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Judicial Watch Seeks to Depose Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot about Her Racist Interview Policy

Judicial Watch announced this week that it filed a motion for court authorization to depose Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the currently pending civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Thomas Catenacci and the Daily Caller News Foundation regarding her policy of only granting interviews to “journalists of color.”

On May 18, 2021, Mayor Lightfoot’s office informed multiple reporters that she would grant one-on-one interviews, “only to Black or Brown journalists.” The next day, the mayor released a letter confirming her discriminatory policy.

On May 27, 2021, Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation and reporter Thomas Catenacci against Lightfoot for violating their First Amendment Rights and Catenacci’s right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment (Catenacci et al. v. Lightfoot (No. 1:21-cv-02852)).

Catenacci, a white male, emailed Mayor Lightfoot’s office requesting a one-on-one interview with the mayor. The office never replied to the request or to multiple follow up emails from Catenacci.

In August, the court ordered the deposition of a representative of Lightfoot’s office.

In its motion, Judicial Watch points out:

Defendant Lori Lightfoot breached her obligation … to designate a person or persons to testify on her behalf concerning topics authorized by the Court. From the earliest moments of the deposition, it was beyond clear that Mayor Lightfoot failed to produce a witness who could testify to the factual issues raised in her motion to dismiss and within the scope of the Court’s order. Specifically, Kathleen LeFurgy, Mayor Lightfoot’s designee … was grossly ill prepared to testify as Mayor Lightfoot’s designee.

Judicial Watch asks the court to order the deposition of Lightfoot herself “on oral examination …”

In a separate motion, Judicial Watch also asks the court to order the mayor’s office to answer 19 questions and any reasonable follow-up questions that LeFurgy had refused to answer during the deposition.

“Based on the court proceedings to date it sure seems like Mayor Lightfoot is trying to dodge responsibility for her racist interview policy. We hope the court does not let this happen,” Daily Caller News Foundation President Neil Patel said.

“It’s high time Mayor Lightfoot answered directly for denying my interview request. The mayor must be held responsible for her blatantly racist interview policy,” Thomas Catenacci said.

“Testimony in this lawsuit confirms Mayor Lightfoot is responsible for her racist interview policy and is therefore a necessary witness in this civil rights lawsuit,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Christine Svenson of Svenson Law Offices in Palatine, Illinois, is assisting Judicial Watch with the lawsuit. 

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