Two members of Michael Flynn’s family trying to sue CNN for tying the family to belief in QAnon will soon be deposed, a lawyer for the outlet said in a court hearing this week. It’ll apparently be within weeks.
The plaintiffs in this case don’t include Michael himself. That member of the family, of course, was originally a presidential national security adviser in the Trump administration, sticking around in Trump’s circles even after his abrupt departure from his official role. Later, Flynn advocated for the extreme idea of the military redoing at least portions of the 2020 presidential election. Elsewhere, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) was texting then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in evident favor of imposing martial law just days before Biden would take the oath of office, and some were also interested in the possibility of the federal government seizing machinery used in the 2020 election — so although it was already clear, these people’s ideas were extreme.
In this court dispute, the plaintiffs are a brother of Michael’s, John Flynn, who also goes by Jack, and his wife, Leslie. At issue is CNN connecting the Flynns to the spread of belief in the QAnon conspiracy theory because of a video they took of members of the family saying the phrase: “Where we go one, we go all.” That sequence of words is used as a slogan among believers in QAnon, although it originated elsewhere. Social media posts are out there showing what is apparently actual belief in the conspiracy theories of QAnon among the Flynns, although a prior judge allowed portions of the case to move forward on the idea it hadn’t yet reached the point of deciding on the merits of the lawsuit, which now rests on a claim of portraying the Flynns in an ostensibly false light.
CNN has recently raised concerns about the effectiveness with which the Flynns actually complied with a push for relevant messages amid the discovery process, and the network sought what was identified as a forensic search of their phones.
“A forensic search is warranted here given the serious doubts created by Plaintiffs’ incomplete document productions and failure to produce responsive documents and communications unless confronted by the document via a third party production,” Katherine Bolger, representing CNN, said in a filing. “Finally, Plaintiffs’ counsel has admitted that Plaintiffs have either deleted or no longer have access to some documents and communications that are relevant to this matter and were created when they were contemplating this litigation.” This issue came up during the hearing earlier this week, where Bolger pushed again for more information about the Flynns’ messaging habits, including whether missives potentially sent via the communications app Signal were automatically deleted. That’s an option in the platform’s settings. Bolger also addressed the possibility of WhatsApp messages.