Judge rejects former White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s attempt to quash subpoena

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FILE – White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, March 9, 2022.

Patrick Semansky / AP

A judge on Friday declined to quash a subpoena issued to former White House press secretary Jen Psaki seeking her deposition in a lawsuit filed by Missouri and Louisiana alleging that the Biden administration conspired to silence conservative voices on social media.

Psaki filed a motion in federal court in Alexandria, saying he had no relevant information to provide and that a deposition would place an undue burden on him. The Justice Department supported her efforts to repeal.

US Magistrate Evan Davis said during Friday’s hearing that he was not impressed by Psaki’s arguments. But he did not reject her request outright. Instead, he transferred the case back to Louisiana, where the lawsuit was filed.

A Louisiana judge has already issued an order saying Psaki and other government officials can be unseated. That order is being appealed. Psaki was allowed to file a separate protest in Virginia because she lives in the state and would be deposed there.

However, Davis said that the question of whether Psaki’s testimony is relevant does not make sense if the judge in Louisiana is more familiar with the case.

He also said that Psaki had failed to show how sitting for depositions in his home state would be an undue burden. In fact, he said that if Psaki had little information to contribute, as she alleges, it should not be too much of a burden.

“How long does it take to prepare a witness to testify when he really has nothing to say?” Davis asked.

Justice Department attorney Indranil Sur indicated he would appeal Davis’ decision to a district judge in Alexandria and asked the judge to stay his decision to provide time to do so, but Davis declined. Gave.

A lawsuit filed by attorneys general in Missouri and Louisiana accuses President Joe Biden, former federal health official Anthony Fauci and others of restricting free speech by censoring conservative opinions about the COVID-19 response and other issues. Has been charged with conspiracy.

Missouri and Louisiana say they want more information about statements Psaki made during news conferences in which he urged social media platforms to do a better job of curbing disinformation on their sites. For example, at one briefing, she said the administration was flagging problematic posts to social media companies.

“We engage with (the social media companies) regularly and they certainly understand what we’re asking,” she said.

Missouri and Louisiana say they want to know from Psaki who within the administration was engaging with the social media companies and what they were asking.

Psaki’s lawyers say the states have already obtained what he provided them from emails and other materials.

Eleven lawyers participated in Friday’s hearing; Saki didn’t.

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