Special Counsel Jack Smith received a massive quantity of data from Twitter regarding former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, according to unsealed court documents.
Smith was appointed to investigate Trump’s alleged attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including the lead-up to the Capitol incursion on January 6, 2021, and the former president’s alleged illegal retention of classified materials at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
X, formerly known as Twitter, fought so vehemently against the search warrant that U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell questioned whether “the new CEO wants to cozy up with the former president?”
“Twitter has no interest other than litigation [sic] its constitutional rights,” attorney George Varghese of WilmerHale, representing the company, told the judge.
Politico reported that Howell fined the company $350,000 for failing to comply with Smith’s search warrant by the court-mandated deadline.
The Daily Caller News Foundation observed that Twitter complied with the warrant, but only three days after the deadline.
The warrant requested, among other things, access to Trump’s direct messages, a catalog of devices used to connect into the president’s account, and location information for the account’s user.
Twitter’s attorneys had argued that some of this information might be protected by executive privilege, an argument that the judge deemed absurd because it would have implied that Trump had transacted crucial government business with senior aides via a social media platform.
Prosecutors also demanded that the company not inform Trump of the search warrants, claiming that doing so would compromise the investigation’s integrity.
“There actually are concrete cognizable reasons to think that if the former president had notice of these covert investigative steps, there would be actual harm and concern for the investigation, for the witnesses going forward,” said Gregory Bernstein, a member of Smith’s team.
Initially, the district court issued a nondisclosure order prohibiting Twitter from informing anyone about the warrant, which Twitter challenged as a violation of the First Amendment and the Stored Communications Act.
However, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision last month.
In addition, the judge stated that Twitter had no prior knowledge of the evidence presented by the special counsel’s office, evidence that purportedly explained why informing Trump of the search warrant could have resulted in witness tampering or other issues that could have impacted the investigation.
“You don’t even know the half about the very warrant you are coming in here to delay the execution of,” Howell said.
Interested readers may view all 204 pages of the recently unsealed document here:
As news of the search warrant broke, Trump referred to Smith as a “lowlife” who had committed a “atrocity” by requesting the warrant.
“How dare lowlife prosecutor, Deranged Jack Smith, break into my former Twitter account without informing me and, indeed, trying to completely hide this atrocity from me,” the former president wrote on TruthSocial. “What could he possibly find out that is not already known. Just like the early morning raid of Mar-a-Lago! Why isn’t the DOJ raiding Crooked Joe Biden, the most CORRUPT (and Incompetent!) President in the history of the United States?”