Law­suit: Trump still block­ing Twit­ter crit­ics

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Larry Neumeis­ter

NEW YORK — An or­ga­ni­za­tion that suc­cess­fully proved Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump vi­o­lated the law when he blocked Twit­ter crit­ics sued him anew on Fri­day, say­ing he con­tin­ues to re­ject some ac­counts two years af­ter los­ing in court.

The Knight First Amend­ment In­sti­tute at Columbia Univer­sity sued Trump a sec­ond time in Man­hat­tan fed­eral court over use of his @re­alDon­aldTrump Twit­ter ac­count, say­ing the pres­i­dent and his staff con­tinue to block some ac­counts.

Some in­di­vid­u­als iden­ti­fied in a law­suit filed in 2017, along with dozens of oth­ers blocked on the ba­sis of view­point, have been un­blocked, the law­suit said.

But lawyers say the White House has re­fused to un­block those who can’t iden­tify which tweet led them to be blocked and oth­ers who were blocked be­fore Trump was sworn in more than three years ago.

“It shouldn’t take an­other law­suit to get the pres­i­dent to re­spect the rule of law and to stop block­ing peo­ple sim­ply be­cause he doesn’t like what they’re post­ing,” said Katie Fal­low, se­nior staff at­tor­ney at the Knight In­sti­tute, in a re­lease.

A mes­sage seek­ing com­ment was sent to the Jus­tice De­part­ment.

The law­suit iden­ti­fied as plain­tiffs five in­di­vid­u­als who re­main blocked, in­clud­ing a dig­i­tal spe­cial­ist with the Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Teach­ers, a free­lance writer and re­searcher, a for­mer teacher, an ac­tor and Don­ald Moyni­han, a pro­fes­sor of pub­lic pol­icy at Ge­orge­town Univer­sity.

Moyni­han could not point to a spe­cific tweet that caused him to be blocked be­cause he pe­ri­od­i­cally deletes tweets, the suit said. It added that when the in­sti­tute pressed the White House to un­block Moyni­han, the re­quest was re­jected.

The law­suit said the Knight In­sti­tute was told: “Don­ald Trump does not in­tend to un­block per­sons who were blocked prior to his in­au­gu­ra­tion or who can­not iden­tify a tweet that pre­ceded and al­legedly pre­cip­i­tated the block­ing.”

It said at least 27 other Twit­ter ac­counts re­main blocked.

The 2nd U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in Man­hat­tan last July con­cluded Trump vi­o­lated the First Amend­ment when­ever he blocked a critic.

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