Elon Musk is no longer the richest person in the world, but he can still afford any fines he’s acquired by being a reckless chaos agent. One such punishment is only now being made public: Earlier this year, Twitter, back when it was still called that, was fined a ton of money because they dragged their feet on turning over Trump data to the feds.
NEW: Twitter was fined $350,000 for missing a deadline to comply with a search warrant for records related to Donald Trump's account, per newly unsealed opinion. DC Circuit affirmed sanction + rejected Twitter's opposition to a nondisclosure order. More tk https://t.co/xF2yz354kE pic.twitter.com/6vf3NfhHPZ
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) August 9, 2023
As per The Washington Post, in March special counsel Jack Smith requested the former president’s Twitter records, in relation to the case involving the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which later nabbed him his third indictment. The social media giant was not against the idea of turning over Trump’s records. What they did oppose, though, was a gag order preventing them from alerting Trump.
Alas for Twitter owner Elon Musk, lower-court judge Beryl Howell did not agree with him, saying she would fine them $50,000 a day, with the catch that the fine would double every day they didn’t comply. Twitter caved three days later, at which point the total fines had amassed to $350,000.
During an appeal the following month, Howell argued that there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that letting Trump know about the search warrant “would seriously jeopardize the ongoing investigation.” Howell said that doing so would give him “an opportunity to destroy evidence, change patterns of behavior, [or] notify confederates.”
In June, the gag order was lifted, with the stipulation that Trump would not be informed which of his many cases had inspired the search warrant.
This information was made public after the court appellate ruling was unsealed on Wednesday.
The ruling does not reveal which Twitter records Smith had sought, but they could have included draft tweets and direct messages. In the lead-up to the Jan. 6 riot, Trump was one of the social media platform’s more prolific famous users.
Shortly after that big day, he was permanently banned from its coffers. That ban was lifted shortly after Musk took over in late 2022, but he has yet to return, instead preferring to get himself in legal trouble on his own rinky-dink clone of the service he once adored.
After learning the news about the search warrant, Trump had a predictably chill response on Truth Social.
“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,” he wrote. “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!”
Or maybe these aren’t?
(Via The Post)