the Order. We’ll continue to follow the story here and update with any developments.