Federal judge calls Indiana attorney general’s TikTok lawsuit largely ‘political posturing’

Jun 5, 2023, 12:56 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The fate of the Indiana attorney general’s lawsuit against the social media company TikTok is uncertain after a federal judge lambasted much of the case as “political posturing.”

While U.S. District Judge Holly Brady ruled against TikTok’s request to move the case to federal court, that decision leaves the lawsuit brought by Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita in the hands of a county judge who last month ruled against Rokita on two key points. The state attorney general claims the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform misleads users about its level of inappropriate content and about the security of consumer information. A county judge has already said the attorney general is wrong to classify downloading TikTok as a consumer transaction because no money is exchanged, and that Indiana lacks standing in the case because both TikTok and Apple — the company where people download the app — are based in California.

The most recent blow came May 23, when Brady wrote in a decision that “more than 90% of the (lawsuit) was devoted to irrelevant posturing.”

“When one wades through the political posturing and finds that legal claim, the inescapable conclusion is that the claim rises and falls on matters particular to state law,” Brady, a Fort Wayne, Indiana-based judge nominated by then-President Donald Trump, wrote. “The federal intrigue interjected by Indiana may interest its intended audience — one beyond the courthouse wall — but it is irrelevant to the determination of this case.”

Indiana’s lawsuit, which was filed in December, makes could harvest U.S. user data from TikTok and use the platform to push pro-Beijing misinformation or messages to the public. TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese tech giant ByteDance, has said it has never been asked to hand over its data to the Chinese government and has denied Indiana’s claims about inappropriate content.

The state attorney general’s office did not immediately comment Monday on Brady’s decision or the lawsuit’s future. TikTok’s attorneys and the ByteDance media office didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment either.

Brady’s decision keeps the lawsuit in state courts, where a judge last month denied Rokita’s request for a preliminary injunction prohibiting TikTok from stating in online app stores that it has “none” or “infrequent/mild” references to drugs, sexual or other inappropriate content for children as young as 12.

Judge Craig Bobay of Allen County Superior Court in Fort Wayne also ruled that downloading TikTok’s free app doesn’t amount to a consumer transaction and said the attorney general’s office was unlikely to win at trial.

The attorney general’s office hasn’t said whether it will appeal Bobay’s decision.

United States News

Associated Press

New Orleans civil rights icon Tessie Prevost dead at 69

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Funeral services will be held Saturday for one of four Black girls who helped integrate New Orleans public schools in 1960. Tessie Prevost Williams, known as one of the “New Orleans Four,” died July 6 following a series of medical complications. She was 69. On Nov. 14, 1960, Prevost Williams, along […]

19 minutes ago

A deer walks past a law enforcement blockade of President Joe Biden's beach house neighborhood, Mon...

Associated Press

Biden continues to recover from COVID-19, stays out of public view after ending his 2024 campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s “symptoms have almost resolved completely” from COVID-19, according to his physician, as the president on Monday remained out of public view for the fifth straight day. Biden announced he was ending his reelection campaign in a letter posted Sunday on social media. He also announced in a statement on […]

22 minutes ago

Associated Press

Plane crashes near the site of an air show in Wisconsin, killing the 2 people on board

NEKIMI, Wis. (AP) — A plane crashed in a Wisconsin farm field near the site of an air show Monday, killing the two people on board, authorities said. Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters responding to the crash in the eastern Wisconsin town of Nekimi on Monday afternoon found the aircraft fully engulfed in flames, the Winnebago […]

24 minutes ago

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks about his possible political future during an interview at the Ke...

Associated Press

Gov. Andy Beshear endorses Harris amid speculation on whether he’s in the running to join the ticket

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday he spoke with Vice President Kamala Harris soon after she became the prohibitive favorite to lead the Democratic ticket, and said his state’s progress “should be a model for the country” as speculation swirled around whether he’s in the running to join the slate. Beshear […]

47 minutes ago

Associated Press

Largest trial court in the US closes after ransomware attack, California officials say

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The largest trial court in the country was closed Monday after a ransomware attack shut down its computer system late last week, officials with the Superior Court of Los Angeles County said. The court disabled its computer network upon discovery of the cybersecurity attack early Friday, and the system remained down […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Cleveland-Cliffs will make electrical transformers at shuttered West Virginia tin plant

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Cleveland-Cliffs announced Monday it will produce electrical transformers in a $150 million investment at a West Virginia facility that closed earlier this year. The company hopes to reopen the Weirton facility in early 2026 and “address the critical shortage of distribution transformers that is stifling economic growth across the United States,” […]

1 hour ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

Federal judge calls Indiana attorney general’s TikTok lawsuit largely ‘political posturing’