Trump hires former 9th Circuit judge for Twitter court battle

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A former California court of appeals judge who retired in 2017 over sexual harassment allegations is now representing former US President Donald Trump in his legal battle with Twitter.

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Alex Kozinski, former 9th Circuit judge, filed Friday to appear in Trump’s appeal against a court order dismissing a lawsuit against Twitter over the former president’s ban on the social media platform after the January 6 riots. at the US Capitol.

Kozinski declined to comment. John Coale, the lead attorney in the Trump case, said Kozinski was brought in to help because of his experience with the 9th Circuit, and no other changes are expected for the legal team.

Judge Alex Kozinski, of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, gestures during oral argument in San Francisco, September 22, 2003.
Judge Alex Kozinski, of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, gestures during oral argument in San Francisco, September 22, 2003. Photo by Paul Sakuma/POOL/File PhotoREUTERS

Kozinski withdrew from the 9th Circuit, the federal appeals court that covers much of the western United States, in 2017 after the court opened an investigation into him over allegations of misconduct from former clerks and other junior staffers.

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Kozinski said at the time it would be a distraction for the federal judiciary to remain in his role. He said he “always had a broad sense of humor” and was “perhaps not aware enough of the special challenges and pressures faced by women in the workplace.”

He never intended to make his clerks feel uncomfortable, he said.

The Washington Post first reported on the misconduct claims against Kozinski in December 2017. Reuters has not independently verified the claims. Submitting a complaint is not a finding of wrongdoing.

In 2019, Kozinski returned to the 9th Circuit to represent the plaintiff in a lawsuit over alleged copyright infringement in the movie “The Shape of Water”. The parties agreed to fire it in 2021 after Kozinski won a key ruling.

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He was also on a team of attorneys in Los Angeles federal court that sued Paramount Pictures Corp. last month for alleged copyright infringement on the blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick.” Paramount has said the claims are unfounded.

Trump filed lawsuits last year against Alphabet’s Twitter, Facebook and Google after they banned him from their platforms following the January 6 riots.

U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco in May dismissed Trump’s lawsuit against Twitter, dismissing the former president’s claim that the ban violates his First Amendment free speech.

Twitter said at the time that it had permanently deleted Trump’s account because his tweets had violated the platform’s policies other than “glorification of violence.”

When reached on Friday, a Twitter spokesperson referred Reuters to the tech company, and a Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.

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