“Defendants object to this Request as overbroad because it calls for documents that are not relevant to Plaintiffs’ claims and that do not fall within scope of discovery authorized by the Court,” government lawyers said on behalf of Fauci and the agency he directs, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in a brief made public this week.
The suit, brought by two states, triggered the release of hundreds of emails between government officials and Big Tech workers.
But none of the released material came from Fauci, even though his agency was asked in a discovery request to provide all communications with Zuckerberg from Jan. 1, 2020, to July 18, 2022.
A federal judge ordered defendants to comply with discovery requests concerning “the identity of federal officials who have been and are communicating with social-media platforms about [misinformation and] any censorship or suppression of speech on social media, including the nature and content of those communications.”
The request for communications between Fauci and Zuckerberg is overbroad because it doesn’t specify communications concerning misinformation, the new filing states.
“Further, to the extent this Request seeks any purely internal documents or records, Defendants object to the Request as not proportional to the needs of the case, as it would require an extensive search of internal records that would not be possible to complete in the expedited period provided for current discovery and would be unnecessary in light of the external documents Defendants have agreed to produce,” they said. “Defendants also object to this Request to the extent it seeks documents protected by the deliberative process privilege, attorney-client privilege, law enforcement privilege, a statutory national security privilege, or any other applicable privilege.”