DEPOSITION DENIED: Former White House Press Secretary still winning against MAGA
Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki won’t have to testify in a social media lawsuit filed by two red states, the 5th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruled on Thursday.
Last year, the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana accused the Biden administration of putting pressure on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to restrict content.
The three-panel court refuted claims by the plaintiffs that the quick-witted Press Secretary urging social media companies to clamp down on COVID-19 misinformation and election fraud lies, made her subject to deposition, POLITICO reported.
“The plaintiffs argue that a deposition is required in order to, among other things, illuminate the meaning of these statements,” Judges Edith Clement, Leslie Southwick, and Stephen Higginson wrote in their eight-page decision. “Much of this desired illumination, though, is apparent from the record.”
Read the order below.
According to the 5th Circuit Judges, District Court Judge Terry Doughty failed to provide sufficient cause for forcing MSNBC’s Psaki to testify in contradiction to the longstanding precedent shielding current and former high-ranking government officials from deposition except in the most extreme circumstances, POLITICO wrote.
As Press Secretary, Psaki’s role was to inform the media of the administration’s priorities, not to develop or execute policy. 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.
The bi-partisan judicial panel – Higginson was appointed by President Barack Obama, while Clement and Southwick are President George W. Bush appointees – blocked three additional depositions approved by the Trump-appointed Doughty.
“The central concern of this court is that absent “extraordinary circumstances,” depositions of high government officials should not proceed,” the ruling states.
“That rule is a constant across the decades regardless of who the officials are. The circumstances have not yet been shown as extraordinary in light of the possibility of alternatives.”
FBI records have already been turned over in the six-month-old case – including detailed communications between the agency and social media companies.
Federal law enforcement officials have been forthcoming with their interactions, asserting that it falls within the scope of their duty to protect the American people.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry expressed compliance with the court’s decision, saying his office is looking “forward to more discovery.
Read the judge’s order here.
Original reporting by Josh Gerstein at POLITICO.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick
News journalist for Occupy Democrats.