Special counsel Jack Smith demanded that Twitter (now “X”) turn over former President Donald Trump’s direct messages, a violation of his First Amendment rights, the Stored Communications Act and potentially executive privilege.
The Department of Justice eventually fined Elon Musk’s company $350,000 for not complying with the order quickly enough, as Twitter then resisted delivering the messages by the deadline.
Defense attorney Marina Medvin shared the relevant documentation, which can be read below.
The special counsel obtained a search warrant for Donald Trump’s Twitter account @realdonaldtrump
Although @elonmusk’s Twitter tried to withhold Trump’s records because of the non-disclosure provision of the search warrant, and was fined $350,000 in the process for failing to comply in time,… pic.twitter.com/N57nwddbAs
— Marina Medvin 🇺🇸 (@MarinaMedvin) August 9, 2023
“The district court issued a search warrant in a criminal case, ordering appellant Twitter, Inc. (‘Twitter’) to produce information to the government related to the ‘@realDonaldTrump’ Twitter account,” said the court order. “The search warrant was served along with a confidentiality order prohibiting Twitter from notifying anyone of the existence or content of the warrant.”
“Twitter initially delayed production of the materials required by the search warrant while it unsuccessfully litigated objections to the non-disclosure order,” it continued. “Although Twitter ultimately complied with the order, the company did not fully submit the requested information until three days after a court-ordered deadline.”
“Thus, the district court struck down Twitter and imposed a $350,000 penalty for its delay,” the court filing said.
“On this appeal, Twitter argues that the nondisclosure order violated the First Amendment and the Stored Communications Act; that the district court should have stayed execution of the search warrant until it resolve Twitter’s objections to the nondisclosure order; and that the district court abused its discretion in holding Twitter in contempt and imposing the sanction,” the statement said. “We affirm the district court on all counts.”
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