“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.”
You may recall that we have had multiple posts covering a lawsuit brought by Missouri and Louisiana, later joined by others, against the Biden administration and its top officials allegedly involved in colluding with Big Tech and social media giants to censor alleged Covid misinformation (much of which we now know was not misinformation at all, just inconvenient facts).
Our first post noted that the court fast-tracked discovery (e.g. document production and witness depositions), Judge: States Will Get ‘Expedited Discovery’ On Biden Admin Collusion With Big Tech To Censor Conservatives:
There has been much public evidence that the Biden administration has pressured large social media and tech companies to censor political opponents under the guise of designating such speech “disinformation” or “misinformation.”
On May 5, 2022, the states of Missouri and Louisiana filed a Complaint alleging that such collusion violated, among other things, its citizens first amendment rights. The defendants included not only senior administration officials, but also the head of the administrations planned and then disbanded ministry of information, Nina Jankowicz ….
An Amended Complaint (including a tranche of CDC emails as an Exhibit) subsequently was filed, and Great Barrington Declaration Scientists Join Missouri, Louisiana in Lawsuit Against Biden Administration For Censoring Covid Facts.
The emails discovered showed the Biden Admin Colluded With Social Media Platforms to Censor and Suppress Content.
After Fauci and Jean-Pierre and others objected to being subject to expedited discovery, the Court ruled that the states could force written answers under oath to interrogatories, Court Forces Fauci And Jean-Pierre To Answer Questions Under Oath And Produce Documents In Biden-Big Tech Collusion Case.
The Court today went one step further and entered an Order requiring Fauci and others to testify under oath at depositions. Jenin Younes of New Civil Liberties Alliance, which represents various individual plaintiffs who joined the case (including Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit), tweeted the news:
"Plaintiffs argue that Dr. Fauci’s credibility has been in question on matters related to supposed COVID-19 “misinformation” since 2020…Plaintiffs assert that they should not be required to simply accept Dr. Fauci’s 'self-serving blanket denials'…. The Court agrees."
— Jenin Younes (@Leftylockdowns1) October 21, 2022
The Order listed the government or former government officials whose deposition testimony was sought (emphasis added):
(1) NIAID Director and White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, (2) Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of White House Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty, (3) former White House Senior COVID-19 Advisory Andrew Slavitt, (4) former White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki, (5) FBI Supervisory Special Agent Elvis Chan, (6) CISA Director Jen Easterly, (7) CISA official Lauren Protentis, (8) Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, (9) CDC Chief of the Digital Media Branch Carol Crawford, and (10) Acting Coordinator of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center Daniel Kimmage.
The Court then went witness-by-witness to determine whether the plaintiff’s met the high burden of taking depositions of senior government officials. Since Fauci is the one everyone cares about, I’ll focus on him.
Fauci denied in his interrogatory answers that he had any communications with social media platforms. But the court refused to take his written word for it as sufficient (emphasis added):
Government Defendants have submitted to Plaintiffs interrogatory responses on behalf of Dr. Fauci, asserting that he has had no direct communications with any social-media platforms regarding censorship.20 Plaintiffs argue in turn that they should not be required to simply accept those blanket statements as they were submitted, and they argue three reasons why Dr. Fauci should be questioned under oath.
First, Plaintiffs assert that Dr. Fauci has refused to verify under oath his own interrogatory responses in violation of this Court’s Order. The NIAID’s responses were instead verified by Dr. Jill Harper, who was not named in the Complaint. Accordingly, Dr. Fauci has made no statements under oath regarding his communications with social-media platforms, which violates this Court’s Order regarding the discovery that instructed Dr. Fauci to provide interrogatory responses.21 The Court sees the importance of having Dr. Fauci make statements under oath as it relates to the issues of this matter.
Next, Plaintiffs argue that even if Dr. Fauci can prove he never communicated with socialmedia platforms about censorship, there are compelling reasons that suggest Dr. Fauci has acted through intermediaries, and acted on behalf of others, in procuring the social-media censorship of credible scientific opinions. Plaintiffs argue that even if Dr. Fauci acted indirectly or as an intermediary on behalf of others, it is still relevant to Plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction motion. The Court agrees.
Lastly, Plaintiffs argue that Dr. Fauci’s credibility has been in question on matters related to supposed COVID-19 “misinformation” since 2020. Specifically, Plaintiffs state that Dr. Fauci has made public statements on the efficacy of masks, the percentage of the population needed for herd immunity, NIAID’s funding of “gain-of-function” virus research in Wuhan, the lab-leak theory, and more. Plaintiffs urge that his comments on these important issues are relevant to the matter at hand and are further reasons why Dr. Fauci should be deposed. Plaintiffs assert that they should not be required to simply accept Dr. Fauci’s “self-serving blanket denials” that were issued from someone other than himself at face value. The Court agrees.
The Court concluded as to Fauci that his word was not good enough given other evidence in the record (emphasis added):
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.
Similar findings of personal knowledge were made by the court as to Flaherty, Slavitt, Psaki, Chan, Easterly, Protentis, Murthy, Crawford, and Kimmage:
IT IS ORDERED that to the extent that Plaintiffs move to depose the following parties, the request is GRANTED: NIAID Director and White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci; Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of White House Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty OR former White House Senior COVID-19 Advisory Andrew Slavitt; former White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki; FBI Supervisory Special Agent Elvis Chan; CISA Director Jen Easterly OR CISA official Lauren Protentis; Surgeon General Vivek Murthy; CDC Chief of the Digital Media Branch Carol Crawford; and Acting Coordinator of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center Daniel Kimmage.
The government pressure on social media to censor political and scientific opponents is a Biden scandal, but it’s more, it calls into question whether big tech can run and hide behind its claim to be private entities acting privately.DONATE
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