In a 96-page filing (pdf) submitted to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 14, Trump’s lawyers allege government officials use social media platforms as “cat’s paws” to suppress opinions “that turn out to be correct or at least debatable,” such as Hunter Biden’s laptop, the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2020 election integrity.
The latest move as part of Trump’s battle against the social media giant came a day before the former president announced his third campaign for the White House in a Nov. 15 speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
The legal brief draws an analogy with Galileo Galilei, one of the fathers of modern science who believed the earth revolves around the sun, yet was convicted of heresy by the Catholic church.
“Most people once believed these to be crackpot ideas; many still do. But crackpot ideas sometimes turn out to be true,” lawyers wrote in the suit. “The earth does revolve around the sun, and it was Hunter Biden, not Russian disinformation agents, who dropped off a laptop full of incriminating evidence at a repair shop in Delaware,” the filing reads.
“Galileo spent his remaining days under house arrest for spreading heretical ideas, and thousands of dissidents today are arrested or killed by despotic governments eager to suppress ideas they disapprove of. But this is not the American way. We believe the path to truth is forged by exposing all ideas to opposition, debate, and discussion.”
The lawsuit against former CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, and the federal government seeks compensatory and punitive damages and a court order requiring Twitter to “immediately reinstate” his account, which has been suspended since Jan. 8, 2021, two days after the U.S. Capitol breach.
The former president, who was once a heavy user of Twitter with more than 80 million followers, has vowed to keep posting to his own Truth Social media platform, despite Twitter’s new owner, billionaire Elon Musk, saying that he would reinstate Trump’s account.
A lawyer for Trump, John Coale in Washington, told Reuters on Monday, “We want him to have the right to get back on” Twitter.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The tech giant said last year it had permanently suspended Trump’s account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as it was preparing to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win.
San Francisco-based U.S. District Judge James Donato in May dismissed Trump’s claim that his ban from Twitter violated speech protections accorded under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
Donato also denied Trump’s claim that Twitter was serving as a “state actor” when it banned his account.
Reuters contributed to this report.