San Francisco federal District Judge James Donato dismissed the suit in an order on Friday, writing that the former president’s argument that the ban violated his First Amendment right to free speech did not start “from a position of strength.”
Donato noted that Twitter is a private company and that “the First Amendment applies only to governmental abridgements of speech, and not to alleged abridgements by private companies.”
The only way Trump might beat the ban in court, Donato said, was if he could demonstrate that his suspension was attributable to the government. But he didn’t do that, Donato said.
“Overall, the amended complaint does not plausibly allege that Twitter acted as a government entity when it closed plaintiffs’ accounts,” Donato wrote.
Twitter officially banned Trump on Jan. 8, 2021, two days after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Company officials said the ban was “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
But Trump’s Twitter suspension hasn’t really stopped him from sending messages to followers through his spokesperson, Liz Harrington, who posts them on her own Twitter page.
As of Friday, Trump, er, Harrington hadn’t posted anything about the court defeat.
Last month, Trump claimed he had no plans to return to Twitter even if multibillionaire Elon Musk got rid of the ban once his purchase of the company was complete.
Instead, the former president said he would stick with Truth Social, his own problem-plagued social media company.
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