Twitter Loses More Money to Litigation, Slapped with $350K Fine for Not Complying with A Search Warrant Over Trump Investigation

Twitter, the social media platform now known as X, has been slapped with a fine of $350,000 for its failure to promptly adhere to a Justice Department search warrant seeking records linked to former President Donald Trump’s account, as disclosed in an unsealed court opinion on Wednesday. 

The Special Counsel John “Jack” Smith’s office had procured a search warrant for data and records tied to Trump’s @realDonaldTrump account in mid-January. The office had also requested a nondisclosure order, asserting that revealing the warrant to Trump could potentially compromise the ongoing investigation by affording him a chance to tamper with evidence.

The investigation, led by Smith, pertains to Trump’s alleged involvement in attempting to overturn the 2020 election results. Twitter did not immediately comply, as the company filed objections to the nondisclosure order.

“Twitter initially delayed production of the materials required by the search warrant while it unsuccessfully litigated objections to the nondisclosure order,” according to the recently unsealed opinion.

However, a district court judge mandated compliance to the warrant by February 7. Twitter missed this deadline, submitting the records on the evening of February 9, thus triggering the sanction, amounting to $350,000, for the delay.

Twitter filed an appeal at the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, arguing that the order violated the First Amendment’s free speech safeguards and that the district court should have stayed its enforcement of the search warrant until the issue with the nondisclosure was fully litigated. 

But the the three-judge panel at the DC Circuit — composed of Judge Nina Pillard, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, and Judges J. Michelle Childs and Florence Pan, who were appointed by President Joe Biden — unanimously upheld the civil contempt sanction and the lower court’s decision to maintain the nondisclosure order.

Information for this story was found via Bloomberg, Time, Twitter, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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