Two federal judges reject motion by Psaki to avoid deposition in government censorship lawsuit

Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki was previously ordered by a court to deliver sworn testimony in a deposition as part of a state-led lawsuit that has alleged collusion and coercion to censor and silence certain speech by the Biden administration and the Big Tech social media platforms.

Psaki attempted to get out of that ordered deposition, but now two separate federal judges have denied and rejected those efforts by her to avoid testifying, the Western Journal reported.

Both judges dismissed Psaki’s argument that the deposition would impose an “undue burden” on her, and one of the judges even seemed to chastise Psaki and her attorneys for attempting to do an “end-run” around the prior court order.

Psaki’s attempted “end-run” around court order called out

It was in October that U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty of Louisiana had ruled that former press secretary Psaki and several other top current and former officials of the Biden administration would have to testify in depositions for the lawsuit alleging collusion and censorship that was filed in May by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana.

Politico reported that in response to that order, Psaki filed a motion to “quash” the subpoena, or at least stay and delay the deposition, in a federal court in Virginia, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Ivan Davis of Virginia was not inclined to go along with Psaki’s requests during a hearing on Friday.

Judge Davis accused Psaki of trying to do an “end-run” around Judge Doughty’s ordered deposition and also rejected her assertion that the deposition would be an “undue burden” on her by calling out the contradictions in the arguments put forward by her attorneys.

Psaki’s team had argued that she had no relevant information to give in a sworn deposition but also complained that she would have to prepare for several days with two different teams of lawyers — her own attorneys plus Justice Department attorneys — but Judge Davis said, “How much does it take to prepare a witness for a deposition where she doesn’t have anything to say? That’s confusing.”

In the end, Davis did not issue a ruling on Psaki’s motion to quash but instead simply transferred it to Judge Doughty, where it should have been filed in the first place.

No “undue burden” and no reason for further delay

The Western Journal reported that Psaki fared no better with Judge Doughty, as he denied both her motion to quash the subpoena as well as her request for an indefinite stay to delay the ordered deposition.

In a 7-page ruling, Doughty determined that there was no “undue burden” in this case and Psaki faced the exact same level of ordinary “burden” that anybody subpoenaed for a deposition would face and ruled that “the potential burden upon Psaki was outweighed by the need to determine whether free speech had been suppressed.”

As for her request for a stay, the judge noted that since there was no “undue burden” or risk of “irreparable harm” to Psaki if she testified as previously ordered, then “the public interest lies in determining whether First Amendment free speech rights have been suppressed.”

Politico reported that Psaki’s attorneys already appealed the transfer by Judge Davis — and they will likely appeal Judge Doughty’s ruling, too — and that the DOJ lawyers have suggested that they will claim “executive privilege” over Psaki’s compelled testimony, meaning this dispute is not yet over and it remains unclear when, exactly, the former press secretary will actually participate in the ordered deposition.

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