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Children’s Health Defense (CHD) and three other organizations are seeking open public access to critical sworn depositions and documents already produced on behalf of plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging the federal government colluded with several Big Tech firms to censor COVID-19-related content on social media.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Dr. Joseph Mercola, and Ty and Charlene Bollinger on Nov. 17 moved to intervene in the Missouri v. Biden First Amendment case on behalf of the public interest, themselves and their respective organizations: CHD, Mercola.com, The Truth About Vaccines and The Truth About Cancer.
The intervention will allow them — and the public at large — to gain access to specific discovery and depositions — including Dr. Anthony Fauci’s Nov. 23 testimony — for use in pending litigation against social media platforms.
Commenting on the motion to intervene, Kennedy said:
“It’s neither beneficial to democracy nor public health that the audio-visual recordings of key depositions describing the secret communications between key government actors and social media executives remain hidden from the American people.
“Social media platforms continue to muzzle dissenters for exercising their First Amendment rights to criticize government policies while the proof of this illegal collaboration with government officials remains sealed.”
Kennedy, Mercola and Charlene and Ty Bollinger are among the 12 individuals singled out by the Center for Countering Digital Hate as belonging to the “Disinformation Dozen” due to content they shared on social media and websites regarding vaccines.
The motion to intervene explains that these free speech advocates and their organizations have been censored and de-platformed by major social media platforms that are working with — and taking orders from — the federal government.
According to the motion:
“These Defendants have colluded with private actors (1) to curb the Applicants’ criticism of government response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and (2) to silence the Applicants’ disfavored facts and opinions concerning a variety of subjects, including Covid-19’s possible lab-leak origin, the comparative benefits of early treatment and natural immunity, and the risks or inefficacy of Covid-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use.”
The materials sought by the groups are expected to capture top-level communications between the federal branch and social media tech executives to censor and suppress a wide swath of online COVID-19 news, criticism of the government’s vaccine mandates and lockdowns and discussion of the lab-leak theory of COVID-19’s origins.
“If the Biden Administration instructed Big Tech to censor Bobby Kennedy, Children’s Health Defense, Mercola and the Bollingers, we need to see what they’ve said, and it must stop,” said CHD President and General Counsel Mary Holland. “The First Amendment prohibits the government from censoring its critics — full stop. This is what our democracy requires as the bedrock of all other freedoms.”
Missouri and Louisiana on May 5 sued the Biden administration in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, alleging the government colluded with Big Tech firms Twitter, Meta (Facebook’s parent company), Youtube, Instagram and LinkedIn to censor certain viewpoints under the guise of preventing the circulation of “misinformation” or “disinformation.”
District Judge Terry Doughty fast-tracked the case toward a hearing to stop it in its tracks and enjoin the government-directed social media giants’ version of a “Ministry of Truth.”
“We were censored, shadowbanned, de-platformed for sharing stats, facts and scientific data about COVID-19, taken from the government’s own websites — the same facts the current director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fauci and others are now saying are true after two-plus years of denying these facts,” said Charlene Bollinger, founder and CEO of The Truth About Cancer & Vaccines.
“We were right all along. We should never have been censored. The world needs to hear our voices in order to make informed decisions about their health. What has happened to RFK Jr., Dr. Mercola, to us, and many others should never have happened.
“Our government has colluded to hide the truth about COVID, and we need the truth to ensure this never happens again. Lives are on the line. Informed consent and real science will save countless lives. It is our mission to reach everyone with the truth to support life.”
Judge Doughty allowed the state attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana to take depositions of key Biden administration officials, including Fauci, ex-White House press secretary Jen Psaki, White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly and FBI Supervisory Special Agent Elvis Chan.
According to G. Shelly Maturin II, counsel for intervenors, the censorship case is “possibly the most important first amendment case of our lifetime, the outcome of which will determine whether we continue in the Orwellian/Huxley dystopian world” or whether we “take back our God-given rights enshrined in our Constitution.”
The plaintiffs and defendants must reply to the motion to intervene by Dec. 1, and Kennedy, Mercola and the Bollingers must respond by Dec. 8. Judge Doughty is expected to rule quickly thereafter.