Appeals court set to weigh if First Amendment should protect ‘La GordiLoca’

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 5:02 PM CST
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - The question of whether or not Laredo city officials violated the first amendment rights of local social media personality Priscilla Villarreal, also known as La Gordiloca, is now in the hands of 16 federal appeals court judges.

Attorneys for both Villarreal and the City of Laredo presented oral arguments to all judges from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Attorneys for Villarreal argued that her constitutional right to Freedom of Speech was violated. It all stemmed from an incident in 2017 when Villarreal was arrested on two counts of misuse of official information. She allegedly received the information from a police officer which had not been made public.

Villarreal’s lawyers argued that anyone has the right to ask for information and publish it. Attorney J.T. Morris with the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) said, “the risk is that now since you have a Texas statute, that enables government officials to make the media or any citizen question whether or not they risk going to jail if they ask a government official a question and that government official gives them information that the government doesn’t want to be released yet.”

Lawyers for the city argued that Villarreal broke all the provisions of the law. Especially since the information had not been made public at the time Villarreal published it on her social media account.

Judges will now have to render an opinion on this case which could take two months.

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