Trump opposes YouTube change of venue request in platform ban case
Former President Trump in a late Thursday court filing expressed opposition to YouTube’s motion to move the case regarding the former president’s removal from the platform from Florida to California.
The filing, submitted on behalf of Trump and others opposing the decision by YouTube to suspend him from the platform in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, argued that YouTube’s Terms of Service, including its clause on appropriate forums to resolve disputes, “do not apply to government entities,” including Trump himself.
Trump’s team argued that the case should remain in the Southern District of Florida, and not be relocated to the Northern District of California, asserting that the “federal government recognizes that federal entities using social media platforms do not have the authority to bind themselves to the standard choice of forum, choice of law, or choice of venue terms that the major social media platforms have in their terms of service.”
The filing went on to say that there was “a strong public interest in keeping the claims” within the jurisdiction of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The filing came a day after Trump gave similar arguments in another filing opposing Twitter’s motion to have the former president’s lawsuit against the platform moved from Florida to California.
Trump filed a class-action lawsuit against YouTube’s parent company, Google, as well as Twitter and Facebook, in July, arguing that their decisions to ban and suspend him after the mob attack at the Capitol amounted to unconstitutional censorship.
John Coale, the lead counsel for Trump and the additional plaintiffs, told The Hill this week following his filing in the Twitter case that Trump could not be bound by the social media platforms’ terms of agreement, since he was serving as the president and was not a private citizen at the time of the suspensions.
YouTube and Alphabet, Inc., CEO Sundar Pichai had argued in its change of venue motion last week that Trump agreed to YouTube’s Terms of Service by creating an account on the platform, which “includes an express forum-selection clause requiring litigation in California.”
“Here, as in ‘all but the most unusual cases,’ ‘the interest of justice’ is served by holding parties to their bargain,” the company added.
The Hill has reached out to Google for comment on Trump’s Thursday filing.
Both Republicans and Democrats have argued that Trump’s actions on Twitter, which the former president’s legal team identified in court filings as “a key channel for official communication,” helped to incite the deadly violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 as his supporters attempted to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s 2020 election win.
Trump was impeached by the House over his role in the riot, making him the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. He was, however, acquitted by the GOP-controlled Senate in both cases.