The Biden administration’s attempt to block depositions of several key officials was turned down Nov. 2 by a U.S. judge.
U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, a Trump appointee, rejected a request for a partial stay of his Oct. 21 order authorizing the depositions of eight officials, including President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Government lawyers asked the judge to impose the partial stay as an appeals court weighs a request to vacate the part of his order that enables the depositions of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, a Biden appointee; Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly, a Biden appointee; and Rob Flaherty, a deputy assistant to the president.
Absent a stay, “high-ranking governmental officials would be diverted from their significant duties and burdened in both preparing and sitting for a deposition, all of which may ultimately prove to be unnecessary if the Court of Appeals grants” their request, the government said.
Doughty ruled that the government failed to show how the officials would be irreparably harmed apart from referencing a diversion from “significant duties.” That didn’t meet the standard for showing irreparable harm, he said.
On the other hand, the plaintiffs, including the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, would be irreparably harmed by a partial stay because they’ve alleged a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment and “‘The loss of First Amendment freedoms, even for minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury,’” Doughty said, quoting from a ruling in a separate case.
“The Court finds that both the public interest and the interest of the other parties in preserving free speech significantly outweighs the inconvenience the three deponents will have in preparing for and giving their depositions,” he added.
The depositions are scheduled to take place in early December. Fauci’s is slated for November, according to a notice made public by The Gateway Pundit, one of the plaintiffs.
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Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news for The Epoch Times. He is based in Maryland.
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