A federal judge ordered Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and other officials to answer for the government’s efforts to allegedly censor social media platforms, giving the powerful officials three weeks to comply.
Judge Terry A. Doughty rejected the Biden administration’s assertion of executive privilege to shield government officials from questions and records requests in a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
“This court believes plaintiffs are entitled to external communications by Jean-Pierre and Dr. Fauci in their capacities as White House Press Secretary and Chief Medical Advisor to the President to third-party social media platforms,” Judge Doughty wrote on Tuesday.
The top officials have 21 days from Tuesday’s order to answer questions from Missouri and Louisiana’s attorneys general, who took the federal government to court and sought to obtain the records.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry brought a First Amendment lawsuit against the Biden administration over its alleged censorship in May and have worked with lawyers from the New Civil Liberties Alliance to unearth details in subsequent months.
Last week, the attorneys revealed they obtained records showing federal officials across 11 different agencies engaged in censorship and the attorneys asked the judge to let them expand the lawsuit.
Judge Doughty on Tuesday allowed for the attorneys to grow their lawsuit to include others but he rejected a request to force various government officials to identify people at other federal agencies communicating with social media companies about censorship and misinformation.
Certain government officials at the Department of Health and Human Services will also be forced to answer questions, according to the judge’s order. The HHS officials were identified by Meta, according to the attorneys, and Judge Doughty said the officials must answer the attorneys’ questions.