Did these organization leaders have their first amendment rights violated? True The Vote leaders Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips have been ordered to be released from a Houston prison Monday after the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a Texas federal district court judge’s previous ruling that jailed the pair.
It was last week when U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt ordered the two organization leaders to be held for at least a day or “until they fully comply with the Court’s Order.”
Hoyt had Engelbrecht and Phillips jailed after they refused to hand over the names of several witnesses who anonymously provided information regarding elections software company Konnech, according to the Texas Tribune.
Allegations made against Konnech and its chief executive Eugene Yu included that sensitive information pertaining to poll workers was being stored on servers located in China. The company soon responded by suing the two leaders for defamation.
“Yu was later arrested and charged by the Los Angeles district attorney for allegedly storing government data in China, which is in breach of the company’s contract. L.A. officials reportedly received their initial tip regarding Yu from Phillips,” reported The Post Millennial.
The news was amplified on Twitter by Ivory Hecker, an American journalist who was famously suspended and later fired by Fox News after she accused the network of muzzling her reporting.
Breaking: Judge orders release from detention for True the Vote's Catherine Engelbrecht & Gregg Phillips. They spent a week in jail for refusing to say the name of a witness in Konnech v. True the Vote. They appealed their detention in the 5th Circuit and were granted release. pic.twitter.com/ECvk7tbOeb
— Ivory Hecker (@IvoryHecker) November 7, 2022
Engelbrecht and Phillips argued in their filing for release from prison to the Fifth Circuit that Hoyt’s order for confinement “represents a clear abuse of discretion and a manifest miscarriage of justice.”
“Petitioners pray that this court enters an order releasing them from the district court’s draconian order of detention for refusing to identify a federal confidential informant in open court whose identity, in any event, has no bearing on the merits of this defamation case hinging on competing accounts of alleged historical events,” they said.
Engelbrecht additionally said she would not identify the witness because every name she gives “gets doxxed and harassed.”
“Trust, honesty, and respect will always be our highest values, regarding both our work and our lives,” Englebrecht said in a statement last week, per Law and Crime.
Such treatment of Americans who speak out against current United States elections processes comes as no surprise. Going as far back as 10 years ago, mainstream outlets such as CNN have brought on elected representatives to bash the practices of True The Vote, alleging that they are trying to “deny anybody the right to vote.”