Twitter Faces $350K Fine for Delay in Providing Trump’s Account to Special Counsel: Court Filing

Recently released court documents have revealed that Special Counsel Jack Smith obtained a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account back in January. Twitter, now referred to as X, was issued a warrant with a nondisclosure order, preventing them from publicly disclosing the situation. Due to delays in complying with the warrant, Twitter (X) was held in contempt by a federal judge and now faces a $350,000 fine. Last month, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. upheld the judge’s decision, but the reasoning behind it remains undisclosed. The partial release of this decision has brought attention to this previously undisclosed legal battle.

Trump expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation on his new platform, Truth Social, suggesting that the Department of Justice targeted his Twitter account in secret under “Crooked Joe Biden.” He claimed that his civil rights were violated and accused them of trying to disrupt his presidential campaign. Trump also raised concerns about the First Amendment and raised the possibility of evidence being destroyed or deleted.

According to the court documents, the warrant came with a nondisclosure order that prevented Twitter from revealing its existence. Twitter contested this order but was unsuccessful, and they refrained from providing the requested materials throughout the legal proceedings. Eventually, Twitter did comply with the warrant and handed over Trump’s account to Smith’s investigation, albeit three days after the court-issued deadline.

In a detailed 34-page ruling, a three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Twitter’s argument that the nondisclosure order violated the First Amendment. They also rejected the claim that the warrant should not have been executed before resolving the dispute. The panel agreed with the initial judge, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell, stating that disclosing the warrant could put the investigation at risk by potentially allowing Trump to tamper with evidence or change his behavior.

Twitter proposed alternative methods to handle the nondisclosure order, including notifying only Trump and his legal team. However, the court deemed these suggestions unacceptable, as the purpose of the order was to keep Trump unaware of the warrant.

The appellate judges emphasized that the nondisclosure order was temporary and specifically tailored to Smith’s investigation. They highlighted that Twitter still had the freedom to express general concerns about warrants or nondisclosure orders and discuss the investigation publicly.

In response to these developments, X (formerly Twitter) stated that they would provide further information in due course.

This legal issue emerged as Trump faced indictment and arraignment last week for charges related to his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Trump, a former president and prominent contender in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, is accused of various offenses, including conspiracy against rights, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstruction of an official proceeding.

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