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Twitter Served With Warrant for Trump’s Account, Fined $350K and Held in Contempt

Twitter Served With Warrant for Trump’s Account, Fined $350K and Held in Contempt

Trump responded: “These are DARK DAYS IN AMERICA!”

Newly released court documents from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit show that special counsel Jack Smith served Twitter with a search warrant for President Donald Trump’s account.

The Court held Twitter in contempt and fined the company $350,000 since it did not comply with the requests until three days after the deadline.

Trump hasn’t used his account since the previous ownership banned him from the platform.

Smith demanded Twitter to hand over all information regarding the Twitter account @realDonaldTrump. The search warrant included a “nondisclosure order that prohibited Twitter from notifying anyone about the existence or contents of the warrant.”

The district court found probable cause for the search warrant and nondisclosure agreement because if someone told Trump, he could delete information, destroy evidence, or even change his behavior patterns.

Twitter appealed:

In this appeal, Twitter argues that the nondisclosure order violated the First Amendment and the Stored Communications Act; that the district court should have stayed its enforcement of the search warrant until after Twitter’s objections to the nondisclosure order were resolved; and that the district court abused its discretion by holding Twitter in contempt and imposing the sanction. We affirm the district court in all respects.

The Court found the government’s argument compelling because its “interest is heightened where an investigation has national security implications, for no governmental interest is more compelling than the security of the Nation.'”

Yes, the government is so trustworthy. The Court agreed with the district court (I took out footnotes and citations):

Thus, the government’s interest was particularly strong here because its ongoing investigation aimed to “[f]erret[] out activity intended to alter the outcome of a valid national election for the leadership of the Executive Branch of the federal government … and [to assess] whether that activity crossed lines into criminal culpability.” Moreover, secrecy is paramount to ensuring that ongoing investigations can proceed without interference from targets or interested parties. Breaching the investigation’s confidentiality could open the door to evidence-tampering, witness intimidation, or other obstructive acts. ([P]rotecting the secrecy of an investigation” is a compelling government interest.).

The Court also said the nondisclosure order was “narrowly tailored to advance the State’s compelling interest through the least restrictive means.” Therefore, “it withstood strict scrutiny.” It was only limited to 180 days.

Trump responded:

Just found out that Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ secretly attacked my Twitter account, making it a point not to let me know about this major “hit” on my civil rights. My Political Opponent is going CRAZY trying to infringe on my Campaign for President. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Does the First Amendment still exist? Did Deranged Jack Smith tell the Unselects to DESTROY & DELETE all evidence? These are DARK DAYS IN AMERICA!

Trump was indicted on four counts over the Capitol Hill riots on January 6th: conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to corruptly obstruct and impede the J6 congressional proceeding (2 counts), and conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted.

As Professor Jacobson has repeated numerous times, the indictment comes up short on any crime.


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retiredcantbefired | August 9, 2023 at 5:18 pm

Which district judge hit Twitter with the fine?

It’s being said that Smith et al. falsely claimed that Donald Trump was likely to flee the country.

Is that what they did?

“ As Professor Jacobson has repeated numerous times, the indictment comes up short on any crime.”

Weak sauce. Can’t quite bring yourselves to condemn this Government over reach can you.

Just heard that Smith filed an ex parte motion to allow Trump to know, except the agent’s identity.

And that Trump’s tweets are available in 10 seconds using a simple Google search.

The governmental abuse of power here and overall is astounding.

I like humor, the more ironic the better. The same courts that today held that altering the outcome of an election is such paramount interest that it refused to hear yesterday any evidence that the outcome of the 2020 election was altered.

    DaveGinOly in reply to George S. | August 9, 2023 at 10:08 pm

    Smith’s claim that Trump attempted to overthrow a “valid” election is a fact not in evidence. Nobody has proven the election was valid. Indeed, most court activity related to election challenges has been towards efforts to prevent anyone from proving the election was stolen. That’s not the same thing as proving it was “valid.”

      CommoChief in reply to DaveGinOly. | August 10, 2023 at 7:53 am

      The election is presumptively valid. That’s the key hurdle to overcome. The second is the very short timeline between the election and the deadline to certify, seat electors, and submit to Congress.

      The only practical way to defeat shenanigans is do so preemptively before the start of election season. Clean up the voter registration lists. Challenge any published changes to or deviations from the elections statutes before they are used by voters.

        The presumption of validity is necessary, but it’s being used as a impenetrable shield – if you use that presumption to preclude any and all investigation of validity and any and all measures to decrease chances of shenanigans with the vote – that’s a recipe for the presumption of validity to lose all validity,

        Any time a (D) argues that (free) voter ID is a racist burden on minorities he/she is either arguing from the racist presumption that minorities are less intelligent – or they’re in favor of voter fraud.

        Funny how ID requirements for travel, entering any federal building, opening a bank account, receiving public assistance, or cashing a check is not a racist burden on minorities.

        Just the one thing that if implemented endangers the ability to steal an election. LBJ and Mayor Daley would be so proud.

          randian in reply to BobM. | August 11, 2023 at 8:25 pm

          You have the same problem with actual vote fraud cases. If one person is doing it one should be certain others are too, some of which are in a conspiracy with the person you’ve charged. Yet when such charges are brought, nobody ever investigates, let alone indicts, the person for whom the fraudulent ballots were cast, even though they have an obvious motive for participating in the crime. Nor do they ever, so far as I can tell, offer the defendant a plea deal to name their paymasters and co-conspirators, as was commonly done in organized crime prosecutions. Rather, prosecutors proceed with the absurd fiction that vote fraud is done gratis by lone wolves who have no motive other than simply helping their candidate.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to George S. | August 9, 2023 at 10:20 pm

    Isn’t this illegal?

Fresh news of indictments from Smith today point to events of yesterday.

There are so many new revelations regarding Biden’s felonious behavior that it’s hard to keep track of them.

Meanwhile, no reaction by DOJ to the J6 Committee deleting its files.

WaPo. David Hogg – Today I am announcing the launch of Leaders We Deserve – a grassroots organization dedicated to bringing the movements of Gen Z […]

One doesn’t “launch” organic grassroots movements. One launches toxic astroturfed Front Groups.

David Hogg’s leaders we deserve are the Deep State puppets

TheOldZombie | August 9, 2023 at 7:44 pm

They aren’t looking for the tweets which are all public. They want his DM (Direct Messaging) files. That’s the real prize if there are any.

That’s the real reason Jack Smith went to court.

How reassuring. Years of lying and deception (I guess Crossfire Hurricane never happened, as well as the Hunter Biden laptop lies and the manipulation of social media) and all the government has to do is whine “national security” and instantly has probable cause. And this from a known clown hack like Smith. So much for the Bill of Rights. What is the expression I’m looking for? I know it has the word “police” and “state” in it.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Concise. | August 9, 2023 at 9:11 pm

    Trump would have to be monumentally stupid to have put incriminating evidence into DM on twitter considering who it was run by at the time and considering all that had already been thrown at him.

    He wouldn’t really have done that would he?

    And No, I dont’ think this is right…not at all.

“Hmm…this page doesn’t exist. Try searching for something else.”??
Was that what you meant, or does the link just not work?

Jonathan Turley:

The disclosure of a subpoena of Twitter by Special Counsel Jack Smith was surprising in a number of respects, including the hefty $350,000 fine imposed by U.S. District Court Beryl Howell (below) for a three-day delay as the company sought to address the demand.

Then there was the added rational that was tucked into footnote 2 of the D.C. Circuit opinion: Trump might flee.

Judge Howell actually agreed that the former President was a flight risk.

Process that for a second. Trump has 24/7 security. So Howell agreed that he might shake his sizable security detail, evade them, and go on the lam. He is one of the most recognized figures in the world. He would have to go to Mars to live incognito.

It is facially absurd. Trump has been sued and criminal charged across the country. He has never made a break for it. Where would he go? Cuba?

The finding of a flight risk undermines the credibility of the court’s order. This is not to question the ability to force the release of the information. However, the need for secrecy is far from evident. Rather it succeeded in preventing any challenge.