After losing a court battle, former White House press secretary Jen Psaki — who left the Biden administration in May to join MSNBC as a commentator — has been ordered by a federal judge to testify regarding the administration’s role in censorship on social media.
The decision was issued on Monday by Judge Terry Doughty, of the Western District of Louisiana.
In his decision, Doughty denied a motion from Psaki’s attorneys which asked him to block a court order requiring her testimony.
#Fauci and Psaki asked for a quick ruling on their motion to quash their deposition subpoena in the censorship case. They got their quick ruling, and that’s all they got
They really really really do not want to testify under oath. I wonder why… pic.twitter.com/IcT4sVfGog
— Philip Holloway ✈️ (@PhilHollowayEsq) November 22, 2022
The judge argued that there was public interest in “determining whether First Amendment free speech rights have been suppressed.”
The lawsuit, which was initially filed by Republican Attorneys General Eric Schmitt of Missouri and Jeff Landry of Louisiana, focused on the fact that high-ranking officials within the Biden administration had censored free speech on various social media platforms “under the guise of combating misinformation.”
Doughty was the judge who first ruled back in October that both Psaki and Dr. Anthony Fauci must provide testimony for the lawsuit.
Schmitt released a statement following the judge’s October ruling.
“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,” the statement read.
“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,” the statement continued. “We’ll keep pressing for the truth.”
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, also spoke out about the lawsuit — telling Fox News that the plaintiffs “may indeed have a case.”
“The concern for free speech advocates is that there is a type of censorship by surrogate, that Democratic leaders and other groups have used social media to silence opposing voices, and you’ve had a number of people who’ve been banned on social media or had tweets taken down that have been proven correct,” the legal scholar said.
“The government is not allowed to do indirectly what it is prohibited from doing directly,” Turley added, referring to potential collusion between the Biden administration and social media companies.
The White House was forced to turn over emails related to social media censorship in July as part of the lawsuit. Critics later argued that these emails had proven that the Biden administration directly took part in an effort to shut down Americans’ free speech.