Judge Blocks Depositions of 3 High-Ranking Biden Admin Officials in Big Tech–Government Collusion Case

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A federal judge on Dec. 7 ruled that three high-ranking officials within the Biden administration will not be required to testify under oath at depositions in a lawsuit that alleges federal government collusion with Big Tech companies to censor users.

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in October ordered the depositions of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly, and Rob Flaherty, a deputy assistant to President Joe Biden, as part of a lawsuit brought in May by Republican Attorneys General Eric Schmitt of Missouri and Jeff Landry of Louisiana.

The attorneys general claim that high-ranking members of the government colluded and coerced social media companies to “suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content” or what they claimed was “misinformation” regarding COVID-19.

In November, Doughty, a Trump appointee, also said that Jen Psaki, a former White House press secretary who now works for MSNBC, must also sit for a deposition as part of the case.

However on Thursday, Doughty ruled that three of the individuals—Murthy, Easterly, and Flaherty—will no longer be required to appear for a deposition after a federal appeals court blocked the move last month, stating that the judge had failed to consider whether alternative and less “intrusive” means could be used to obtain the information being sought.

Biden Officials Won’t Need to Testify

As a result, Doughty said on Thursday that Murthy will no longer be required to appear for a deposition.

The decision came after lawyers for Murthy, who the attorneys general say ran a “public campaign to censor individuals who spread ‘misinformation’ about COVID-19,” had stated there was no need for his deposition.

Instead, lawyers said that written materials provided by Murthy in response to discovery requests would serve as an adequate alternative. Doughty, however, ruled that Murthy’s chief of staff, Eric Waldo, can take the deposition as an alternative.

The depositions were scheduled for early December but Doughty noted on Thursday that this has been extended to Jan. 13, 2023.

By Katabella Roberts

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