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.