A California judge has dismissed a Twitter lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
Twitter imposed a life ban after the January 6 riots in the US Capitol in which five people died. Later, Paxton announced an investigation for Twitter and four other major technology companies, which he called “the president’s seemingly coordinated de-platforming.” The Attorney General’s office demanded that companies produce various records related to their content moderation policies and troves of internal communications.
Twitter responded on March 8 with a federal lawsuit alleging Paxton wanted to punish it for taking Trump’s account offline – the social media company says it protected free speech.
In his Tuesday ruling, San Francisco senior US District Judge Maxine Chesney ruled that Paxton’s administrative summons was not “self-executing”, meaning that Twitter was not obliged to leave him absent a court order.
In his seven-page opinion, Chesney stated that Paxton had not taken any court action to enforce his summons and that Twitter was not obliged to follow them without court action. Therefore, she dismissed the Twitter suit, noting that her request for an injunction or court declaration against Paxton was premature.
In a statement, Paxton said the lawsuit was “little more than an attempt to avoid answering my questions about mass censorship and content-moderation policies.”
In its own statement, Twitter said that private companies have the same free speech rights as individuals. “In this case, the Attorney General of Texas is abusing the powers of his office to violate the fundamental rights of Twitter in an effort to silence free speech. The court verdict did not end today. “
The lawsuit comes as Paxton faces other legal challenges, including an FBI investigation claiming that he used his office to benefit a wealthy gangster.
He also is awaiting trial on unrelated securities fraud charges dating back to 2015. Paxton pleaded not guilty, and legal challenges have stalled the case for years.