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A California federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a Twitter lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose legal efforts to investigate the social media platform after suspending President Donald Trump’s account have led the company to take legal action.
The Twitter lawsuit included a request for a temporary ban order that would prevent Paxton and his office from executing a request for documents revealing the company’s internal decision-making processes to ban users. Judge Maxine M. Chesney said the company’s lawsuit was “premature.”
Paxton, an avid Trump supporter, sent Twitter a request for a civil investigation after banning Trump from his platform following the murderous January siege on the U.S. Capitol. Twitter wrote in its complaint in response to Paxton that it seeks to prevent him “from unlawfully abusing his authority as the highest law enforcement official in the state of Texas to intimidate, harass and target Twitter in retaliation for Twitter’s exercise of its First Amendment rights. . “
The company claimed that Paxton’s “retaliation” investigation violated the First Amendment as an improper use of government authority.
âTwitter’s lawsuit was little more than an attempt to avoid answering my questions about their policies of large-scale censorship and content moderation,â Paxton said in a statement Tuesday.
Paxton’s legal back-and-forth with Twitter is just the latest in the GOP’s biggest campaign against tech and social media companies after officials and supporters suffered repercussions to cast doubt on the 2020 election that fueled the Capitol uprising.
Paxton himself had sowed election doubts for weeks before the attack on Capitol Hill and was co-chair of the Lawyers for Trump coalition.
Now, Paxton’s lawsuits have focused more on major social media platforms. Twitter is just one of five tech and social media companies Paxton has made civil inquiries about to learn more about the procedures these companies use to regulate posts or user accounts.
Paxton, who attended the rally leading up to the attack on Capitol Hill, criticized measures taken by companies after the siege, which included Trump’s Twitter ban on his platform.
“The seemingly coordinated dismantling of the President of the United States and several prominent voices not only cools free speech, but completely silences those whose rhetoric and political beliefs do not match the leaders of big tech companies,” Paxton said in a January. 13 Press release.
According to American code, a public prosecutor may issue a civil investigation request during a racketeering investigation in order to acquire information or documents relevant to this investigation. These requests can be used to obtain evidence of a company’s policies and procedures. According to a press release, Paxton is using civil investigation requests to learn more about the procedures social media companies use to regulate posts or user accounts.
Recently, Paxton was the subject of separate Twitter-related lawsuits, by a group of Texas Twitter users who were prevented from viewing Paxton’s tweets from his @KenPaxtonTX account. Users said Paxton blocking them from its page was a First Amendment violation because it restricted people’s rights to participate in a public forum and access statements made by the public official.
Paxton recently unlocked the Nine Texans.