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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Anti-Censorship Legal Update!

Hearing on California Censorship of Judicial Watch YouTube Election Integrity Video
Texas A&M Appeared to Receive Almost $500 Million from Qatar Regime
Judge Rules in Favor of Judicial Watch Client: Bucks County, PA Acted in Bad Faith in Withholding School COVID Shutdown Documents – Court Orders County to Pay $3,000
Judicial Watch Sues for ‘Manifesto’ of The Covenant School Shooter in Tennessee
Hearing in Lawsuit for Teacher Fired for Preemployment Social Media Posts
U.S. Funds Program to Support Displaced LGBTQI+ Refugees, Asylees

 


Hearing on California Censorship of Judicial Watch YouTube Election Integrity Video

We will be in court next week for a hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong on a Motion to Dismiss brought by the California Secretary of State in our lawsuit Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Shirley Weber, in her official capacity as Secretary of State of the State of California (No. 2:22-cv-06894)

The hearing will be on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. PT.

Our lawsuit states that the California Office of Elections Cybersecurity, which Secretary of State Shirley Weber oversees, unlawfully caused YouTube to remove our election integrity video on September 25, 2020. Specifically, our lawyers arguethat the California Secretary of State violated our First Amendment right by:

misus[ing] her authority under [California Election Code Sec. 10.5] with the intention to interfere with [Judicial Watch’s] speech by monitoring [its] speech on social media, falsely assessing [its] speech as misleading, ignoring an express limitation on her authority while giving an overly broad interpretation to other authority, and using her close working relationship with and “dedicated pathways” at YouTube to have [Judicial Watch’s] video removed within approximately 24 hours.

At the time the complaint against Weber was filed, I said, “Smoking gun documents show that California government officials, who were being advised by the Biden campaign PR operation, caused YouTube to censor a key Judicial Watch video just before the 2020 election. This egregious government censorship and election interference violated our civil rights, and our lawsuit aims to stop and expose the growing corruption of leftist government officials colluding with Big Tech allies to attack the free speech rights of Americans.”

California government officials don’t have the right to censor any American, especially on sensitive election integrity debates just before a presidential election. California’s censorship of Judicial Watch is a violation of the First Amendment, pure and simple.

Through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other direct litigation, we continue to investigate and litigate the broad range of censorship being conducted by the Biden administration and its fellow travelers within state and local governments.

(On February 28 of this year, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Department Homeland Security (DHS) for records showing collusion between federal agencies and social media to censor and suppress free speech (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:23-cv-00552)).

Also in February 2023, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against DHS for records of communication related to the work of the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) that could detail coordinated censorship activities (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:23-cv-00384)).

The Elon Musk ‘Twitter Files’ are the tip of the iceberg, as the federal government ran a massive, secret censorship op against the American people. That the DHS is hiding these censorship records in violation of FOIA law shows the agency still has something to hide.

On January 13, 2023, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for communications and records of the Surgeon General’s Communications Director’s contact with social media companies regarding COVID-19 vaccines (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:23-cv-00113)). Biden’s surgeon general was abusing his office to pressure Big Tech companies to censor Americans. This lawsuit aims to uncover the details of this government attack on the First Amendment.

On January 11, 2023, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for records of communications between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and social media sites regarding foreign influence in elections, as well as the Hunter Biden laptop story (Judicial Watch Inc. v U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:23-cv-00079)). Fitton commented, The FBI was literally paying Twitter to censor Americans just before the 2020 election! The FBI seems to have interfered in the 2020 election to help Joe Biden by encouraging Big Tech to censor Americans about the Hunter Biden laptop and other debates. And to add to the scandal, they are now covering up their misconduct.

In November 2022, we sued the DHS for all records of communications between the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA), a division of DHS, and the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), which was created to flag online election content for censorship and suppression.

In May 2022, YouTube censored our video about Biden corruption and election integrity issues in the 2020 election. The video, titled “Impeach? Biden Corruption Threatens National Security,” was falsely determined to be “election misinformation” and removed by YouTube, and our YouTube account was suspended for a week. Judicial Watch continues to post its video content on our Rumble channel (https://rumble.com/vz7aof-fitton-impeach-biden-corruption-threatens-national-security.html).

In July 2021, we uncovered records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which revealed that Facebook coordinated closely with the CDC to control the COVID narrative and “misinformation” and that over $3.5 million in free advertising given to the CDC by social media companies.

In May 2021, we revealed documents showing that Iowa state officials pressured social media companies Twitter and Facebook to censor posts about the 2020 election.)

 

Texas A&M Appeared to Receive Almost $500 Million from Qatar Regime

Why is a terrorist-aligned nation giving nearly a half billion dollars to an American university?

We received records from Texas A&M indicating that it received $485,811,921.33 in grants and contracts from the Qatar Foundation.

There appear to be discrepancies between what is listed in the gift reporting received from Texas A&M and what was reported by the school to the federal foreign gift reporting system. For instance, Texas A&M’s gift record for January 1, 2013 – May 22, 2018, only lists a total of $69,844.41 from the Qatar Foundation, whereas the Department of Education’s database shows a total of over $47 million for the same period.

The new information was released in a court victory last month in litigation on behalf of Judicial Watch client Zachor Legal Institute under the Texas Public Information Act. Zachor fought for information about the potential influence by the Qatar government’s funding of certain Texas A&M University programs and a Texas A&M campus in Education City, Al Rayyan, Qatar (Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development v. Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General (No. D-1-GN-18-006240)).

The previously hidden records include a document titled “Qatar Grants and Contracts” for January 1,2013 – May 22, 2018, lists the funds received by Texas A&M as follows:

ARAMCO                                                                                   $1,028,611.55

QATAR COMPUTING RESEARCH INSTITUTE              $121,643.84

QATAR ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY RESEARCH         $218,250.33

QATAR FOUNDATION                                                          $485,811,921.33

QATAR NATIONAL RESEARCH FUND                            $32,145,910.92

QATAR UNIVERSITY                                                             $226,826.03

                                                                                                     $519,553,164.00

A second record is titled “Qatar Gifts,” which includes:

Qatar National Research Fund                                             $39,280.82

Qatar Computing Research Institute                                  $1,202,989.18

Aramco Services Company                                                    $100,000.00

Maersk Oil Qatar                                                                     $1,536,230.88

Ooredoo                                                                                     $524,918.00

Qatar Biomedical Research Institute                                  $3,000.00

Qatar Foundation                                                                    $69,844.41

                                                                                                    [$3,476,263.29]

Zachor Legal Institute is a U.S.-based advocacy group dedicated to combatting the spread of anti-Semitism. Zachor made requests under the TPIA for information about the funding or donations made to Texas A&M by the government of Qatar and agencies and subdivisions of the government of Qatar. Qatar controversially has aligned itself with Islamic terrorists and extremists which has placed it at odds with the United States, Israel and other U.S. allies in the Middle East.

Zachor began asking in 2018 for information about Qatari funding of Texas A&M research and how Texas A&M, a public university, was able to establish a degree-conferring campus in Qatar without the Texas Legislature’s permission or involvement.

In 2018, Qatar filed a lawsuit to prevent disclosure of its funding information. Our attorneys countered in the courts that neither the Qatari government nor any of its agencies are protected by exceptions under Texas law and that federal law “expressly makes the requested information public.”

In March 2023, Judge Amy Clark Meachum ruled in favor of Judicial Watch and the Zachor Legal Institute and orderedthat the documents be made public.

“Thanks to the determined and skillful work of Judicial Watch, the country now sees the extent to which foreign governments are interfering in American institutions,” said Marc Greendorfer, President of Zachor Legal Institute. “Texas A&M’s apparent sporadic and shifting compliance with federal reporting requirements concerning gifts and grants from Qatar raises many questions as to why the university seemingly failed to comply with reporting requirements and whether additional information is not being reported. Zachor will continue to pursue answers to these questions until every dollar is accounted for.”

Now we know why terrorist-linked Qatar has fought us in court to hide its financial support for Texas A&M – which we just found out is nearly a half billion dollars.

 

Judge Rules in Favor of Judicial Watch Client: Bucks County, PA Acted in Bad Faith in Withholding School COVID Shutdown Documents – Court Orders County to Pay $3,000

A Bucks County, PA judge ruled that the county acted “in bad faith” in withholding records that are, by law, public from Megan Brock, a parent we represented. She was sued by Bucks County to prevent the release of documents related to COVID restrictions and the re-opening of the county’s schools that she requested under the commonwealth’s Right-to-Know Law (County of Bucks v. Megan Brock (Nos. 2022-03083 and 2022-02979)).

In each of the two lawsuits filed by Bucks County, Judge Denise M. Bowman ruled on April 28 that the county must produce records Brock had requested under the Right-to-Know Law (RTK).

Judge Bowman also ruled that the county pay sanctions in the amount of $1,500 in each of the lawsuits. This is the highest amount allowed under the RTK.

The court conducted an in-camera review of the records requested by Brock, found that more than half were not properly withheld by Bucks County, and ordered the release of several records.

The court also considered evidence submitted by Brock to the Office of Open Records which consisted of records that Brock obtained from another request that should have been but were not produced in the record searches in the lawsuits. The court agreed that these evidentiary records demonstrated that Bucks County had failed to “produce documents which clearly existed, fell within the RTK Requests at issue, and were not protected from disclosure by exemption.”

These court decisions are tremendous victories for the ‘right to know’ of parents and citizens. Indeed, the Court recognized the bad faith nature of the outrageous government lawsuits against our client Megan Brock for daring to ask questions about crazed covid school shutdowns.

On February 7, 2022, Brock sent an RTK request asking for all electronic correspondence by Bucks Co. Director of Policy and Communications Eric Nagy with Board Vice Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia, Board Chair Bob Harvie, former Director of the Commissioners’ Office of Public Information Larry King, Chief Clerk Gail Humphrey, and Health Department Director David Damsker from 8/10/2021 to 8/28/2021, on the buckscounty.gov domain. Also, all communications about Bucks County Health Department School Guidance.

On March 8, 2022, Brock sent an RTK request asking for a copy of an email sent to Acting Chief Operating OfficerMargaret McKevitt on 8/23/2021 on the buckscounty.gov domain, which contained the final copy of the Bucks County COVID-19 Amended School Guidance, including all responses.

On July 18, 2022, our local counsel, J. Chadwick Schnee, filed answers to Bucks County’s lawsuits against Brock.

In July 2022, National Review profiled Brock and Jamie Walker, parents of children in Bucks County who led the fight to re-open the county’s schools during the COVDI pandemic, “and then to keep schools open and opening close to normal.”  Brock and Walker “suspect county officials and two Democratic commissioners had a hand in updating the county’s guidance, and possibly overruling their own health director, a strong advocate for in-person learning. They believe Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf’s administration coerced the county into adopting its more restrictive Covid policies and its one-size-fits-all approach to school reopening.”

 

Judicial Watch Sues for ‘Manifesto’ of The Covenant School Shooter in Tennessee

Judicial Watch filed a public records lawsuit for records about the March 27, 2023, shooting at The Covenant School in Tennessee, including the reported “manifesto” written by the female shooting suspect.

Our suit is against the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County in The Chancery Court for the State of Tennessee’s 20th District. We sued on behalf of retired Hamilton County Sheriff James Hammond and the Tennessee Firearms Association, Inc. (“TFA”) (No. 23-0542-III).

On April 13, 2023, the TFA submitted two open records requests. The first request asked that the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (“MNPD”) produce copies of records or files and inspection of “the ‘manifesto’ reportedly found in the home of Audrey Elizabeth Hall on March 27, 2023.”

The second request asked that the MNPD produce copies of records or files and inspection “all email communications of MNPD officials regarding the mass shooting committed by Audrey Elizabeth Hale on March 27, 2023, as well as MNPD officials’ text messages regarding the same, and copies of the ‘manifesto’ reported left by Audrey Elizabeth Hale in her vehicle.”

In a separate request on April 17, 2023, Hammond asked that the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department for:

  1. All MNPD criminal police reports documenting this incident to include but not limited to:

a. Impound/evidence invoices

b. Photographs

c. Bodycam footage

d. City/County/State and/or federal coroner information

e. Suspect toxicology/lab results

f. Audio of calls for service

g. School video footage of suspect and officers

2. All MNPD Force Investigation Team (FIT) internal administrative investigations/reports regarding this incident to include but not limited to those mandated by The Manual of the Metropolitan Police Department of Nashville Davidson County, TN (the Department Manual) Title 1.130.050.

3. All MNPD communications, to include but not limited to directives, orders, memos, emails and/or letters, concerning the release of the contents and/or copies of the aforementioned “manifesto” of the deceased female shooting suspect.

4. All MNPD communications between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and/or the Office of the District Attorney, Nashville (20th Judicial District) regarding the designation of the aforementioned multiple shooting at a Christian School by a self-identified transgender suspect as a “hate crime.”

5. All MNPD criminal and/or field intelligence reports and/or received complaints involving the aforementioned shooting suspect (Audrey Hale) dated from January 1, 2020, to the date of your final response to this records request.

The MNPD denied all three requests without identifying any underlying criminal case or even a potential defendant.

The Tennessee Public Records Act states: “[a]ll state, county and municipal records shall… be open for personal inspection by any citizen of this state, and those in charge of the records shall not refuse such right of inspection to any citizen, unless otherwise provided by state law.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503(a)(2)(A). The lawsuit requests the Court allow prompt access to the requested public records.

Tennessee authorities have cited no credible reason for hiding the killer’s ‘manifesto’ about this deadly school shooting of three young children and three school employees. Politics shouldn’t trump transparency and the public safety. The public has an urgent right to know the details of this manifesto. That a public records lawsuit is required to try to access this key document is a scandal.

 

Hearing in Lawsuit for Teacher Fired for Preemployment Social Media Posts

Judicial Watch never stops. A federal court hearing will be held before Judge Denise J. Casper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in the civil rights lawsuit we filed on behalf of Kari MacRae, a Massachusetts high school teacher who was fired in retaliation for posts on social media that predated her employment at Hanover High School (MacRae vs. Matthew Mattos and Matthew A. Ferron (No. 1:21-cv-11917).

Our filing laying out the First Amendment retaliation issues and evidence uncovered through several months of discovery, including deposition testimony, is available here.

MacRae, who was hired as a Hanover High School teacher on August 31, 2021, was fired over several TikTok posts that were made months prior to her hiring at the school. MacRae, who in May of 2021 was elected to the Bourne School Committee, made the posts in her personal capacity as a citizen and candidate for public office.

The evidence is that Kari MacRae was fired in retaliation for exercising her First Amendment right to speak on issues of public concern, like critical race theory and transgenderism in schools. She deserves her day in court and the chance to make her case before a federal jury.

 

U.S. Funds Program to Support Displaced LGBTQI+ Refugees, Asylees

The transgender extremist movement is well-funded – with your tax dollars. Our Corruption Chronicles blog explains.

The U.S. will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars—and up to $1 million—to support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) refugees and asylum seekers in two or more countries. The goal, according to the Biden administration, is to create global coordination, advocacy, and knowledge-sharing on protecting and assisting refugees that identify as LGBTQI+. It is worth noting that the government’s official Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) buries the real purpose of the allocation by classifying the grant as “Humanitarian Research.” The money will be disbursed by the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). The U.S. is financing the initiative at the request of the United Nations (U.N.) to promote evidence-based decision making on priority protection, enhance tools to improve the agency’s performance and encourage other “humanitarian stakeholders” to follow recommendations.

To receive taxpayer dollars nonprofits and institutions of higher education must submit proposals that respond to several research questions involving LGBTQI+ persons, according to the grant announcement. The first one is, “what are best practices for the ethical, safe, and confidential collection, management, and reporting of data on displaced LGBTQI+ persons?” The second question asks, “what are the experiences and needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer (LGBQ) women, trans men, and intersex persons in situations of displacement and in humanitarian contexts, and what are best practices for reaching and assisting them?” That is followed by “what is the intersectionality between the health (including mental health) needs of LGBTQI+ persons and displacement?” Finally, the State Department asks potential grant recipients “what are best practices for assistance to meet these health needs?”

The U.S. was essentially directed to launch the project after a U.N. probe determined that displaced and stateless LGBTQI+ persons remain significantly under-identified and under-documented in humanitarian response efforts. The U.S. is already the U.N.’s largest donor to the tune of $12 billion, but the famously corrupt world body specifically called on Uncle Sam to invest in further research to identify best practices and develop guidelines on working with displaced and stateless LGBTQI+ persons. The U.S. government was also directed to undertake research on the intersection of health and forced displacement of LGBTQI+ persons and safer data collection methods. “The experiences of LGBTQI+ persons in displacement are not homogenous, and, as such, the best practices and policy responses to address their protection concerns and access to assistance and durable solutions will also not be homogenous,” according to the State Department, which stresses the need for the new program by revealing that most research overwhelmingly focuses on “the experiences of cisgender gay and queer men and trans women.”

The U.N. also wants the U.S. and other countries to develop and fund language-appropriate training for government employees and contractors responsible for collecting data on LGBTIQ+ displaced people and develop safe and effective tools, including respectful engagement using the correct diverse terminology dictated by SOGIESC, an umbrella term for those whose gender identity, sexual orientation, or gender expressions differ from the mainstream. The acronym stands for sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics. The leftist world body also wants the U.S. and other countries to innovate region-specific methods to expedite pathways for LGBTIQ+ displaced people in hostile host situations, noting that LGBTIQ+ forcibly displaced people often experience compounded hostility in places of protection due to criminalization of consensual same-sex relations and social stigma in asylum countries. Therefore, the U.N. is ordering “accelerated asylum procedures” for LGBTIQ+ migrants and to avoid inappropriate lines of questioning and the use of stereotypical assumptions in interviewing techniques and credibility assessments.

The U.S. has long accommodated members of this demographic by offering transgender illegal immigrants special services, including their own detention center. A few years ago, Judicial Watch reported on a New Mexico facility that offers transgender migrants hair and makeup classes, a recreation area, gym, television rooms, a lab and pharmacy. There are also meeting areas for trans detainees to consult with free legal services provided by advocacy groups. American taxpayers also furnish hormone therapy, which “is not cheap,” according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director.

Until next week …


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