Judge Deals Blow to Texas AG’s ‘Retaliatory’ Probe of Watchdog Group


Progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America celebrated a legal win Friday, announcing that a federal judge has imposed a preliminary injunction against Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general who sought to investigate the group after it reported on white nationalist content appearing on X, formerly Twitter.

Media Matters President and CEO Angelo Carusone released a statement calling the news a “victory for free speech.”

“Elon Musk encouraged Republican state attorneys general to use their power to harass their critics and stifle reporting about X. Ken Paxton was one of those AGs that took up the call and he was defeated. Today’s decision is a victory for free speech,” Carusone said.

After Media Matters published its report last November, X sued the watchdog group, as did Paxton. Media Matters responded with a suit against Paxton, alleging violations of their First Amendment rights, including a chilling effect on their ability to conduct their work. Paxton’s suit, they argued, amounted to “a baseless and arbitrary government investigation in a state to which they have no relevant connection.”

Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia agreed, writing that the group’s “reporting on matters of public concern are core First Amendment activities.” Paxton’s comments about Media Matters showed “retaliatory intent,” he added. Paxton is now barred from being able to look through Media Matters’ internal documents, as he had demanded.

Paxton, who recently struck a deal to avoid being charged with securities fraud, has not yet issued a public statement in response to Friday’s ruling.

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