DeVos ordered to testify in student loan forgiveness lawsuit

A federal judge has ruled that former Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosBiden Education Department hires vocal proponent of canceling student debt Erik Prince involved in push for experimental COVID-19 vaccine: report Biden administration reverses Trump-era policy that hampered probes of student loan companies MORE must testify in a class-action lawsuit over her department's handling of the federal student loan forgiveness program.

Politico reported that Judge William Alsup, an appointee of former President Clinton, ruled Wednesday that DeVos must explain an 18-month pause in the fulfillment of student loan forgiveness claims filed by students arguing they were defrauded by for-profit colleges. Thousands of those claims were later dismissed.

DeVos must testify in the case due to "extraordinary circumstances" surrounding the dispute, including the Education Department's sparse record-keeping under the former secretary as well as questions about whether the Trump administration lied about the reasons for the dismissals, the judge ruled.

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“If judicial process runs to presidents, it runs to Cabinet secretaries — especially former ones,” Alsup wrote, according to Politico, referencing the past history of presidents being subjected to subpoenas in various legal cases.

DeVos has previously attempted to block her own testimony, with her attorneys arguing that it would be unduly burdensome for her to appear in court.

The Biden administration also sided with her, arguing that former Cabinet secretaries should be immune from testifying under oath about their activities in office.

Thousands of students have argued in the class-action lawsuit that DeVos and the department improperly denied their loan forgiveness claims and refused to provide evidence for their reasoning.

“Nearly 200,000 defrauded students are still waiting for justice, due in no small part to the malicious efforts of Betsy DeVos and the for-profit education lackeys with which she surrounded herself as Secretary of Education. She utterly failed in her duty to protect students from harm and to hold scam schools accountable,” Theresa Sweet, a lead plaintiff in the case, told Forbes in March.