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Newt Gingrich locked out of Twitter for criticizing Biden immigration policy

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Former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich was locked out of his Twitter account for over a week after he published a tweet that criticized the Biden administration’s approach to the southern border and raised concern over immigrants crossing the border illegally who may be infected with COVID-19.

“If there is a covid surge in Texas the fault will not be Governor [Greg] Abbott’s common sense reforms. The greatest threat of a covid surge comes from Biden’s untested illegal immigrants pouring across the border. We have no way of knowing how many of them are bringing covid with them,” Gingrich tweeted on March 3.

Twitter promptly sent Gingrich a message explaining that his account was locked for “violating rules against hateful conduct.”

In an opinion piece published in The Washington Times, Gingrich defended his tweet saying that he was reacting to a recent story that said federal officials had no way of testing people who are picked up by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol — or forcing them to quarantine.

In order to unlock his account, Gingrich was required to delete his tweet or go through an appeals process. Gingrich assumed he received this message by accident.

“Thinking this must have been an error somehow generated by the company’s algorithm, we sent Twitter a message pointing out that my tweet didn’t “promote violence against, threaten, or harass” anyone. We asked that my account be released,” Gingrich said.

Twitter reiterated to Gingrich that his tweet had broken their rules of conduct.

“I fail to see how drawing attention to the public health dangers of massive illegal immigration during a pandemic can be censored. So, to unlock my account, I deleted the tweet this morning,” Gingrich wrote.

“There was no reason to censor my tweet or lock my account,” Gingrich continued. “Nothing in the flagged tweet “promotes violence against, threatens, or harasses” anyone. It is simply pointing out the fact that those entering the country illegally are not tested for COVID-19 and could be a health risk.”

In an open letter to Twitter officials, Gingrich posed the following questions:

Do the Twitter censors acknowledge that we are in a pandemic?

Do the Twitter censors acknowledge that testing is a key tool in fighting the pandemic?

Do the Twitter censors acknowledge that, unlike people entering the country legally, people who come into the United States illegally are not tested for COVID-19?

Do the Twitter censors acknowledge that, unlike U.S. citizens, people who come into the country illegally are unlikely to voluntarily get tested because they are trying to keep a low profile?

If so, how exactly do they justify censoring discussion of the threat to public health posed by people coming into the U.S. illegally without being tested?

Gingrich noted that the vast majority of those being silenced online are conservatives.

“This entire experience has made it even more clear to me that Twitter is only interested in censoring conservatives,” Gingrich said.

“I hope Twitter will stop its aggressive and biased censorship, and return to the spirit and ideals of free speech which allowed it to prosper in the first place.”

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Elections

After 3 days, 12 jurors for Trump alleged hush money trial have been chosen

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What was anticipated to take up to two weeks has concluded in only three days. 12 jurors have been chosen for the trial against former President Donald Trump, who has been charged by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. The charges surround alleged hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all counts, stating the trial is “political persecution.” The former president is expected to testify during his trial, and Fox News has published a list with what is known of the individuals:

Juror #1 and the foreperson: lives in New York City but is originally from Ireland. He has no children and enjoys doing anything outdoorsy. He gets his news from the New York Times, Daily Mail, Fox News and MSNBC.

When asked by Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche if he was aware Trump is charged in other cases and jurisdictions, and how that affects him, the man said, “I don’t have an opinion.”

Juror #2 Is a man who said he follows Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen on “X,” formerly known as Twitter, as well as other “right wing” accounts, including former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

The reason, he said, he follows those figures was so he could be plugged in to “anything that might move the markets I might need to know about.”

When asked if he would unfollow Cohen, as he may be a witness in the trial, the man said: “absolutely.”

The man also said he has “not seen any evidence” relating to the case.

“I will try to keep an open mind,” he said.

Responding to questions from Trump lawyer Susan Necheles about his feelings about the former president, the man said that Trump has done some good for the country.

“It’s ambivalent,” he said. “It goes both ways.”

The first person who was labeled juror #2 was excused Thursday morning after saying she could not be a fair juror.

Juror #3 is a young to middle-aged Asian man who lives in Manhattan. The man said he grew up in Oregon and has been an attorney for five years practicing corporate law. The man said he enjoys hiking and running, and gets his news from The New York Times and Google.

Juror #4 is originally from California, but has lived in New York City for 15 years. The man said he has been a security engineer for 25 years and holds a high school diploma, with some college education.

The man is married with three children. His wife is a teacher.

During his spare time, he enjoys being with his children, woodworking, and metal working.

The man said he has served on a jury before — on both a grand jury and a jury in a criminal trial.

The man said he gets his news from “a smattering” of news sources. As for social media, he said he doesn’t use it.

The man said he has a relative who works in finance and brothers-in-law that work as lawyers.

The man said he has no feelings about how Trump is being treated in this case.

The person who was first labeled as Juror #4 was excused Thursday morning after it was revealed that he had been previously arrested in Westchester, N.Y., for tearing down right-wing political advertisements.

Juror #5 is young and a New York native who has been a teacher of English Language Arts for eight years.

The woman was previously a caseworker at a juvenile detention center. She said she has a masters’ degree in education.

“I’m creative at heart,” she said, adding that she enjoys photography.

The woman said that she is not married and does not have children. Her mother was an administrative aide for a police department, and her godfather was a homicide detective.

The woman said she gets her news from Google and TikTok.

She was asked if Trump chose not to testify, whether she would hold that against him.

“I won’t hold that against him,” she said.

She explained that she has friends who have strong opinions on the former president but said she is not a political person and tries to avoid political conversations.

She did say, however, that she appreciates Trump’s candor.

“President Trump speaks his mind, and I’d rather that than someone who’s in office who you don’t know what they’re thinking,” she said.

When jurors were asked if they were aware Trump was charged in other cases than Bragg’s, most jurors were. However, juror #5 raised her hand to indicate that she was learning of additional charges for the first time.

Juror #6 is a young woman who lives in Manhattan. She described herself as a New Yorker. The woman is a software engineer and said she likes to dance.

Juror #7 is originally from North Carolina and works as an attorney and civil litigator.

The man said he is married with two children, and his wife works in risk management for a bank. He said he enjoys spending time outdoors and with his family.

The man said he gets his news from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Post and the Washington Post.

When asked if his career as a lawyer would impact his ability to serve fair and impartially, or whether his opinions would get in his way, the man said that he does have “political views as to the Trump presidency” and said there were likely Trump administration policies he disagreed with.

“I don’t know the man and I don’t have any opinions about him personally,” he said.

As for his career as a lawyer, he said he does not have any opinions about Trump’s character.

“I certainly follow the news,” he said. “I’m aware there are other lawsuits out there. But I’m not sure that I know anyone’s character.”

Juror #8 has been selected. Information on this juror is not yet available.

Juror #9 is a woman who lives in Manhattan. She is originally from New Jersey and works as a speech therapist.

The woman is not married and does not have children. She said she likes to spend time with friends, go to restaurants, and go on walks.

The woman said she has never served on a jury before, and does not watch the news or follow current events too closely. The woman said she did, though, have email subscriptions to CNN and The New York Times. She said she follows social media accounts, listens to podcasts, and enjoys reality television.

The woman said she does not listen to talk radio.

The woman said she can be fair and impartial. She said she does have opinions about Trump, but said she believes she can put them aside and be fair and impartial.

Juror #10 is a man who lives in Manhattan. He was born and raised in Ohio and works in commerce for a large company. The man has a college degree.

The man said he is not married and has no children, but lives with another adult who works in accounting.

The man said he enjoys being outdoors and loves animals.

The man said he does not really follow the news, but listens to podcasts on behavioral psychology.

The man said he has no strong opinions on how Trump is treated in this case.

Juror #11 has been selected. Information on this juror was not immediately available.

Juror #12 has been selected. Information on this juror was not immediately available.

 

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