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Federal judge considers whether to order Twitter to give election-fraud conspiracy theorist his account back

If only, US District Court Judge Mark Wolf mused today, an official in Bill Galvin's office hadn't filed a complaint with Twitter last September about a tweet by failed Senate candidate Shiva Ayyadurai that alleged Galvin had ordered the destruction of one million ballots in the Republican primary that month.

But one of Galvin's aides did file a complaint, stating that the claim by Ayyadurai, who lost the primary, was bunk, and then the next day, the executive director of a national association of state elections officials filed a similar complaint. And even though Twitter ignored both complaints and kept the tweet in question up, those two form complaints may have started a chain of events that now has a federal judge in Boston considering whether "state actors" either forced Twitter to go after an alleged enemy or Twitter was a willing participant in a conspiracy to help bring him down by deactivating his account several months later, and not just because the company had adopted new policies after Jan. 6 to try to cut down on election-conspiracy blather.

As a private company, Twitter is not normally subject to First Amendment complaints, but Ayyadurai had made a "plausible" case that Galvin official Michelle Tassinari and National Association of State Elections Directors Executive Director Amy Cohen had managed to drag Twitter into the whole affair through their complaints, submitted via Twitter forms, and that this might have been enough to make the case that Twitter was no longer simply a private company but had itself become, essentially an agent of the state and so subject to the First Amendment, Wolf said. Had they simply responded to Ayyadurai's tweet with rebuttal tweets of their own, that would have been the end of things, he said.

Finding the case "plausible" does not mean Wolf necessarily thinks Ayyadurai has proven his case, just that he has shown enough of a case to keep going, however. Wolf said he is inclined to agree with the state that its officials have "qualified immunity" against such a suit under the 11th Amendment. And Wolf could still decide to grant a request by the state Attorney General's office to simply dismiss Ayyadurai's suit.

Since he originally filed his suit in October, Ayyadurai has shifted from a demand to overturn the Sept. 1 primary results to a demand that Twitter give him his Twitter account back - and he is trying to add Twitter to the case here, even though the company's user terms require any suits against it to be filed in San Francisco. Ayyadurai has accompanied this with an increasingly expansive claim: Where at first he alleged Galvin used his influence at Twitter to delete his Tweets in the fall, at today's hearing, which extended across five hours, and which will continue tomorrow, Ayyadurai said that Tassinari, Cohen and "Twitter Legal" are, in fact, engagged in a full-blown RICO conspiracy that went so far to import censoring software from the "British Commonwealth," which he thought he had escaped when his parents fled India when he was a child but which is obviously aimed at personally destroying "a low-caste dark-skinned guy like me."

Wolf, who cautioned Ayyadurai to stop with the polemics when addressing legal issues, indicated at several points he wants to let the case continue to the point where both sides do "discovery" - a potentially lengthy pre-trial process involving depositions of potential witnesses and dredging through massive amounts of paperwork.

Wolf also urged Ayyadurai, more than once, to consider hiring a lawyer rather than continuing to press the case on his own. Discovery, he told him, is particularly tricky legally and needs a skilled legal hand. Ayyadurai said he would hire a lawyer, then asked Wolf if he could immediately order Twitter to reinstate his account so he could raise money, because Twitter was the main way he had been raising money before his online cancellation and it would help him hire a lawyer.

Wolf rejected that request. Court records show Ayyadurai started his case with a lawyer, Daniel Casieri of Plymouth, but that Ayyadurai fired him on Oct. 27, a week after Casieri filed the initial complaint in the case, and several months before Twitter terminated his account.

Assistant US Attorney Adam Hornstine and attorneys for the elections group and Twitter stressed the several months that had passed between the time the complaints were filed - and ignored - and the time in early February when Twitter, using a post-1/6 policy and a "five strikes" policy, determined that Ayyadurai's repeated tweets about alleged election fraud in Massachusetts warranted his permanent banning, which, they said, proved there was not concerted effort by the state to attack Ayyadurai. In its own filings, Twitter denied it had set up a filter system specifically to look for tweets that mention Tassinari.

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Comments

I like that the judge is letting this play out through discovery, as it might raise some interesting/important 1A questions. Admittedly, it does sound like a medium waste of taxpayer dollars.

For the good of us all, I hope Ayyadurai does not have his account reinstated. Twitter has well and truly exceeded its quotient of users that seem to exist only to spread total nonsense. We don't need anymore cranks of his caliber clogging up the tubes of this internet.

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Trump fans I understand. The whole thing is very primal with easy answers and vague explanantions that inevitably circle back to GOD/Trump/Flag.

Shiva fans are just pathetic because they see themselves as smarter than Trump fans and think that their ideas are better because their guy "invented email".

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So I could make a fortune selling them Cheerios as 'donut seeds' or maybe a new crypto currency.

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I have a family member... I have no idea how they got all caught up in this. They were sane and rational.

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500 times."

Can't wait for this obnoxious, delusional asshole to figure out that Texas or Florida is a better venue for his carnival act. He doesn't have a flicker of hope of being anything but a punchline in the Commonwealth.

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Where have I heard that before?

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Both the House of Reps and the Senate also have a form of qualified immunity. Anything they state openly on the house or senate floor is subject to full indemnification.

What does this mean?

It means that any and all of them can say anything they want, including boldfaced lies about anything and everything, and not be required to provide any back-up to their statements or claims.

This is why you have the situation we have now in Washington, DC. They can say what they want, advance any conspiracy theory du jour that they want, and just plain outright lie which we often see them doing almost daily. They know they can get away with it and have no recourse for the false statements they make.

An associate of mine checked this out. Once his representative gave a speech on the house floor and held up a large 3-ring binder which he said was loaded with complaints to a federal agency. It likely weighed 5 lbs or more and took two hands to hold up when giving testimony. My friend contacted that rep's office and asked how to get copies of these complaints from a single federal agency. The rep's office refused. Already knowing what the federal office was (National Parks), my associate contacted them for copies. There were exactly two, and only one had anything to do with my associate and the boldface lies issued on the House floor.

As long as this persists, and there is no culpability, things won't get any better.

And the weak-minded that are not capable of reason and rational deduction, will continue to vote for them.

The enemy of the Republican Party is not Democrats. It is the segment of the population that can actually think and reason and ask questions.

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Russia and the USPS immediately come to mind. Pot meet kettle.

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I suspect what you meant was:

In Soviet Russia, Twitter suspends you!

Hope that helps.

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Now I fully believe in reincarnation. Shiva Ayyadurai could be the present incarnation of Lyndon LaRouche.

Oh ironies of ironies.

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Lyndon LaRouche is dead, and has been for a few years.

Also, I never knew that he was alive for the stock market crash.

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When he started complaining about the British Commonwealth, I thought of LaRouche, who really, really hated Queen Elizabeth for some reason (well, because she worked with the Triad gangs of Hong Kong, of course).

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Is a dog whistling euphemism for the Jooz. LaRouche thought the British royal family had been infiltrated by the Zionists and turned into a drug front.

No really! That’s what he thought.

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I went to Brandeis and my first big story at the college newspaper was when the radio station brought in some LaRouchejugend to talk about the world affairs and the speaker dove right into the links between the Queen, the Triad gangs and, I think, Abba Eban, whom the speaker claimed helped the SS round up Jews. It was scheduled for right after a lecture by a professor on the Holocaust, and some kids who got out of that wandered into the LaRouche thing, and, well, it didn't end well (fortunately, only one kid was injured enough to require a trip to the ER).

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