The federal judge presiding over ex-Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s lawsuit against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — for blocking him from her Twitter account — wants lawyers in the case to duke it out in a “mini trial” later this month.
Brooklyn federal Judge Frederic Block called Hikind’s lawsuit against Ocasio-Cortez a “matter of public interest” and told lawyers for both parties to bring “whatever you want” to a Sept. 26 hearing that will help him make an “intelligent decision” on whether the suit can move forward.
Hikind claims in his suit that that the freshman representative has run afoul of his First Amendment rights.
“Whatever you want,” Block said. “Live witnesses, dead witnesses. I need the facts.”
Hikind says in his suit that Ocasio-Cortez blocked him for “opinions he expressed.”
Ocasio-Cortez recently said at a rally that she blocks fellow Twitter users to avoid getting harassed, not because of users’ political views.
“All in all, although it’s clear Ocasio-Cortez won’t be present, I’m looking forward to my day in court,” Hikind said of the hearing in a news release.
“This will have far-reaching consequences and could change the way all politicians conduct themselves on Twitter and other social media platforms.”
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Lawyers for Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to requests for comment.
Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, which has publicly criticized Ocasio-Cortez for blocking users from her Twitter account, filed a lawsuit similar to Hikind’s in Manhattan federal court against President Donald Trump for blocking his Twitter critics.
A federal judge ruled in the institute’s favor, and the U.S. Appeals Court for the Second Circuit, which has jurisdiction over both the Manhattan and Brooklyn federal courts, upheld that ruling.