Sunday, September 24

The search warrant for Donald Trump’s Twitter account was issued by special counsel.


A court filing that was recently unsealed revealed that the special counsel investigation into Donald Trump had obtained a search warrant for the ex-president’s Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump.

Twitter was initially prohibited from informing Trump that a search warrant had been obtained for his account, and “X” was fined $350,000 for postponing the production of the requested documents.

Special counsel Jack Smith obtained “data and records related to Trump’s account” for the search warrant, which ultimately allowed the site to disclose some of its information to the former president.

The warrant was sought by the special counsel’s office in January 2023, who are currently handling a criminal case against Trump in DC District Court related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

The public filing in the US Circuit Court of Appeals indicates that Twitter ultimately created the records.

The court was anxious about permitting Trump to destroy evidence.

Twitter and special counsel Jack Smith’s office spent months arguing over whether Trump should be informed about the search warrant.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals unsealed a decision on Wednesday that confirmed the district court’s handling of the dispute, including its imposition of sanctions on the company for failing to provide information within three days.

According to the DC Circuit’s opinion, revealing the warrant to former President Trump would potentially put ongoing investigation in jeopardy by giving him the opportunity to destroy evidence, change behavior patterns, or inform confederates.

The district court’s decision to enforce the non-disclosure order was based on a footnote that suggested the former President might avoid prosecution.

According to the footnote, the government admitted mistakenly incorporated flight from prosecution as a precondition in its application. The district court did not consider flight risk when making its final determination.

The website, which underwent a name change during its legal battle with prosecutors, did not object to the production of Smith’s requested records, but maintained that the restriction on informing Trump of the search warrant violated the First Amendment and the Stored Communications Act.

Twitter was authorized to inform the former President of the warrant’s existence and contents during the litigation, but it was not allowed to disclose the identity of their case agent.

The ruling indicated that prosecutors had altered their approach to allow some disclosure due to the release of additional information about investigations conducted by the former President after the nondisclosure order.

A legal dispute has been ongoing in secret for several months.

There were indications at the courthouse that a major tech company was involved in ‘a sealed legal battle’, but most information about the case had been kept under wraps until Wednesday when the DC Circuit issued its ruling.

Circuit Judge Florence Pan contributed to the appellate ruling, which was released in July. The unsealed version that was made public on Wednesday had been adjusted for publication.

Smith’s office encountered difficulties when it first tried to serve Twitter with the search warrant and nondisclosure order, according to the statement.

President Joe Biden and Barack Obama both put their money behind Pan and Childs and Pillard’s nomination.

The ruling states that Twitter was initially supposed to serve their warrant through their website for legal requests on January 17, 2023, but the website was inactive. Nevertheless, prosecutors were able to contact and serve Twitter via the same website within two days.

Twitter’s lawyer was contacted by prosecutors the following week to verify their compliance with the search warrant. As per the order, Twitter counsel claimed that she had not been informed about the defendant.

Twitter requested the DC district court to revoke the nondisclosure order by the first week of February, stating that Trump should be informed about the warrant. However, this request was denied by a district judge, and Twitter submitted the documents on February 9.

Twitter sought to overturn the district court’s opinion in favor of the nondisclosure order. Prosecutors changed the order in June to permit some information to be disclosed to Trump.

This story has been updated.

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