Twitter Gave Special Counsel Data on Trump's Account

Company was fined $350K for delay in complying with warrant, court records state
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 9, 2023 12:58 PM CDT
Smith Obtained Warrant for Trump's Twitter Records
Former President Donald Trump waves as he steps off his plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Arlington, Virginia.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Special counsel Jack Smith's team obtained a search warrant in January for records related to former President Donald Trump's Twitter account, and Twitter complied after some initial resistance, according to court documents released Wednesday. The details were included in a decision from the federal appeals court in Washington rejecting Twitter's claim that it should not have been held in contempt or sanctioned because it missed the deadline for complying, the AP reports. The filing says prosecutors got the search warrant directing Twitter to produce information on Trump's account after a court "found probable cause to search the Twitter account for evidence of criminal offenses."

"Although Twitter ultimately complied with the warrant, the company did not fully produce the requested information until three days after a court-ordered deadline," according to the appeals court ruling, per Politico. "The district court thus held Twitter in contempt and imposed a $350,000 sanction for its delay." The government also obtained a nondisclosure agreement prohibiting Twitter from disclosing the search warrant to Trump, the filing says. The court found that disclosing the warrant could risk that Trump would "would seriously jeopardize the ongoing investigation" by giving him "an opportunity to destroy evidence, change patterns of behavior," per the filing.

Smith has charged Trump, in an indictment unsealed last week, with conspiring to subvert the will of voters and cling to power after he lost the 2020 election to President Biden. Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges including conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of Congress' certification of Biden's win. A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment on the warrant or what exactly it sought. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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